The McCall’s Motorworks Revival
The perfect car show for me.
It sounds strange for those who have never been to Monterey during Car Week. But for those who have been there, you understand the phenomenon of seeing so many special cars that you start to become numb to them. Aventadors, Phantoms, even Sennas begin to lose their luster.
So by the time I walked up to the McCall’s Motorworks Revival, I already felt the numbness set in. A McLaren 675LT didn’t break my stride. Neither did a Rolls Royce Wraith parked in the dirt. I walked in as that guy – non-plussed, acting like I had seen it all before.
That lasted for about 30 seconds.
For the next six hours, my goal was to keep it together as I took in McCall’s curated collection piece by piece, and then as a whole. I say with a very high degree of confidence that the McCall Motorworks Revival (MMR) is worth the cost of entry – if you are a car enthusiast, there will be something at the show to make you lose your senses.
Do you go ga-ga over 80s-90s-era cars? McCall’s didn’t tightroll my jeans, but they did present a wingless black Countach (complete with phone-dial wheels), a Radwood-decaled 512TR, a yellow F355, and one of the ultimate 90s cars; no, one of the ultimate cars of all time – a race-liveried McLaren F1 Longtail.
Are you a more distinguished gentleman who tends to favor WWII-era cars? As you approach a period-correct Mercedes, 1935 Bugatti Aerolithe replica, and 1956 Ferrari 290 MM Spider Scaglietti, you’ll understand the phrase “they don’t make them like they used to”.
If you’re more of a Cars & Coffee aficionado, allow McCall’s to escort you to your row of Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Ford GTs, Rolls Royces, McLarens, crowning the group with a Bugatti Chiron and Porsche 918. Restomodders would have ogled a number of cars, including a $275k classic Bronco; RUF’s latest yellowbird-esque CTR; a V8-powered outlaw Dino; a Hellcat-Demon-powered, carbon-fiber-bodied ‘69 Charger; or a beautiful, bronze, Boyd Coddington-esque hot rod that looks like it’s wearing a long, flowing evening gown.
All the planes and many of the cars are worth millions. But the one that they highlighted? A 1-of-2 BMW 320 turbo lightweight that campaigned in the IMSA GTX series. You have to respect an event that highlights an old BMW, when the rest of the collection includes Bugatti’s, Ferrari’s, historically significant cars, and oh yeah, private jets.
“The strength of our event has always been the eclectic variety and rarity of its aircraft, motorcycles, and automobiles,” says Gordon McCall, whose wife Molly led the effort to curate this year’s collection and event logistics.
That reminds me, I was supposed to give you a proper intro to the show.
The McCall’s Motorworks Revival started as a client-appreciation event hosted by Gordon McCall’s auto restoration business, showcasing a collection of cars and planes belonging to personal friends. Twenty eight years later, it is widely regarded as the start to Monterey Car Week, and has grown into a luxury lifestyle showcase including motorcycles, jewelry, watches, wine, spirits, and coach-built cars.
I asked Gordon if there was any method to how he arranges the collection, and he responded saying that the placement is very intentional. Being an avid photographer, he, Molly, and the team carefully place each piece – colors and pairings were very important. That bit of commentary gave me a different lens (pun!) as I walked the collection.
A cobalt blue McLaren 570 was beautifully paired with a cobalt & white classic plane. A fighter plane sporting a yellow & black checkered flag sat next to American Legend’s CorrupTT Mustang. Opening the hood of the Mustang revealed a matching yellow & black valve cover….of a Ferrari F430 engine.
Although the cars seemed to color-coordinate with jets, the cars themselves were well spaced in terms of color and vintage. The cobalt McLaren didn’t have another blue car within direct sight. There was no cluster of red Ferrari’s. If there were cars of the same color close by, the vintage was so different you didn’t care.
So as a car enthusiast, the 6 hours felt like a multi-course meal with perfectly timed palette cleansers. I’ve never taken more poster-worthy pictures at one show. And because of the limited ticket availability, it never felt crowded, I got to meet great people, and have meaningful conversations with them.
Although it certainly helps, one doesn’t have to be a car enthusiast to enjoy the show. If you like to fly, there are plenty of planes to enjoy, including tours of the best private jets currently on offer. If you’re well-heeled enough, you can even secure a test flight during the event. If you like rolling two wheels instead of four, McCall’s smaller but solid collection of motorcycles have enough detail to keep you busy.
Foodies will notice that there aren’t full meals offered, but you won’t leave hungry or thirsty. Although the paella, vanilla custard pastry, and nitro-infused margaritas were my favorites, I walked away that night being able to say I’ve tried a crostini with beluga caviar and a gold flake on top.
McCall’s even has something for those who are weary of pursuing material things. The event’s primary beneficiary is the 11-99 foundation, which provides health and grief assistance to California Highway Patrol officers in need. They also partner with the Naval Postgraduate School Foundation by hiring their students, and making a contribution based on the collective hours worked.
If the McCall’s Motorworks Revival is a reflection of its founders, then there are some distinct characteristics that make them worth supporting. Deliberate. Personable. Community-oriented. Connoisseur-elegant yet completely approachable.
Regardless of whether you’re into cars, motorcycles, lifestyle, or community, there’s something for you here at McCall’s Motorworks Revival. You won’t regret coming here.
Lance has been into cars for as long as he and his parents can remember. He won the spelling bee in the 2nd grade, so he is an authentic Indian-American. Since finishing college, Lance has owned over 40 different enthusiast cars. He considers himself a generalist that dabbles in everything, researches heavily, and leans on experts for depth. He favors good design and balanced performance over outright speed, but can be convinced to drive a fast ugly car. When he’s not around automobiles, Lance enjoys serving his community, traveling, good food, and good people.
He can be found at @insidetherim and at @launchcontrolcars, where he hosts a car-centric podcast with his good friend Steve.