This is the second time I have attended The Quail, a Motorsports Gathering and it did not disappoint. Held at The Quail Lodge and Golf Club in Carmel, California, the event drew 5,000 attendees. Cars and motorsports are supposed to be the highlight of the event, but food, drink and people are even more interesting. The attendees were enthusiasts, collectors, owners and motorsports personalities. Some of the vehicles on display had their owners hovering nearby. Other vehicles had their attendants close to make sure spectators did not touch them. Some of the restorers had worked on the cars for years and were bringing them out in public for the first time since the restoration was complete. Getting more popular all the time are “barn finds”. These are vehicles that have not been restored to a level never even attained from the factory. They have their fifty, sixty, seventy or eighty year patina intact.
There were over 250 vehicles to gaze at. Most were luxury and sporting marques like Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bugatti, Rolls Royce, Bentley. One of the highlights was the new Bugatti Chiron in a deep French blue with a highly chromed character line sweeping up the A-Pillar along the door and then down and back forward towards the front fender. Very dramatic. Framing the Chiron was a “sea” of Bugatti Veyrons in a rainbow of colors.
While The Quail is an event for individuals to showcase their vehicles, corporate displays seem to be on the upswing as well. Bugatti showcased the Chiron. Bentley showed off the Bentayga and the new Mulsanne. Acura was there celebrating 30 years on the market. BMW was celebrating its 100th Anniversary. Cadillac was featuring its CTS-V. Alfa Romeo featured the 4C and upcoming Guilia sedan. Singer, the classic Porsche upfitter, had a small display and a large crowd.
My favorite display was the Bowlus travel trailer hitched to a Bentley Bentayga. This all-aluminum $219,000 travel trailer is reminiscent of an aluminum Airstream but is totally high tech. The Bowlus folks say you can live off the grid for two weeks in their travel trailer and be totally comfortable.
The Quail is a signature event for Peninsula Hotels. Six Peninsula hotels had a spectacular pavilion with gourmet food appropriate from their cities – Bangkok, Beijing, Chicago, Beverly Hills, Paris, and New York. Most people probably couldn’t get through all six pavilions. While all six of the Peninsula pavilions were outstanding, perhaps the best was Beijing with great food and music to set the ambiance for a truly luxurious experience.
We at AutoPacific/VehicleVoice test lots of vehicles throughout the year, and we test them with the viewpoint of you, the consumer, in mind. As such, we typically tend to test more attainable vehicles. Last week, however, we got the chance to spend some quality time with a Lamborghini Gallardo. And not just any Gallardo, mind you, but the hardcore flagship of the family, the LP 570-4 Superleggera.
On August 3, I finally returned to one of my favorite summer events, the annual Meadow Brook Concours d’ Elegance. Held the first weekend of August every year since 1979, this Concours is one of the premier events of its type. Not quite as prestigious as the Pebble Beach Concours happening the weekend of August 16 (yes, the same weekend as Detroit’s Woodward Dream Cruise), Meadow Brook has earned a strong reputation. For me, it’s simply a chance to wander among cars from storied brands of today and yesterday. Delahaye, Packard, Auburn, Duesenburg, Pierce-Arrow, Studebaker, Peugeot, Ferrari, Cadillac, Lincoln, Chrysler, Rolls-Royce, the list goes on and on.
As you enter the Concours d’Elegance, the show starts.
Meadow Brook is home to a mansion of the same name built by the widow of John Dodge, one of the two Dodge brothers that helped establish the automotive industry we know today. The home and its property now belongs to Oakland University. Aside from the sheer joy and pleasure of celebrating the automobile as an art from, the event’s purpose is to raise funds for upkeep of the 88,000-square-foot mansion and its grounds. Seems a fitting choice of fundraising event.
In 1879 a matador chose to spare the life of a bull during one of the fights at the arena of Cordoba in Southern Spain. The bull had fought with such passion and spirit (surviving 23 sword strokes) that the matador chose to spare its life, a rare honor. The bulls name was Murcielago and Lamborghini is determined to build a car with the same soul.
The Lamborghini Mercielago shares the same passion and spirit as that very bull but in a much sexier package. Vehicle Voice
and AutoPacific staff found one pinned inside the gates at AutoPacific
yesterday. The snarling, grunting, 2007 Lamborghini Mercielago LP640 screamed into our courtyard sending reverberations up the back walls of the building. As it sat idling with flared nostrils you could hear the heavy breathing. With air intakes expanded behind the C-Pillars and twin electric fans on heavy rotation you could tell the engine wanted a mouthful of cold air. So, naturally I recommended that we take it around the block to run some fresh air over the twelve cylinders.
Closing time for Harrods
department store in London is at 8PM on a Friday night. Across from its Hans Road entrance is a mediocre but well-positioned Italian restaurant Zia Teresa
correspondents grabbed a table across from the Harrods’ door that was a great venue for the supercar version of Detroit’s Woodward Dream Cruise. Of course, none of these cars could drive more than about 20mph down the street that was a narrow single lane with cars parked on both sides.
A brief inventory included: 1 Bugatti Veyron
, 2 Lamborghini
Gallardo Spyders, 2 Lamborghini Gallardos, 2 Lamborghini Countachs, 2 Lamboghini Murcielagos, 1 Mercedes SLR McLaren, 2 Porsche Carrera GTs, 5 Aston Martin V8 Vantages
, numerous Bentley
Continental GTs, one Bentley Flying Spur in black with orange bodysides, a Morgan, many mundane Porsche 911s and Cayennes, more 2006/7 Mercedes S-Classes than could be counted. Oh yeah, there were a couple of vintage Daimler limousines carrying shoppers to and from Harrod’s.
Why this proliferation of super iron? Apparently, because of the difficulties in Lebanon, many vacationers from the Middle East opted for London this year. Where they congregated in the Edgeware Road area in previous years, this year their loci is Harrod’s. A high percentage of the supercars were left hand drive with Arabic number plates. Probably air-freighted from Saudi Arabia, Qatar or Dubai.
Parked at the curb (kerb), Veyron shared space with a bicycles and chauffer-driven Range Rover in the background.
SLR illegally parked at end of Hans Road attracted dozens of admirers most taking mobile phone photos. SLR in the flesh and in traffic was underwhelming.
Getting even more attention than the SLR was this red Carrera GT with Arabic plates (SLR and Veyron also had Arabic plates). Note the Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder cruising by in background.
Down the street, around the curve, there were more Lamborghinis parked in a two block area than would be seen in Turin at any one time.