The Quail: A Motorsports Gathering, has become the top event in California’s world-class Monterey week, with enthusiasts from around the world clamouring for one of the 3000 $ 400 tickets available.
Best of Show at the neighbouring Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance may carry more kudos for the car owners, but The Quail is now widely thought of as the best visitor experience – the limited visitor numbers ensure that all of the fantastic machinery on display is easily viewed.
This year, the special display of 45 Years of the Shelby Mustang (complete with popular appearance from Carroll Shelby) contrasted beautifully with an evocative display of coachbuilt Alfa Romeos. The Mustangs included one of just four GT350 ‘Drag Units’ built by the factory to go drag racing (it sounded phenomenal!), Craig Jackson’s prototype ‘The Green Hornet’, a wonderfully original 9000 mile GT500 and Octane contributor Winston Goodfellow’s highly modified modern Shelby, as regularly featured in Octane Cars.
The Alfa Romeo line-up covered the classics, such as the Giulia SS, the pre-war 6C 1750 Gran Sport Zagato and the 1970s Junior Zagato, but these were joined by the crowd-pleasing 6C ‘Aerospider’, featured last year in Octane, the unique 1953 Bucci Special and a Touring-bodied 1900 SSC just out of a top-notch home restoration, completed in a remarkable four months.
Ferrari’s centrepiece at the Quail featured the new 599GTO and the recently introduced California, though they paled into automotive insignificance in comparison with the Maranello predecessors that surrounded them; the 1956 PF Prototype that starred at the Geneva Auto Show, a lovely gold 195, the last-built Europa GT, one of only two 340 America Touring Berlinettas, several 250GTEs, 400 Super America, 365GT, 275GTS and GTB, 330GTB, Daytona Spider, 365GTB, GTS and GT4/BB and a neat 246GT Dino.
This being California, the many other pre- and post-war classics were joined by top-notch hot rods and customs, but the other highlights for Octane included Mark and Babette Sange’s lithe one-off Avia racing car, built in 1956 in Czechoslovakia and powered by a flat-twin BMW motorcycle engine; the ‘Alligator’ 1955 Curtiss, the only original specification GT40 Roadster and London dealer Gregor Fiskin’s great-looking Carrera Panamericana Jaguar C-type, which went on to win its class.
And speaking of wins, best of show went to Ken and Ann Smith’s 1936 Delahaye 135 Competition Disappearing Top Convertible, a car so beautiful that it seems incredible that it was successfully raced in period.
So, what an event! Ticket prices are high but few seem worried, happy to be part of such an important occasion, and ensuring they got full value for money by making full use of the superb food and drink included in the ticket price.