Probably the biggest week in cardom anywhere in the world is in mid August and located on the Monterey, California Peninsula. It all begins with the street concours in Carmel, on Tuesday and with no less than ten events going on it culminates with Pebble Beach Concours on Sunday. However; of late, one of the main auction houses, Gooding still is going strong Sunday night after Pebble. But we are here to talk about one event at a time.
The Quail which celebrated seven years of success is a sight to behold. A gathering of the finest automobiles, the highest level of cuisine and a cornucopia of no more than 3000 attendees are permitted. It is held on the once renowned Quail Lodge golf course and has become the place to be on Fridays of this special week. It is the lawn party of lawn parties. It captures the essence of the area from the steep mountains of the Santa Lucia range that surround the Lodge to the lush green freshly trimmed and manicured lawn of the fairway. This year Jaguar’s renowned XKE was the featured marque, celebrating its 50th anniversary as one of the most stunning cars ever produced. Of course tradition dictates the continued showing of great Ferraris as well as a select group of special featured cars each year. In a way it is no different from most grand concours, with several exceptions that make it so wonderful.
Located at each corner of the fairway is elegant cuisine open to all to enjoy. Every year each corner represents a different flavor of the food palate. It can range from TexMex to Oriental to Cuban to European to Spanish to Southwestern to barbeque to pretty much any flavor you might think of. Of course with this catering to the masses, flavors are more of the general than specific. Local growers show their pride and joy from the year’s plentiful yields and most contribute to the foods available. There is at least one coffee cart, a gelato cart, and always a large oyster bar filled with more oysters than most people have ever seen before. It takes several in help to shuck these little guys as the crowd gobbles them up about as fast as they are put on the ice bed. A Mariachi band strolls the lawn party and serenades you… like it or not. They happen to be very good! Rolex is the prime sponsor of this event and they put on their normal high end approach to helping make this an incredible event each year. Along the perimeter there are lots of vendors, cigar makers, wineries offering samplings, special interest booths and several car manufacturer’s showing off their newest creations and some of their best sellers as well. Ferrari, Land Rover, Mercedes, Bugatti, Maserati and others share the limelight together. It is a Mecca of sorts for everyone who loves cars and the finer things that go with them. Like jewelry and watches.
One of the most entertaining parts of the day is when the group of featured race cars from the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion come rolling into The Quail single file with engines roaring and causing everyone to literally stop whatever they are doing and take notice. These cars seem to attract everyone, and there is no stillness to this crowd with these cars around. When they finally depart to go back to the track at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the party continues on until late in the day when the Best of Show is announced and the awards have been presented. This is a marvelous day in northern California for all those fortunate enough to be able to attend. It suffers from some competition from the Concours Italiano which is going on a few miles away at another golf course at the exact same time, but has proven that The Quail can hold its own regardless.
This has become such a huge week that many are thinking it needs more days. I for one, can barely keep up with the schedule I have over the six days I attend, and can’t even imagine adding more days.