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2012 The Quail, a Motorsports Gathering
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Now in its tenth year, The Quail, a Motorsports Gathering stands out from all other events on the Monterey Peninsula both in approach and atmosphere. Restricted by the size of the venue, access is strictly limited to 3,000 guests, which, combined with the relatively expensive tickets, makes it one of the most exclusive events of the action-packed week. The reason these pricy tickets sell out, literally, within minutes is that 'The Quail' caters to every automotive enthusiast's needs. While the around 180 cars and motorcycles do take centre stage, they are complemented by a choice of fine food and drinks supplied by local establishments and lovingly prepared by noted chefs. The Quail also stands out for selecting themes that are not quite run off the mill. For the event's tenth edition, these included Iso Automobili's Golden Anniversary and Pre-War Alfa Romeos. Another unique feature is 'The Quail Run', which boasts a selection of racing cars that travel from the nearby Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca across Laureles Grade pass road. This year's parade starred a fabulous selection of Cobras and was headed by the prototype Cobra, while the line was concluded by the Ford Mustang GT500 Cobra built as a tribute to the late Carroll Shelby.
Having covered a vast majority of the previous ten editions, we were of course on hand of the 10th running. The result is this sparkling 140-shot gallery.

Iso Automobili's Golden Anniversary
In a year dominated by the 50th anniversary of the Shelby Cobra and Ferrari 250 GTO, the Golden Anniversary of Iso Automobili has been overlooked at every other major event. Fortunately that was not the case at The Quail, for which noted journalist and marque expert Winston Goodfellow brought together an unprecedented collection of Isos and the closely related Bizzarrini 5300 GT. Son of company founder Renzo Rivolta, Piero was the event's special guest. From his own collection he brought the unique Varedo concept car that was first shown in 1972. From the same era was the Iso Marlboro Formula 1 racer that was flown in from Germany especially for the occasion. Following its retirement from contemporary racing, this chassis served as a show car until it was restored back to full working order in 2011. Among the over two dozen other Isos on display were almost every model type built by the Italian manufacturer between 1962 and 1974, including the first and last Grifo, a rare Grifo Targa and one of just five Daytonas built.

Pre-War Alfa Romeos
For many enthusiasts, the Pre-War Alfa Romeos rank as some of the finest cars ever constructed. Based on the all-conquering competition cars, the road going Alfa Romeos really were the Ferraris of their day. Fundamental changes in the industry forced the Milanese manufacturer to reset its bearings soon after the War. An indication of what could have been was provided by David Smith, who brought a freshly rebuilt Alfa Romeo powered by one of just two V8 engines built immediately before the War. Although tested in a 6C chassis, they ultimately did not enter production. Following Alfa Romeo's example, Smith combined a 6C chassis with one of these very rare engines and clothed it in a striking 8C 2900 Touring Spider inspired body. An original example of this model was also in attendance. This particular car first starred at the 1938 Olympia Show and many moons later won the Best of Show Trophy at the second Quail, a Motorsports Gathering. Rarest of all Alfa Romeos present was Neville Crichton's G1 from 1921, which is believed to be the oldest example still in existence.

Fabulous Ferraris
Arguably the Alfa Romeo of the Post-War era, Ferrari is traditionally also very well represented at The Quail. This year certainly was no exception with a couple of former works sports racers grabbing the limelight. Earliest of all, and in fact the oldest Ferrari in the world, was the 159 S with chassis number 002C brought by Jim Glickenhaus. Like most early Ferraris, this particular car has had a colourful history. Very much a work in progress while being raced, it gradually evolved. Glickenhaus acquired the car in 2005 and has since had it restored back to 159 S specification, used by Raymond Sommer to win the 1947 Turin Grand Prix. Also benefitting from recent restorations were the Dino 268 SP and 250 P that had been owned for many years by Luigi Chinetti Jr. We had already seen the 250 P in action at the Monterey Motorsports Reunion two years ago while we believe the Dino was just completed. Originally campaigned with both a V8 and a V6 of various displacements, it is today fitted with the very rare eight cylinder engine.

Further highlights
One of the great things about The Quail is that the relatively small crowd makes its a lot easier to take some time and talk to the owners, who all seem to have great stories about the prized possessions. One of the best stories of this edition was told to us by Arlen Kurtis about his Kurtis Sports Car. He had received the car as a graduation gift from his father, Frank Kurtis, in October 1950. By this time, Kurtis had already sold the rights of the design to Muntz, and what Arlen Kurtis effectively received were just enough left over parts to complete the last Kurtis Sports Car. He did so in just a few months, despite taking the time to improve on his father's design in some areas. He eventually sold the car but in recent years re-acquired it. He has since restored it back to the same condition he had originally finished it over 60 years ago. Another labour of love was the reconstruction of a Bugatti Type 64 for the Mullin Automotive Museum. Sadly, this model never left the prototype phase as the company went bankrupt. One complete example exists in France and to showcase what could have been Mullin had a second example built. The car will be displayed in half-finished condition, showcasing the unique duraluminum frame used.

Final thoughts
As at most major concours d'elegance, The Quail, a Motorsports Gathering was also concluded by an award ceremony. Instead of using independent judges, The Quail relies on the expert eye of the entrants to pick the class and outright winners. Taking top honours this year was the fabulous Blower Bentley brought by Robert M. Lee. Equipped with a particularly striking Gurney Nutting Tourer body, this car was originally owned by the most famous of all Bentley Boys; Captain Woolf Barnato. The event not only focused on classic cars as it also celebrated the world debut of the unique McLaren X-1. We were told that this would be the only public appearance for this very custom MP4-12C built by McLaren Special Operations.
The 10th Quail, a Motorsports Gathering once again stood out and was equally outstanding. For all of you who missed the opportunity to visit, our 140-shot gallery provides enough reasons to get your order in for the 2013 edition the minute, literally, the tickets become available.

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