Despite the pretentious name, comma and all, The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering is still my favorite show during Monterey Car Week. I’ve realized it’s better if you treat it as a day long outdoor party with some cars in the middle. If you’re there simply to see cars, Kristen already wrote about how the best time to see all the cars at The Quail is at the end once everyone has had their fix of all the drinks and food. But getting there bright and early and spending the whole day at the event has its upsides too.
I’ll be the first to admit I have the worst attention span on Earth, so spending an entire day at an outdoor car show wasn’t my ideal way to spend a sunny Friday.
But the Quail is different, especially compared to other events during the rest of Car Week. It gets better the longer you stay and the more you enjoy the free drinks and food.
Every year this show has gotten bigger and busier, and some say it now feels less exclusive than it once was. Still, more people means more cars. Or at least you’d hope so. It felt like there were more cars last year, but after a bottle of Pinot you wouldn’t even notice. To be fair, the quality and variety of cars present is so incredible it’s never going to leave anyone wanting more.
If you think of it as an outdoor party with some cool cars to ogle at in the middle, it changes your whole experience. At the Goodwood Festival of Speed and even the Pebble Beach Concours, the cars drive around during the festivities.
At The Quail they’re static the whole day until they leave. So really, they’re just there as the perfect conversation ice breakers for all the car nuts to talk about.
The new car launches are great examples as you can hear people talk about them at the various food tents scattered throughout the event. Each tent specialises in food from different parts of the world; this year there was cuisine from New York, Bangkok, Tokyo, Italy, and Monterey. All were decent but New York literally took the cake as my favorite for the cheesecake and wine.
This year the topics of conversation revolved around the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ, possibly the last naturally aspirated V12 Lamborghini. There’s only a small power increase over the SV but 900 of these will be made, presumably in Coupe form first, with a Roadster variant to follow soon.
The car was shown to customers at a private event the night before the Quail in special “63" livery but the car here, painted in bright green, was how a proper Lambo should look. In all honesty it’s exactly what you’d expect a hardcore Aventador finale to be, and the Veneno-esque rear wing is a particularly nice touch.
But if you want to see crazy, the Bugatti Divo would suffice. Billed as a more hardcore, and more expensive version of the Chiron, only 40 of these will be made with prices starting at nearly $6 million.
I’m not entirely sure I’m sold on the idea of a hardcore Chiron, that’s like having a hardcore yacht but it seems 40 people felt the need to add this to their collections. Then there’s also the small matter of it looking, not particularly elegant in the traditional Bugatti sort of way.
Yet the most interesting cars for me were, ironically, the Japanese ones. Funny thing, that. I go all the way to Monterey just to get excited by Japanese cars.
The mint green Honda TN360 displayed by Clark Sopper was a nice little reminder of Japan, a humble kei truck amongst all the fancy metal at the Quail was a true highlight for me to see. If anything it stood out more than the countless wedge-shaped exotics.
Speaking of Japanese exotics, the Dome Zero and Toyota 2000GT Roadster made a special appearance. Tucked away in the back corner of the Quail, I had hoped to see these cars later in the week at another event so it was a complete surprise to see them here.
About half way through the day the Nissan GT-R50 ItalDesign showed up with a bunch of other Datsun and Nissan cars, casually doing a lap through the show, making for some nice lunchtime entertainment.
Bang in the middle of the event was a special Alois RUF celebration. I’m certain I’ve never seen this many RUFs gathered in the same place, nor did I realize America was such a RUF hot spot. These souped up Porsches have been the stuff of legends since the first CTR Yellowbird all the way to the modern Yellowbird.
Speaking of Porsches, at the other end of the field was a Porsche 356 display. As cool as it was to see all the different versions of the 356 in various conditions, I was expecting more from Porsche on its 70th Anniversary given what they had put on at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed.
But you can count on Lamborghini for putting on a memorable display. For no reason other than because it could, it had a special display celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Espada and Islero. No, I didn’t know that either, but apparently it was enough to warrant an entire display.
Seeing rows of Lamborgini’s foray into the GT world with two of the weirdest but oddly appealing models from their history was quite a sight.
Over at the other stands, Pagani had a smaller display this year but the quality of cars made up for the lack of quantity. There were a couple of Huayra Roadsters including a stunning dark red carbon car and the new “Gryfalcon” Roadster sporting a white, yellow, and blue spec. But for crazy out of control color schemes, the Huayra Lampo and L’Ultimo were a true testament to the personalization offered by the Modenese brand.
By mid-afternoon, once you’ve had your fix of all the different food tents and drinks, it’s a good time to wander around as the crowds would have gotten smaller and easier to navigate through. While it did seem like there were fewer cars on display this year I wouldn’t for a second call it lacking in quality.
Over at the Singer they had there new DLS car, a $1.8 million moving work of art. In the ‘supercar paddock’ was the odd-looking ATS GT, based on McLaren but looking like a bigger Lotus. Audi had the odd PB18 e-Tron Concept, a sort of electric shooting brake sports car concept for the future.
Most years it’s a bit hit-or-miss when it comes to new cars on display and for 2018 there weren’t too many crowd stoppers. Luckily, what makes the Quail special is the variety of cars. From the latest supercars to some of the rarest classics, there’s always something interesting to look at.
On the other side was a variety of Ferraris on display from an all-exposed aluminium body F12tdf, a peach coloured 275 GTB, and the retro-cool Ferrari Pinin concept.
The Ferrari display was almost as great as the Great Lancias display which was dominated by all the Martini livery racing cars. A shame the Automobile Amos Delta Futurista wasn’t able to join the lineup. By this point I had enjoyed a couple glasses of pinot, so I completely forgot about the new BMW Z4 and almost thought it was a red Fiat Abarth 124. Can you blame me?
Spending eight hours at the Quail, even unintentionally, was still a lot of fun. There’s not many car events where it’s worth sticking around until the very end, but that’s very much the best part of the event.
That said, it’s not necessary to spend hundreds of dollars on a ticket to see expensive cars on expensive grass. There’s still a lot of other events and opportunities to make the most of your Car Week experience. I’ll dive into more of those soon.