Last year I was lucky enough to attend the Quail, A Motorsports Gathering at the lavish Quail Lodge fairways in Carmel Valley. It was my first time back at The Quail Lodge for over fifteen years when they last hosted il Concorso Italiano, now at the Bayonet. I’ve always wanted to go back since I first heard they formed their own signature event, but the honest truth is Monterey Car Week is so packed with things to do, it’s tough to fit everything in. Not last year. Last year, I finally made the efforts to attend the Quail and ohh my was it the biggest mistake in Car Week history.
Now when I saw mistake, I don’t mean the event. The mistake was me not attending The Quail for the prior fifteen years, and that’s because it was incredible. Stupendous, in fact. How have I been missing this for the past decade and a half? I thought to myself. No, not again. I must go every year now. And so it has cemented itself as tradition in my own personal Monterey Car Week lore. With that in mind, yes the 2018 edition was one I couldn’t miss.
What makes the Quail special? Everything. No, honestly, and literally. The cars are amazing, but they’re only part of the show. The food is delectable. And there’s a lot of it. A pass into the Quail nets an all-you-can-eat buffet with an outstanding variety that’s influenced from each corner of the world. Let’s see, I at different times of the day indulged in salmon, chicken, oysters, caviar, salads, cake, and Thai food (still not cultured enough to tell you the name of what it was). And it was all mouth-wateringly good. Don’t forget the drinks. From Bulliet Rye Manhattans and Whisky Sours my friends enjoyed to Margaritas and to wine (not your bottom shelf Andre, either), it was all there.
I’ve never been somewhere that makes me feel like an A-Lister until coming here. Speaking of A-Listers, I was looking over a selection of Rufs when I noticed the man in front of me peering into the side window looked slightly familiar. Then I heard him speak and immediately recognized the Aussie accent from down under. It was none other than known car guy Eric Bana (if his lap on Top Gear was dry and not a monsoon, he likely would have set the fastest time years ago). In amazement I told him how upset I get when he dies by Brad Pitt’s sword every time I watch Troy. His replay was, “Well unfortunately, we couldn’t change history.” Great guy. His film Love The Beast, about his love for cars and racing, is a must see.
Nick Mason was also present, with his son-in-law and racing driver Marino Franchitti. And yes, Dario was there as well making the rounds. Nick Mason, for those that ask, “Nick Who?” was the drummer and founding member of Pink Floyd. His collection of cars includes just about everything, with his Ferrari 250 GTO being his most publicized and valuable ride. Though, to my surprise, I asked him what his most enjoyable car to drive is, and his answer was not the GTO, but his vintage, pre-war Aston Martin Ulster.
Also, had the pleasure to bump into Doug Demuro, who aggressively dresses exactly like he does in his videos even at super fancy car events. Respect. My friends and I chatted with him and his friend for probably a solid ten minutes. A wonderful, and I repeat, wonderful guy to talk to. He knows his cars as good as anyone I’ve ever met and truly loves the excitement and emotion that cars can bring in the driving experience. Hopefully I run into him again next year. Top bloke that Doug Demuro.
So now to the cars. Every modern hypercar was in attendance, meaning a Zonda, a baker’s dozen of Huayras, Bugatti Chiron and the new Divo, Koenigsegg Agera, 918, McLaren’s Senna and P1 LM, Singer 911 DLS, and lots bearing the prancing horse. The all-new Z4 was on display as well, in M40i guise. The parking lot is a wonder as well, with, I kid you not, a car show of its own. Attendees leave a filled out slip on their dash in the parking areas, and judges select a best-of the parking lot. A 300SL Gullwing was the winner.
Add all these components together and this becomes something surreal. It feels like a dream, like it can’t be real. Maybe it’s a David Lynch-like dreamscape, but it’s real and genuinely authentic. Most importantly, two years in, I enjoyed it just the same if not more this time around. The novelty of it all has not worn off one bit. And I really could go for some oysters right now.
The Quail has become a crown jewel of Monterey Car Week, possibly even upstaging the finale that is Pebble Beach Concours. It’s a gigantic party centered around cars that I didn’t want to end. And I could look at the cars and people endlessly, but unfortunately we had to be ushered out at some point when the show was deemed finito.
I can only hope I’ll be back on the Quail’s fairways next year once again. In just two years, Quail has officially become a pastime and staple event; a highlight of my annual calendar. It’s that good. If you have the means, go. You won’t be disappointed. Only eleven months to go…