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2009 The Quail, a Motorsports Gathering
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Click here to open the slideshowLocated in the heart of the beautiful Carmel Valley and well away from busy Monterey and the noisy Mazda Speedway Laguna Seca track, the exclusive Quail Lodge Resort and Golf Club annually hosts 'The Quail, a Motorsports Gathering.' It is not only the tranquility of the surroundings that sets 'The Quail' apart from the many other events held on the Monterey Peninsula that same week. The visitors were treated to a select group of sports and racing cars of all eras and a fabulous lunch prepared by the Quail Lodge Culinary Team. They can sample various vehicles, ranging from the latest Range Rovers on a specifically created off-road section to the brand new Porsche Panamera that made its American debut at 'The Quail.' Taking centre stage, however, were the sports and racing cars that were placed on the main show field in small groups in accordance with the various different classes. Most of these were familiar, complemented by several special classes featuring a tribute to Hans Stuck Jr, the 30th anniversary of the BMW Motorsports department, the cars of Bill Devin and 50 years of the Daytona Speedway. Another typical element of The Quail is, that it is the entrants' responsibility to pick the class award and best of show winners.

Future Classics?
Two Stirling Moss MercedesPorsche had set up shop just down the road from the Quail Lodge to showcase their all new Panamera four-door saloon in their dedicated facility. The cars could be spotted on the road all week and during The Quail the cars were available to the visitors for test-drives. Although we did not have the time to sample one ourselves, everybody we talked with that had, was very impressed with how it drove. The exterior styling was the subject of considerable debate though.

Lamborghini did have a proper reveal ceremony early in the morning at The Quail; legendary test-driver Valentino Balboni was on-hand to personally take the wraps of the limited edition Gallardo that bares his name. Right next door Mercedes-Benz showcased the very wild 'Stirling Moss' edition of the SLR McLaren. The limited edition supercar was joined by the W196 Streamliner from Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum, which Moss had driven during the 1955 Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

Ahead of the official launch at Pebble Beach, Bugatti showed the remarkable Sang Bleu edition of the Veyron Grand Sport to mark the company's 100th anniversary. Dutch niche manufacturer Spyker gave the American public one of the first opportunities to see and try the new C8 Aileron.

Hans Stuck, a racer from birth
Stuck's 1988 Serbring winnerThe versatile Hans Stuck Sr. had been one of the most successful racers of the 1930s, so it was hardly surprising to find his son behind the wheel from a very young age. Stuck Jr. completed his first laps of the daunting Nordscheiffe on two cushions to look over the dashboard of his father's BMW 700. He was just nine years old. Stuck Jr had to wait another nine years to compete in his first race because German regulations dictated that he had to have a road car license first. The 'Ring was also the scene of his first race. Stuck finished third in a BMW 2002 despite having to re-attach the mechanical throttle cable seventeen times during the 300 km race. It was the start of a very long career that saw him compete on both sides of the Atlantic and in a wide variety of cars. Stuck raced in Formula 1, won Le Mans twice and was crowned the 1985 World Endurance Champion.

The 'Tribute to Hans-Joachim Stuck' class featured a variety of Porsches and BMWs. Among them was the Porsche 962 that Stuck had used in 1988 to score the third of his three wins in the Sebring 12 Hours event. That victory was the second at Sebring for the chassis, which had dominated the 1987 season with six wins in the eleven IMSA GTP rounds that year. In addition to Stuck, it was piloted by many other legends, including Bobby Rahal, Hurley Haywood and Bob Wollek. The two M3s present in this class represented Stuck's successes with the Munich based manufacturer in recent years. His most early successes were scored with a 3.0 CLS and a highly original example was voted 'best in class.'

BMW's Motorsports Division turns 30
BMW 3.0 CSLAhead of officially establishing the Motorsports division in 1979, BMW had already produced various machines that featured all the 'M' ingredients. It all started with high performance and even turbocharged versions of the popular 2002 model. Built for homologation purposes, the 2002 Turbo was the first BMW to wear the red and blue stripes that would forever be associated with the high performance models from the German manufacturer. Real success came a few years later with the all-conquering 3.0 CLS 'Batmobile'. At the end of the decade the Motorsports division was eventually set up to produce the M1 supercar. During the past thirty years many M-labeled road and racing cars have been constructed that have received universal acclaim and more importantly scored hundreds of victories on the track. Providing a little good news in a very difficult year for the Motorsports division, the brand-new M3 GT2 recorded its first victory (a one-two) just a few weeks before The Quail.

