Petersen Automotive Museum Sponsors Free Virtual “Car Week”

The dearth of car-related events this year throttled by the COVID-19 virus has inspired the Petersen Museum to set up a series of activities Aug 12-16 to watch online. Said Michael Bodell, the Petersen’s chief operating officer, “The Petersen Automotive Museum didn’t want to see the global enthusiasm for Monterey Car Week go away this year like so many other car shows and Concours’ so it’s bottling the essence of the week into 5 days of amazing automotive content.

“This includes live vehicle debuts, online auctions, exclusive interviews, car shows, and even a celebrity judged Concours! Join us for the fun, the entire week will be free!” Click here for more info.

But time is short to enroll your vehicle if you wish to be a part of either the San Marino Motor Classic on Aug 13 or the Petersen Concours on Aug 16. The deadline for entries is Friday July 10.

Featured classes for the San Marino Motor Classic are Ferrari, American Pre-war Classics (CCCA), European Pre-war Classics, (CCCA), Porsche thru 1975, Merceded-Benz 1946-1975, Pre-war Preservation and Woodies.

The Petersen Concours classes will include American Classic Open & Closed, European Classic Open & Closed, Post-war Preservation, Ferrari Grand Touring, Post-war Sports, Movies and TV, Off-Road, Hot Rod and Shooting Brake.

A May article in Hemmings gave more details about the Car Week: “Typically, the museum has a large presence at Pebble Beach,” Bodell, said. “Pebble drives the global motor world to mobilize, and so much comes out of that week. We didn’t want to see that enthusiasm go away.”

The Petersen Car Week, will include an entire week’s worth of events similar to those of the Monterey car week, among them a virtual car tour, a live auction, vehicle unveilings, a marque-specific show dedicated to Porsche, a hypercar show, a concept car show-within-a-show, a virutal San Marino Motor Classic, and a show focused on vintage racing.

The week will conclude with a concours d’elegance scheduled for August 16, the same day that the now-canceled Pebble Beach concours would have taken place. Most of the events – except for the live auctions and the live Forza-based virtual vintage racing – will rely on videos submitted to the Petersen; all of the videos will then broadcast via the Petersen’s YouTube channel.

Bodell and Terry Karges, the executive director of the Petersen, said they expect to field more than 1,000 submissions for the entire week, including 200 for the concours alone. “At about three minutes per entry, that’ll easily take all day,” Bodell said. According to Bodell, the Petersen Car Week “is in no way meant to replace” Monterey car week, and he said there are no current plans to make the Petersen Car Week a permanent fixture.

However, the Petersen Car Week did come about in part because of the museum’s existing relationships with organizers of the various Monterey car week events, and the museum will continue to explore similar virtual car shows. After organizers of the Pebble Beach concours decided to cancel the event for just the second time in its history on April 22, organizers of a number of other Monterey car week events – including The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering; Concorso Italiano; the McCall’s Motorworks Revival; Concours d’LeMons; and the RM Sotheby’s, Gooding, and Bonhams auctions that take place that week – either canceled or altered their event plans in short order.

As of late May, a few Monterey car week events were still scheduled to take place this year, among them the Monterey Historics at Laguna Seca, Carmel-by-the-sea’s Concours on the Avenue, and Mecum’s Monterey sale.

“A lot of the show organizers did reach out to us,” Bodell said. And not just those at Monterey. “With all the big car shows getting postponed, we’ve had conversations with other event organizers to discuss how they can still have an event. There’s been a lot of enthusiasm around that.”

The museum’s timing was fortunate too. According to Karges, Bodell was already planning out the museum’s digital strategy over the last year and the Petersen’s board of directors had voted to expand the institution’s digital efforts a few weeks before the museum had to shut its doors on March 15. “So when things started to happen, our team was ready,” Karges said. “And the car world has participated with open arms.”

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