Motorlux: Indulgent, intriguing, incomparable

Photography by Tom Suddard

Do you love “The Great Gatsby” but hate the fact that it pre-dates jet engines? Then Motorlux is the Monterey Car Week event for you.

Held for decades as McCall’s Motorworks Revival and commonly called “The Jet Party,” this event has always showcased the who’s who of cars, planes and people on the Monterey Peninsula. Then Hagerty bought the party and named it Motorlux, which left us wondering what this inaugural year would look like.

Spoiler: It looked great.

The Jet Party has always been interesting, but in prior years we’d argue it took itself a bit too seriously. Huge crowds waiting in line for food isn’t really the exclusivity this income bracket is looking for.

Hagerty, however, seemed to fix the food problem with better vendors and much more of them. They also fixed the crowd problem: This year’s Motorlux featured two hangars vs. one in years past, with the second one full of amazing cars for the upcoming Broad Arrow auction.

And yes, Hagerty just bought that company, too. (We checked our wristbands to make sure Hagerty hadn’t accidentally bought us, too.)

So what happens at Motorlux? First, you open up your wallet–tickets start at $450 per person and go up as high as $700, though Hagerty Driver’s Club members get a slight discount on entry.

Once you’re through the gate, though, it’s all yours. The party is all-inclusive, so eat and drink as much as you want. And the food isn’t hot-dogs and well liquor: Motorlux featured fantastic local food and craft cocktails.

Arranged all around the party are planes, helicopters and rare cars, and you won’t find any velvet ropes preventing you from seeing them. We took a walk through a vintage seaplane and even sat in the cockpit, then accidentally convinced some poor Bell helicopter salesperson that we were seriously shopping. After testing out the rear seats and learning about the executive headliner option, we asked if they would install a sunroof. (No.)

We couldn’t write about Motorlux without writing about the people, and just like prior years this show was attended by the heaviest of heavy hitters at Monterey Car Week. This means you’ll bump into famous people left and right, and you’ll see spectacular outfits on almost all of them. Again, the whole party gives the impression of “The Great Gatsby” for the jet age.

So is it worth $450 per person? We’ll put it this way: If you’re going to spend that much money on an event ticket, we’d rather be here than at a concert drinking $11 well drinks and eating stadium pizza. Bruce Springsteen never lets us tour his helicopter….

Join Free Join our community to easily find more Monterey, Monterey Car Week and Motorlux news.
View comments on the CMS forums
pinchvalve (Forum Supporter)
pinchvalve (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/19/22 8:39 a.m.

I am a huge sea plane fan, any other photos would be much appreciated. (You don't see many in Pittsburgh)

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
8/19/22 1:00 p.m.

In reply to pinchvalve (Forum Supporter) :

Dug through the folder and this is what I found:

Our Preferred Partners