Photo: Kristen Lee (Jalopnik)

Hello everyone. Today’s rant is born from some truly appalling behavior I witnessed this past weekend during Monterey Car Week. I expected more from the so-called “high class” but I guess even money can’t always buy manners. This one is simple: Don’t touch other people’s cars.

What’s remarkable about the events of Monterey Car Week, like The Quail and the Concours d’Elegance, is that all the cars are largely out in the open. It’s not like at a normal auto show, where the truly cool stuff you really want to see is fenced off or sitting out of reach on a pedestal. No, the cars are right there on the grass, sitting pretty and open for people to have an intimate look. It is truly a privilege.

Unfortunately, while examining these priceless automobiles myself, I noticed that some attendees of the events couldn’t help themselves and would reach out to touch the cars without checking first to see if it was okay. They’d run their fingers along the paint, fingertip first, making smudges along the glossy surfaces.

While chatting with some industry friends I met up with, I watched a woman approach one of the pre-war cars and lean against it while her boyfriend snapped a photo on his phone. That car, along with many other things on the golf course that day, was highly unique, rare and one-of-a-kind. Apparently that doesn’t stop people from feeling like they are allowed to just go right up and touch them.

And this isn’t just limited to owners of extremely expensive cars, either. It’s any car, anywhere, anytime that doesn’t belong to you. Don’t touch someone else’s shit without permission. I can’t tell you how many cars and coffee events I’ve been to where people cup their hands right on the glass of the windows to peer inside or brush by a parked car and knock into it with a bag or backpack because they aren’t paying attention.

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Photo: Raphael Orlove (Jalopnik)

Car journalists are no better. A journalist in my group this weekend, who I won’t name, arrived with us on the shuttle to the Concours parking lot from the hotel. While organizing his things for the day, he used the trunk of someone’s parked BMW as a table to hold his crap because he didn’t want to put it on the ground. Someone else’s car! What the fuck!

The owners and their staff at the Concours d’Elegance had cleaning supplies at the ready. Of course, they were already cleaning the cars periodically, which works to take out oil from fingerprints, but what about scratches and dents? That’s a real possibility when you deal with careless people. People with cameras around their necks, bending in for a closer look and then the camera swings forward and hits the car. People with metal or plastics on their clothing who lean on a car and scratch it. People wearing jewelry on their hands or wrists and putting their hands on the metal.

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This infuriates me. All it takes is a little extra respect and spatial awareness, is that too much to ask? Why must they always touch? It doesn’t matter if a car is worth $1,000 or $1 million. If it doesn’t belong to you, don’t fucking touch it. It’s not difficult.

If you really, really, really, desperately need to touch the car, then just ask! Most of the owners that I’ve run into are happy to share, that’s what’s so great about the car community. Want to open the door and stick your head inside? Use your words.

Most likely, people will let you.