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2010 The Quail, a Motorsports Gathering
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For the eighth straight year the Quail Lodge, located in the peaceful Carmel Valley, hosted the very exclusive 'Quail, a Motorsports Gathering.' The annual gathering has quickly grown out to be one of the 'must visit' events of the very busy motoring week on the Monterey Peninsula. Access is strictly limited to 3,000 visitors and, much like a pop concert, the tickets are usually sold out within an hour after becoming available. Despite the steep $400 per ticket price, this year was certainly no exception. For that money the 'lucky few' are not only treated to an eclectic collection of classic and modern cars but they could also sample food and drinks from the finest local restaurants and vineyards throughout the day. Several high-end manufacturers also offered test drives in their latest products. Taking centre stage in 2010 was Carroll Shelby with 45th anniversary celebrations of the Shelby Mustang. In addition to the very important road going and competition Mustangs on display there were also several other Shelby cars present, like the very first Cobra, which is still owned by Shelby today. Additional special classes included 'Alfa Romeo Special Coachbuilders', 'Milestone Cars of 1934' and 'The Great Ferraris'. These supplemented the familiar classes for sports and racing cars from various eras.

Alfa Romeo Special Coachbuilders
One of the all time great marques, Alfa Romeo, is 100 years old this year. There are few events that have not taken the opportunity to celebrate this centenary. At 'The Quail' the occasion was marked with a special class for coachbuilt Alfa Romeos. The oldest car present was the Larry Bowman's fabulous 6C 1750 Grand Sport from 1932 with bodywork by Zagato. The two Milanese companies have also maintained close ties and several more collaborations were on hand. Among them was a rare TZ competition car from the 1960s as well as the later Junior Zagato and SZ production cars. Although not entered in this class, one of the most significant Alfa Romeos on the field also boasted Zagato coachwork. This was Jack Braam-Ruben's 8C 2300 Corsa, which was one of two 8Cs entered by the Scuderia Ferrari for the 1932 Spa 24 Hours. This was the very first race the Scuderia's cars featured the now legendary prancing horse emblem. The two Scuderia Ferrari cars finished first and second, with Braam-Ruben's 8C claiming second running on seven cylinders. The special Alfa Romeo class also included several oddities like the mid-engined Jankovits Special and the 6C 2500 based Bucci Spider that was clothed in Argentina with a two-seater body that was originally built for a single seater Grand Prix car.

Modern Supercars
Among the familiar 'Quail' classes is one for relatively modern supercars. This year these newer machines were more prominently placed than ever before. Our favourite was an early McLaren F1, which has been fitted by the factory with the 'high downforce package', resembling the 1995 Le Mans winning GTRs. Although not the car's original colour, the blue it was presented in looked absolutely stunning in the Carmel Valley sunshine. Another entrant in this class was the one-off Bertone Mantide, which has been repainted white since we last saw it. A good contender for the most extreme road car of the day was the 'NuArt Can Am'. Heavily inspired by the McLaren M8F Can-Am racer of 1971, this beast was completed shortly before the event and completely road legal. Displayed separately and making its public debut was the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport, which a few weeks earlier set a new production car top speed record. The actual record breaker stopped by for lunch as part of the annual 'Quail Run' from the nearby Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, which featured Bugatti cars this year. Mercedes-Benz used the event to introduce the SLS AMG sports car to the American public. On the field the German manufacturer displayed the new GT3 competition car alongside the 1952 Le Mans winning 'W194' 300 SL, which served as the inspiration for the SLS.

45 Years of the Shelby Mustang
In 1965 Carroll Shelby, a man of many trades, converted Ford's latest best seller in a proper racing car; the Ford Shelby Mustang GT350. By that time, Shelby had already won Le Mans outright as a driver and his AC based Cobras were beating the world's finest GT racers. The GT350 R competition car dominated the SCCA's popular B-production championship in 1965 and 1966. Shelby also offered road going versions, which, understandably, sold as hot cakes. Although not continuously, Shelby Mustangs have been built to this day. Two of Shelby's latest creations were joined by an impressive line-up of GT350 and GT500 variants. Among them were various of the very rare GT350 R competition cars, including the prototype brought by John Atzbach. After a hugely successful racing career, it spent nearly two decades in a Mexican shed. It has not been touched since but the owner plans to have the car restored for the 50th anniversary of the Shelby Mustang. As mentioned earlier, Carroll Shelby brought the very first Cobra (CSX2000), which unlike most other early examples still features the smaller '260' engine. Another noteworthy Shelby car present was one of the five Ford GT prototypes built originally with a Roadster body. This was the very first car and it was handed to Shelby for extensive testing at Silverstone and Riverside. It was never raced in period and remains as one of the most original survivors of the GT40 prototypes. An unlikely victim of Carroll Shelby's success was also on the field. This was a V8-engined prototype with spaceframe chassis that AC had under development until Shelby commissioned the construction of additional AC ACE chassis for his Cobra. This increased the workload at the British factory to the extent that the project was shelved indefinitely. The prototype was displayed in public for the first time, fitted with a body similar to the later AC 428 production cars.

Further Highlights
Two visually very different Lolas entered in the Post-War Racing Cars class also captured our attention. The first was originally built in 1966 as a T70 Spyder for Roger Penske. It was driven to numerous victories in USRRC and Can-Am events as well as the Nassau Speed Week by the great Mark Donohue. In 1972 it was converted to road car specification and fitted with a T70 Coupe body. Owner Jim Glickenhaus has driven it for over 40,000 miles on the road since. He showed us around the very unique T70, pointing out the bespoke air-conditioning and the remote-operated 'gull-wing' doors. The other Lola was the T220/222 of a slightly later vintage, which was originally raced for the factory team by Peter Revson in the 1970 Can-Am Challenge Cup. In its original T220 guise it served the talented American for most of the season, until it was heavily crashed. It was subsequently rebuilt with a slightly longer wheelbase and renamed the T222; the type name subsequently used for the 1971 customer cars. The changes greatly improved the car's handling but not enough to allow Revson to clinch a victory. Beautifully restored, its 494 cid V8 engine and accessories were a sight to behold. Also entered in the racing car class was Mark Sange's unique 1956 Avia Mk 3. Built in Czechoslovakia, the very low machine uses a flat-twin motorcycle engine mounted between the driver and the front axle.

Award winners
The Quail, a Motorsports Gathering also distinguishes itself from other concours by the voting procedure. The entrants and the entrants alone pick the winners, first in their own class and then from the class winners the outright 'Rolex Best of Show'. That honour was this year bestowed on Ken and Ann Smith's fabulous Delahaye 135 Competition Disappearing Top Convertible. It combines the shortest and most potent of the Delahaye 135 chassis variants with very elegant coachwork from the famous Figoni & Falaschi company. Considering the car's stunning look, it is hard to imagine it was actually raced in period by French driver Guy Mairesse. During the 1990s, the Delahaye was completely restored by the well known Hill & Vaugn company in California. During the award ceremonies, Carroll Shelby and his Cobra 260 were presented 'The Quail Lodge Award' for the enthusiast's car that best represents the true spirit of motoring. The 'Road and Track Editors' Choice Award' for the car they (the editors) would most like to drive was won by Michael and Barbara Malamut for their Shelby Mustang GT350H.

Once again the Quail Lodge provided entrants and spectators alike with a nice and relaxed day far away from the congested streets of Monterey and the noisy Laguna Seca track. With the combination of fine foods, drinks and automobiles 'The Quail' has a winning formula. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and spent our time at the Lodge well, resulting in this exclusive 170-shot gallery.

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