There are two stages in life: before one experiences Monterey Car Week, and after one experiences Monterey Car Week. Those of you in the latter category may or may not agree with my assessment. To those in the former, know this: you do not need to love cars to love Monterey Car Week.

That’s because Car Week isn’t only about cars. Perhaps you expect that means it’s “all about the people,” but you’d be wrong on that count. Car Week is all about a very dense introduction to a new kind of excess: too much champagne (yeah, right); impeccable, highfalutin style; truly astronomical displays of wealth; and yes, cars of every vintage, style and in every kind of condition. Below is an extensive gallery of the people and sights — just some of the highlights from the week; dare I say, probably only 0.5 percent.

Car Week is a series of events: competitions at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca involving track cars from past decades, a pre-dawn parade of multimillion dollar cars on one the most gorgeous golf course lawn on earth — acres of antique automobiles. But, since it all takes place in Monterey and its ritzy environs (Carmel-by-the-Sea, Pebble Beach, and more), there is seemingly endless, copious food and drink — all gourmet and top-shelf — to be had at innumerable parties. Bentley here, Infiniti there, Mercedes across the way, Aston Martin down the street.

But the celebration extends far beyond the organized galas and shows. Outside the resort I stayed in were parked two Ferrari LaFerraris (each worth at least $1.5 million), two identical Ferrari F12tdf track-ready monsters (a mere half million each), a McLaren P1 ($1.2 million) and Delahayes (millions – with an “s”), and more. Parked on the street near the events were Rolls-Royce sedans and Bugatti Veyrons next to Mustangs and Mercedes. The thousands upon thousands of rabid attendees, whether there to show off their new hats or to sip Veuve or to stimulate their salivary glands with all the precious metal on display, all convene simply because there’s a party going on.

It’s world-altering to be steeped in that kind of glamour, dipped into pools of people who can buy islands but instead feast on shrimp cocktails as if they were Tic-Tacs. Everyone looks incredible. Everything sounds incredible. And, yes, all the cars are incredible. It’s just so much damn fun. You must go, even if you think you don’t care about cars at all.

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