The Quail is by far the best bird of the weekend here in Monterey. And that’s not just because it includes helicopters.
“Gordon likes helicopters,” someone said as one circled the fairway across which the event was sprawled.
That’s Gordon McCall, organizer of both The Quail and The Jet Party, and maybe one of the busiest guys on the Peninsula every year around this time.
“It’s fabulous,” said McCall as the sun came up over the Carmel Valley. “It’s fabulous.”
Indeed, celebrating its ninth year in 2015, The Quail remains one of the crown jewels of an increasingly jeweled weekend of car events here. With limited ticket sales and full-gourmet dining included with each ticket, it is unique.
Features at this year’s Quail included the usually rich and diverse fields of Pre- and Post-War Sports and Racing cars, which make up the bread and gourmet butter of The Quail; as well as motorcycles (“Because, who doesn’t like motorcycles?” asked McCall). But there was also a feast of new specialized classes: Coachbuilt Ferraris, Long Tail Cars of Le Mans, and one called simply, The Great Ferraris. Hard to pick a favorite among those, but we’ve always liked the Le Mans cars.
Jim Loftis showed his Mazdaspeed 757 Group C2 car. He got to drive it at the Le Mans Classic one year and couldn’t believe his luck.
“It’s a delight to drive,” he said.
We can only imagine.
Next to the Mazda was Randy Smalley’s 1984 Jaguar XJR-5, which ran at Le Mans in 1985 and was restored last year. It was impeccable.
There was also a Pescarolo and a Ferrari and a 1969 Porsche 908. Not to whine, but with a name like “Long Tail Cars of Le Mans,” we would have liked to have seen a 917, 956, 962 and any number of other great Group C cars. But you can’t have everything, even here.
But you can come close. Wayne Carini did. He was talking to coachbuilder Steve Moal last year and asked him if anyone had one of his cars ready to sell.
“I asked Steve if there’s any cars for sale, let me know,” said Carini. “He said, ‘Why don’t we just build one?”
So they built one, in 10 months. It’s has a track roadster look, sitting on a ’32 Ford chassis and powered by a flathead Ford engine.
That was just one of the stories in the Pre-War Sports and Racing, Post-War Sports, Supercars, Sports and Racing Motorcycles categories.
This year there was more room for everyone. They closed the road that used to run between The Quail and the marque corrals and the general parking. This opened up the grounds on which The Quail is held, leaving more room to roam around among the beautiful cars and bikes. But it may have wreaked a little havoc with those who arrived about midmorning, many of whom waited in a line that stretched all the way down Carmel Valley Road before it made the bend onto the grounds at the intersection of Carmel Valley Road and Valley Greens Drive. It was there that many cars jostled and jockeyed for position at a corner that really could have benefited from the presence of a CHP officer or two, as were present just down the road at the Werks Porsche gathering. We’re sure they’ll get that sorted out before next year.
Be sure to order your tickets soon. They sell out as quickly as these race cars go.