In a class of its own
With so many events crammed into one week, it is difficult to stand out during the Monterey Classic Car week. The Quail, a Motorsprots Gathering has achieved that by combining many of the classic ingredients of a concours d'elegance with some distinct touches. Tickets are very expensive and available in limited numbers but once the visitors are on the field, they are treated to a superb selection of sports and racing cars of all ages, a choice of gourmet lunches from several of the area's best chefs, while also being able to shop for luxury items ranging from the latest Bugatti to diamond jewellery. At its core, 'The Quail' is still a concours d'elegance but again with a twist. The entrants themselves are the judges, who pick both the class and outright winners. True enthusiasts, they often know their cars even better than specialist judges.
As always, we traveled to the Quail Lodge in the heart of the Carmel Valley to capture all the highlights. The result is this 150-shot gallery
As at many other events on the Monterey Peninsula, the BMW centenary was also celebrated at this year's Quail, a Motorsports Gathering. Placed around a central display in the middle of the show field was an interesting collection of BMWs and related machinery. The display itself featured the latest 2002 Hommage show car and a 2002 Turbo. It was lined by BMWs that included the second oldest 328 in the world but also one of the five McLaren F1 prototypes. Elsewhere on the field, there was a whole corral of Z8s. These V8-engined roadsters have aged very well and already are a modern classic.
Another anniversary celebrated was that of 50th of Lamborghini's legendary Miura. That these were delivered in the most striking of colours was underlined by the impressive line-up of first generation, S and SV models. Among them was the 46th Miura, which was built for Wilt Chamberlain and has survived in remarkably original condition.
The significance of The Quail was further underlined by the various (world) debuts of exclusive sports cars on the field in front of their customers. Lamborghini used the occasion to take the wraps off the Centenario Roadster. Created to mark the 100th anniversary of founder Ferruccio Lamborghini's birthday, it will be built in limited numbers and was actually already sold out. Highly exclusive Swedish and Italian manufacturers Koenigsegg and Pagani were also on hand to showcase their latest creations, while Japanese designer Ken Okuyama revealed the striking kode57. Most likely based on a Ferrari 599 GTB, this V12-engined design study was clearly inspired by Italian sports racers of the 1950s and featured striking reverse-hinged doors. We understand that the former Pininfarina chief designer will build another for around $2.5 million. Among his earlier work was the P4/5 by Pininfarina he created for American collector Jim Glickenhaus. The latter has now gone his separate ways and used 'The Quail' to offer a sneak peak at the long awaited road-going version of his SCG 003 racing car, which will be available in limited numbers.
One of our absolute favourite cars on the field was the freshly restored Lola Mk6 GT Prototype. Created in 1963 by Eric Broadley, this can rightly be considered the direct forefather of the successful GT40. After seeing the car in action at Le Mans in 1963, Ford commissioned Broadley to create the GT40 much along the same lines. The Mk6 GT on display at The Quail was the original show car and the first of three produced. In 1965, it was sold to current owner Allen Grant, who was a talented racing car driver and also one of Carroll Shelby's first employees. Over the last couple of years, he has painstakingly restored the lovely little machine to its show car condition. It was great to finally see the results of Grant's true labour of love. One of Lola's former works drivers David Hobbs relished the opportunity to get back behind the wheel of the car during the show. One of 'his' other cars on the field was a McLaren M16C Indy racer. Raced in the Indy 500 a total of 6 times, starting with Hobbs in 1974, this was the sister car to that year's winning works car.
Following the lavish lunch, the awards ceremony kicked off, which saw all the class winners being called upon the podium to receive their respective silverware. Among the class winners was a beautifully presented, Gulf-liveried McLaren F1 GTR Longtail brought over from Switzerland but also a rare alloy bodied Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider. Being presented with the FIVA award for the best preserved car was the 1965 Le Mans winning Ferrari 250 LM brought over from the Indianapolis Hall of Fame. The superbly restored Lola Mk6 GT also crossed the ramp to receive the Octane Editor's Choice award. The final car to be called forward was Andreas Mohringer's Ferrari 375 MM. Although over 60 years old and raced well into the 1960s, it has never been restored and has survived in beautifully original condition. The car had been stored for over 30 years until it was acquired by Mohringer in 2010. Following a proper service, this time-warp Ferrari has since been shown and demonstrated at many of the world's greatest events and has now received one further accolade.
The Quail, a Motorsports Gathering is truly in a class of its own. It is different not just to be different but to stand out and this formula has worked very well for the last decade already. At this year's event there were distinctly more cars on the field but as access is restricted the event is never crowded, which greatly contributes to the unique atmosphere. A further highlight were the fireside chats, particularly the one with racing brothers Marino and Dario Franchitti.
All this and much, much more can be found in our exclusive 150-shot gallery