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.
If you read our F1 post from several days ago, the world known as Formula One was on the brink of becoming CART Wars, PART II. A majority of the teams who race in the international F1 Championship were prepared (so they said), to launch a breakaway series, due in large part to their dissatisfaction with the requirements set forth by the governing body and its president, Max Mosely.
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The Los Angeles Auto Show just seemed to be the right place to watch Ferrari introduce its new supercar. Since moving to Southern California, I’ve found Ferrari’s to be far less exotic, because they’re nearly ubiquitous in certain areas of L.A. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not that jaded. I still think Ferrari is the epitome of what’s truly beautiful inside and out, in the automotive world. And Ferrari hasn’t disappointed with the new 599 GTB (Grand Touring Coupe) Fiorano. It even sounds good!
AutoPacific’s Senior Consultant, Jim Hossack, got a personal tour around, in and under the hood of this 611-hp beauty. This is your chance to see the latest in nearly perfect design from the Italian automotive masters.
Show Runtime – 9:11
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This week, the all-new VehicleVoice podcast takes you to the Monterey Historic Races at the Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway. Trackside!
This is one of our very favorite automotive events each year. The Historics are everything auto enthusiasts hope for. Where else can you see a Bentley from the 1920s competing on the same track that hosts the American Le Mans series? Race cars from the genesis of the sport, all the way up to the current Toyota F1 car took to the track this weekend, and we were there…with cameras and microphones, to bring it to you.
The races aren’t the only event that takes place during the Historics. The Concours de Elegance at Pebble Beach brings million-dollar trailer queens together to strut their stuff before hitting the auction block. The Concorso Italiano features so many gorgeous Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Fiats, Lancias and Maseratis, it’s hard to think straight amidst all the red paint. And MINI claimed the weekend as their own this year as well, celebrating the featured Historics’ marque, Cooper. They introduced their new MINI Cooper GP and kicked off a two-week cross-country drive of MINI enthusiasts.
We were there for it all, and we begin our coverage with an audio podcast that will have you drooling over the sounds of Maseratis from the 50s, 60s American muscle cars, and the incredible song of Toyota’s F1 race car, driven to a track record by none other than Ricardo Zonta.
Hear it all right here!
00:35 Track Introduction David Barrett, VehicleVoice contributor
01:40 The Featured Marque – Cooper Karol Andrews of the Cooper Car Club
05:10 Mini Cooper Mini Takes the States Kick Off Party with Jim McDowell, Vice Prersident of Marketing for MINI and Andrew Cutler, MINI Communications Manager
07:44 The Sounds of Classic Race Cars David Barrett, VehicleVoice contributor
09:56 Toyota TF Formula 1 Race Car engine noise courtesy of Toyota and test driver Ricardo Zonta
I learned how to drive with a manual transmission. My instructor, a former racing driver turned attorney, explained how important it was to have control over the gears and to not assume anything – or to leave chance to an automatic transmission. I loved shifting when I started driving, and yes, it did make me feel as if I had more control over the vehicle. Once, during a rainstorm, my “total control” did put me (aged 16) and my BMW 1602 askew in somebody’s front yard. With that exception, I have always enjoyed driving a car with a manual transmission. I must be lucky, as my wife feels the same way.
A Typical 6-Speed Stick
Yet, manual transmission cars have been on the decline for many years, notably here in America. Drivers here seem to prefer the lack of exercise required when sitting on the highway or freeway with 200,000 of your closest neighbors sharing the same lane and destination. And recently, when searching for a new car, I’ve come across more and more situations where a manual transmission just wasn’t available.