On the field, the BMW Motorsports division's thirtieth anniversary was celebrated by an interesting selection of CSLs, M1s and M3s. One of the highlights was a 3.0 CSL road car that had been fully equipped by Alpina in period. It is believed to be one of the very best of the few remaining Alpina 3.0 CSLs. Appropriately the class winner was a BMW M1 road car that was imported into United States early in the 1980s. Late in 2006 it had been cosmetically restored by the current owner and it certainly looked the part.

The cars of Bill Devin
Unique Devin GTFor the princely sum of $295 aspiring racing car manufacturers could buy the best fibreglass body available in the second half of the 1950s. These were built by Bill Devin and styled after Italian sports racers of the early 1950s. In addition to offering fibreglass bodies for backyard specials, Devin also offered complete sports racers and road cars. The early cars featured a flat-twin Panhard engine and were very successful in the 750 cc and 1100 cc classes. The first two cars built won their respective classes during the 1954 Pebble Beach road races. Devins were also available with Volkswagen, Porsche and Corvair engines. The most famous of all was the SS model that combined an advanced tubular chassis built in Ireland with a Corvette V8 engine and a Devin fibreglass body. Production of Devins eventually ceased in 1964 due to financial difficulties.

Today many of Bill Devin's fine creations are vintage raced and can usually be found on the other side of the hill at Laguna Seca for the Monterey Historic Races. Honouring their creator, about a dozen were now lined up in a circle in front of the Quail Lodge. All of the famous models were present, including the several of the famous SS Devins. Making its post-restoration debut was the sole surviving Devin GT coupe. Shown in New York in 1964, the small fixed-head sports car looked to turn Devin's fortunes around. Sadly the financial problems were too big to start mass-production despite strong interest from at least one big dealer. Two were built and this was the only survivor. The Devin SS in street configuration brought by Richard and Susan Haskell received the class award at the end of the day.

50 Years of the Daytona Speedway
Two Daytona RacersDaytona, Florida had been epicentre of racing long before the Speedway was built in 1959. The long beaches were used to set records in the 1920s and were later used to host many races. All the action eventually moved to the purpose-built Speedway at the end of the 1950s. Although it hosted an Indy Car race in its first year, it is now best known for the 24 Hours endurance race and the 500 mile NASCAR race that have been held at Daytona for most of its history. With so many different types of cars associated with the Speedway, it was hardly surprising that the special 50th anniversary class was the most diverse of all. It featured prototype sports racers, Indy Roadsters, NASCARs, Trans-Am racers and a variety of GT machines. Taking class honours was John McCaw's Ferrari 250 GTO, the first of three examples originally fitted with the '64 style body. It was piloted to an outright victory in the Daytona 2000 km race that year by Pedro Rodriguez and Phil Hill for Luigi Chinetti. A month later, it also scored a class win at the Sebring 12 Hours.

Further Show-stoppers
Best of Show AlfaWith classes dedicated to the pre- and post-War sports and racing cars, and 'The Great Ferraris', there were many more interesting cars at The Quail this year. The Ferrari class was particularly strong this year with a Le Mans class winning 250 GTO, the 500 TR used by Pete Lovely to win the very first race at Laguna Seca and a genuine 275 GTB 'NART Spyder' to name just a few. All these fine cars were beaten by Skeets Dunn's fabulous 212 Inter Vignale to the best in class award. One of the star of the 'Post-War Sports Cars' class was a highly original Shelby Cobra that remained with Shelby until 1987. The current owner acquired the car in 2008 and is only the car's second custodian. Next to it was a very special AC Aceca, which had been equipped with all the bits that were used to turn the drop-top AC Ace into the Cobra.

Some of our favourite cars were found in the 'Pre-War Sports and Racing Cars' class. The entrants agreed and picked Robert M. Lee's superb Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Touring Spyder as the very best car in the show. It was the start of a very good weekend for Lee as he received the much coveted 'Best of Show' award at Pebble Beach two days later. Although not quite as striking as the bright-red Alfa Romeo, the Derby L8 brought by the Tampa Bay Automobile Museum also captured our attention. Only ten examples of this V8-engined, front-wheel drive sports-car were built in 1934 and this one has survived with its original chassis and Duval body.

With its unique approach The Quail, a Motorsports Gathering has quickly worked itself up as one of the token events of the Monterey Motoring week. Tickets for The Quail were not cheap but all 3000 of them were sold many months in advance. With all visitors treated to fine food and fabulous automobiles in a relatively tranquil environment, it is easy to understand why the event is so popular. For those not among the lucky 3000, we have compiled an exclusive 130-shot gallery of all of The Quail's highlights.

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Report by Wouter Melissen and images by Wouter Melissen and Pieter Melissen for Ultimatecarpage.com.