Imagine the scene—17 Mile Drive peeking between old growth forest and crashing waves; the Pacific Coast Highway clinging to the bluffs of Big Sur; Carmel Valley Road dividing the mountains; or the narrow see-andbe-seen streets of Carmel. What comes to mind? A 1955 Thunderbird. A ’65 Mustang GT with a soft top. A vintage Porsche 356 roadster. “You’re going down Cannery Row and everybody is waving at you,” says Heather Gardner. “You want to drive in a classic convertible.” Gardner owns Monterey Touring Vehicles, a one-of-a-kind company that requires some explanation. They are not a rental car company, even though they do provide short-term rentals. They do not cater solely to photo shoots or special occasions, even though they welcome the business. Instead, Monterey Touring Vehicles has found a unique niche. Their fleet includes the Thunderbird, Mustang and Porsche, as well as a ’68 Camaro, a ’64 Corvette Stingray, a ’54 Chevrolet Bel Air, a 23-window VW Bus and a DeLorean. There are marques like Cadillac, Fiat and Jaguar, as well as a ’63 Mercury Monterey, perfect for a ride down Alvarado Street. There are others, as well. Most are convertible, all are classics. As car aficionados know, vehicles represent a lifestyle. American muscle from the 1960s feels different than a postwar European sportscar or an asphalt-shredding modern supercar. Each provide a distinct interaction with the road and the setting, and in the response of others. “We realized early on that this is an experience, it’s not a rental car,” explains MTV’s business development director Erin Sollecito. “There’s no other place with the roads we have and the scenery we have.” Traditional rental car companies began adding exotics—from Ferraris to the new generation of American muscle—to their stables as far back as the early 2000s (after a brief period when Shelby Mustangs were available in the ’60s). Finding a ride in a classic is a much more elusive prospect, however. Often these are limited to wedding or prop car rentals, although Hagerty runs a rideshare operation. But Monterey Touring Vehicles is believed to be a one of a kind—a sight22 The Best of Monterey Bay ® Haven 2023-2024 Cool Rides Monterey Touring Vehicles allows people to go sightseeing in classic car style. By Dave Faries Courtesy of Monterey Touring Vehicles classics-rental_23.indd 1 8/3/23 9:45 AM