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The Quail, A Gathering of Extravagance. And then Some

Pictures by Mitchell Weitzman and Daniel Blodgett

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…

I Went to the Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, and I felt like Royalty

Okay, so maybe not complete royalty. That one Duke nobody has ever heard of, but still retains the title. Gerion Lannister, for example. Bet you didn’t realize there even was a Gerion Lannister in Game of Thrones lore. Anyways, that’s what this monumental event felt like: being Royalty among the Royal.

3.0 CSL in eye-catching ‘Green Hell’ livery

The Quail has been an event during Monterey Car Week since 2003, hosted at the eponymous Quail Lodge and Golf Course. I had never been, and what a mistake this had proved. This might lack the established pedigree and formality of the Pebble Beach Concours, but it makes up for it in so many ways and, in my humble opinion, even surpasses Pebble. Put it this way: I didn’t want to leave. Checking my step-counter app and I had walked over 5 miles, just circling the show and every car over and over, such as the ambience of the event.  The Quail is not just about the cars, but everything. It’s a royal tournament and everyone wants to be there.

Classic 275 GTB/4

Let’s see, who did I meet. Sir Jackie Stewart, Jay Leno, Horacio Pagani, Christian von Koenigsegg, John Hennessey, Bruno SENNA, Gil de Ferran, Marino Franchitti, and Magnus Walker. I also saw Michael Strahan walking about as well as Amir Khan and Roger Penske. I’m sure I saw many other famous peoples and hadn’t even realized who they were or just perhaps missed them. I mean, where else would you expect to see and bump into such automotive and racing elite? Maybe Monte Carlo.

Rimac Concept One. The car that nearly killed Richard Hammond

Inside the Quail on the beautiful, lush fairway, you’ll find several (I think I counted five?) large tents sporadically about. Your entry includes what really is an all-you-can-eat buffet, of whatever variety of food you desire. I chose to go to the Hong Kong tent to try the exotic delicacies of the far East. I’m not sure what I ate exactly, but it was delicious. Next, I headed over to another and enjoyed lamb meatballs, also exceptional, as well as some seafood. Yep, that’s right, jump in line and grab however many oysters and caviar you’d like. I had never had either before. Caviar, eh, it’s okay; a most interesting fish byproduct. The Oysters were wonderful though, asking myself, “Why haven’t I had these sooner in my life?”

A very well dressed Michael Strahan admiring some Pagani’s

Oh, and there’s also drinks: Wine, champagne, cocktails, you name it. Lots of alcohol. Though it is wise to control one’s self in such an environment. I had some kind of fruity, colorful concoction. I don’t even know what was in it. Not exactly masculine, but damn was it good.

All you can drink. Just don’t make a fool of yourself by spilling it on a hypercar

This is what makes the Quail so special: even if you’re a nobody there, just another Joe, like myself, there for the sights and cars, it makes you feel special. Here I was, on a green surrounded by tens of millions of dollars of cars, talking to a Senna. As it turns out, Bruno is a most humble and charming man, clearly a racer out to make a story for himself and not to live in his uncle’s shadow. Racing at Le Mans this year for Rebellion, his car was 1st or 2nd for most of the race before mechanical calamities struck. Bruno was consistently the fastest driver in his squad and the whole LMP2 class. We must’ve chatted for 10 minutes when, oh who’s that? Is that sports car superstar Marino Franchitti dropping in and joining the conversation? And oh snap! Here comes Indy 500 winner and legend Gil de Ferran joining the fray.

Talking to these elite drivers, having them around you and hearing their stories and talking about their same passion for cars that we share is just mega. You become part of this celestial circle. These were guys you could easily have a beer with and not worry about a lack of good banter. I’m disappointed I had not recommended it!

Huayra

Oh yeah, I almost forgot: The cars. Now, I know this is Bimmerforums, but we are all car people; We just like cool, interesting cars. So let hit this right off the bat: Koenigsegg. Holy heck are they cool. After all the times seeing them in the magazines and on YouTube, here I was finally next to not one, but maybe 7 of them? They’re simply monumental to behold in person. Founder Christian von Koenigsegg is a car guy through and through too, being the utmost friendly and relatable man. Another beer-worthy gentleman indeed.

The man himself, Christian von Koenigsegg

The barrage of Paganis present were dreamlike as well. I have seen them before but they never fail to dazzle with the level of detail that Horacio incorporates into his rolling dreams.

Mr. Pagani signing his creation

Ferrari’s, Bugatti’s, Porsche’s, McLaren’s…the list of desirable cars on display was not lacking in the slightest.

It’s called the Kode 0, from the same man who penned the Enzo

Were there BMW’s? Heck yes! Well, I mean, not many- pretty sure I could count them all on my hand, but there was one that was very, very important on the pedestal: the new 8-Series. I’ll say it, the car looks good. The creases and flowing sheet-metal envelope a thoroughly handsome car. I love the rear the most, it’s slim lights that flick up on the ends flank the tapering, chiseled arse and large air ducts. It’s almost odd, as the whole car is both round and sharp. It engages the eye tremendously with a common design language used throughout. Nothing looks out of place. maybe except the cheap black plastic used for all air ducts, but that’s it. If BMW keeps it as close to the concept as possible, this is a huge win for BMW in putting some dramatic tension into the lineup.

8-series garnered lots of attention. And rightly so

So there you have it. If you have the means (let’s just say it’s not cheap), I highly recommend it. Even if not, it’s so worth going still. The experience is what you would consider a good dream, but it’s real life before your eyes. The Quail has become one of the staple events of the Monterey Car Week, and with that, it has become one of the best shows in North America. The combination is unbeatable in what makes it a truly memorable event. The cars, the people, the food, the drinks. It has everything. King for a day, as Green Day said.

A video highlight reel will land soon, but for now, please enjoy the attached photos of motoring paradise.

918 flanked by it’s forebear, the 959
Zensational Zonda
Bruno Senna enjoying his first Monterey Car Week
Marino Franchitti popping on over
CART and Indy 500 Champion Gil de Ferran
Alfa Romeo Disco Volante
Douglas DC3 showing off above