The Pebble Beach Tour d'Elegance starts early Thursday morning is one of the first big events of this automotive celebration, and it might actually be the weekend's best-kept secret, especially since it's completely free. The event brings together a pack of ultra-rare vintage cars to wind through Northern California's scenic, ocean-side roads as well as a jaunt to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and a display in the quaint town of Carmel-by-the-Sea.
The greatest part of this gathering is that, before setting off at around 8:00 AM, these vintage classics are all lined up for anyone to check out, and the crowds are fairly light. There are rare Ferraris, Maseratis, Bentleys and practically every other exotic brand just sitting there to walk up to and check out. Plus, you actually get to hear them start up and drive away.
As the vehicles complete their tour through the misty morning air, people set up chairs in Carmel to watch these classics go on display on the boulevard. Where else can you go to get the opportunity to smell a steam car's slightly sweet exhaust and then see a bunch of vintage Rolls-Royces roll in within just minutes of each other? Autoblog's Drew Phillips was on hand to snap photos of the fantastic vehicles on tour; take a look at the gallery.