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.
What better time to visit London than early September when the weather can be anything. The Owners’ Day of the Concours of Elegance (yes, Concours OF Elegance – it is England, after all) was held on a blisteringly hot day. Blazing sunshine. Temperatures near 90-degrees. The owners and their ladies or gents were hard put to keep a dry upper lip. This was a three day event and the weather was different on each day. Following the hot, hot, hot Thursday, it rained on Friday. Not downpours exactly, but enough to keep the car polishers busy keeping the 60 or so vehicles as pristine as possible. Saturday was the public day and the weather dried and was overcast. The cooler weather made the public day better without the blazing heat of the Owners’ Day.
Luckily or unluckily, AutoPacific attended the Owners’ Day reserved for Owners, guests, Owners’ Day Ticket Holders and Media. Luckily, because we could attend. Unluckily, because it was so, soooooo HOT.
Having just been to the Pebble Beach Coucours de Elegance in August, the contrast was striking. Pebble is so over the top that it overwhelms the senses. The St. James Coucours of Elegance is much less flamboyant, much less overwhelming, but still provides an opportunity to view outstanding vehicles and have a chat with their owners.
It was a day of Royalty. The owners were first feted at Buckingham Palace and then drove their cars down The Mall to Marlborough House located in St. James where the cars were displayed in the back garden. The royal patron was HRH Prince Michael of Kent. The vehicles on display varied widely from old Rolls-Royces to a modern Bentley GTZ Zagato custom coupe. Here are a few examples:
Hard to get an angle on this American 1934 Duesenberg Model J Willoughby Sedan Limousine
1930 Stutz SV16 Weyman Monte Carlo – a famed American marque
1939 Bugatti Type 57C Voll & Ruhrbeck Roadster
1925 Hispano-Suiza Boulogne
1928 Bugatti Type 35B – unrestored beauty
Bentley GTZ Zagato Custom Coupe – a late entry
Bentley GTZ Zagato – note the Roofline and Rear Styling
1937 Horch 853 Voll & Ruhrbech Sport Cabriolet, 1936 Mercedes 500K Streamline Roadster in background
For those of you who do not live in the Los Angeles Times sphere of influence, you may miss the writing of Dan Neil their Pulitizer Prize winning auto journalist. You can catch up on his reviews, Highway 1 editorials and podcasts at the LA Times website (http://www.latimes.com). This article on the upcoming launch of the Bugatti Veyron supercar is just one example of Neil’s writing.
By Dan Neil, Times Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, December 10, 2005
PALERMO, Sicily — At 200 mph, the Bugatti Veyron pounds a beautiful, howling hole in the sweltering haze hanging over the motorway.
This, the fastest production car in the world, is broad and low, an enameled ellipse in a spiffy two-tone paint scheme. By comparison, its now-vanquished supercar rivals, such as the Ferrari Enzo and McLaren F1, are all edges and blades and angles, like F-16 fighter planes or Japanese stunt kites.
The Veyron is not, strictly speaking, the fastest car I’ve ever driven, but the one that’s faster had a jet engine and a parachute. The guardrail to my right is blurred into a dirty stream of quicksilver. Houses fly by before my brain has time to register the word “house.”
About nine seconds ago, I was dawdling at 100 mph. Then I squeezed the throttle. The seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox clicked twice, the engine took a huge lung-busting toke of atmosphere through its twin roof snorkels — and then things got interesting. Something slammed me from behind and I realize it was the seat. Captain, it appears we have fallen nose-first into a wormhole.
Two-hundred mph. And I’m not even in top gear.