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The Automotive Classic at Monarch Dunes

a red Toyota 2000GT on display at the Automotive Classic at  Monarch Dunes

A well-kept secret or just that much more exclusive?

Not as well-known as it's "competitor" further north up the California coast, but this event should probably be noted in any classics-enthusiast's calendar.

By Dave Wolin

Fri, Oct 1, 2021 07:45 PM PST

I didn’t know what to expect at the Automotive Classic at Monarch Dunes, located at the Monarch Dunes Country Club House in Nipomo. They called it a "by invitation only event" - not a concours - but, even so, I expected just another car show at a golf course. It turned out to be almost the equal of Pebble Beach, albeit not as snooty - perhaps due to the location at the south end of the central coast, too far past Santa Barbara. Not only the host to a yearly automotive event with a great atmosphere, Monarch Dunes features a world class golf course and has become an upscale community of custom homes - as well as the home of some really superb hamburgers at the "Hot Rod Bar and Grill".

classic cars on display at Automotive Classic at Monarch Dunes
Classic cars on display
classic cars on display at Automotive Classic at Monarch Dunes
(note the rims on that golf-cart)

Since its beginning in 2017, the Automotive Classic at Monarch Dunes has been a fundraiser for the "Nipomo Food Basket" - a non-profit that provides food for needy families in the Nipomo area. The Automotive Classic has attracted some big-dollar sponsors while still staying a somewhat well-kept secret. I guess the cat it out.

The event kicked off with a Saturday night dinner dance at the Monarch Club - including wine tasting, hors d’ouvres, and a silent auction. Hundreds of cars were scattered throughout the property, some even inside, and the mix of sports cars, classics, muscle cars, hot rods, and race cars made for an interesting day - further enhanced by the stories told and memories shared by exhibitors and visitors alike.

hot rod on display at Automotive Classic at Monarch Dunes
Hot (literally) rod on display
classic cars on display inside at Automotive Classic at Monarch Dunes
The interior exhibit housed some of the very exclusive vehicles.

Vendors featured local artists, cosmetics, kettle corn, and my favorite: La Bella Olives... If you're able to stick your name on the list of invited exhibitors or visitors, don't let this one pass you by - highly recommend event! Next year's event doesn't seem to have a set date yet, but assume it will be around the third week of September, 2022... I'll be there.

About The Author

Dave Wolin's profile picture

Dave Wolin

Dave Wolin has years of experience in the automotive performance industry and professional racing. As a driver and a team owner, he’s won SCCA and IMSA races and championships in events as diverse as the Baja 1000 and Pikes Peak Hillclimb. While still racing, he’s also the Executive Director of the Racing History Project. An LA-area refugee, Dave lives in a cabin in the woods outside Yosemite National Park with his wife Jane, an uncountable number of standard and exotic pets, and a garage (that dwarfs his house) full of enough racing projects to last out the century.

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