My Car Quest

April 20, 2024

Doin’ The Quail In Carmel

by Wallace Wyss

The Quail, A Motor Sport Gathering, one of the premiere events of Monterey Car week, is really a unique event. You can’t say it is a concours because it is not so much a contest of which car is more beautiful or correctly restored as it is a gathering of interesting cars for the most cultivated connoisseurs to ponder.

In other words, at that entrance price (discussed later) it is not likely those ignorant of exotic cars will attend, it is more a gathering of the world’s best connoisseurs with cars that would interest them.

Dino 206SP

Dino 206SP

This is a curated show. What’s the difference? Well, Concours Italiano, if you own an Italian car, you can apply and get in. But at the Quail (named after the hotel it takes place at) is not so readily accessed. The curators have to look at your car and have to be convinced it is a significant car, tying in with their themes for the upcoming show. The themes change every year.

This year the themes were:

Rivalries of the Ages
100th Anniversary of BMW
Celebrating Motorcars and Motorcycles
A Retrospective of Laguna Seca Raceway
50th Anniversary of the Lamborghini Miura
Pre-War Sports and Racing
Post-War Sports
Post-War Racing
The Great Ferraris
Sports and Racing Motorcycles

Rolls Royce

Rolls had an extra special car in their show at the Quail. The blue top costs roughly $20,000 more than the other top colors on this Dawn.

I went early in the morning and was impressed first with the ease of entrance and parking. You parked on a nice green golf course and then were shuttled over to the event a few hundred feet away. Behind you was the Bonhams auction, still within walking distance.

Once you entered the Quail you were bowled over by the restaurants. I saw at least three, maybe there was five. I filled up at the first one and couldn’t take any more food to explore the others. But no charge for the food, which makes you feel good until you remember the entrance ticket was North of $700. With all these chairs, it is a lot different from Pebble. Oh, there’s food at Pebble, but no place to sit.

And you don’t want to be seen at Pebble schlepping around chewing a hot dog. Here half the participants are eating or drinking and the other half touring the show.

The manufacturer’s displays are beautiful, raised platforms, often of wood painted white, that elevate and display the cars properly. Cars like Rolls Royce, and Bugatti, and McLaren. At each booth they have comfortable chairs and couches and don’t mind if you bring a drink from the last booth, or here, sir, we’ll refresh your drink here.

The Quail

A racing Cadillac. Yes, believe it. And remember Briggs Cunningham raced two Caddys (Caddies?) at LeMans so we be here to kick your behind froggies…

There was even an exhibit from a yacht maker.

As far as the section of cars, it was a wide variety. Each car is mentioned in the program, so you can identify what you are looking at. I would have to say the most impressive car to me was the 206SP Dino because there are so few of them. I enjoyed talking to the Doctor Mogadam, owner, who will be in my next book for his barn find of a gullwing Mercedes.

Now as far as “purity” of the display, I did notice some modern rebuilds going on, such as a ’34 Packard with a coachbuilt body designed and Rick Dore Kusstoms and with metal shaping by Marcels. So though it looked like a prewar Delahaye or Delage it was done in the last couple of years, the second coachbuilt car Dore has built for rocker James Hetfield.

Then too there was Gary Wales batcar or whatever you want to call it, a huge behemoth that was built on a fire truck chassis. We don’t know what has possessed ol’ Gary—who once restored Bentleys for concours. Now he’s off the deep end with these fantasy cars that look like Captain Nemo ordered them. But we luv’ ya Gary, you tell the world’s greatest car stories.

The Quail makes no national affiliation with any one country’s cars. They can have cars from Germany (special BMW displays) and even from America (surprise, Cadillac display).


A vintage Ferrari at the Quail. You couldn’t get in just with a regular car, they like cars with stories and much history.

Porsche purists must have looked askance at the Singer Porsches which seemed to me to be stock bodied Porsches that were fitted with upscale interiors and wheels and tires and performance mods. Outlaws but in a very classy way. Reportedly Singer has people standing in line for them, paying several hundred thousand per car.

One car that might be a preview of a coming trend was an old Ferrari 365 GTC four seater that was turned into a real hot rod restomod by Jim Busby, a former professional racer. It’s hard to say what class it would run in (is it old enough to enter vintage?) but damn he did that Ferrari right.

He admits restyling the body a tad here and there. Anyone who has seen it run is impressed. But in Ferrari circles originality was, like cleanliness, next to Godliness, now I look at Busby’s car launching more restomods which are essentially hot rodded customs.(Should we call them Kustoms if they are from California?)

The music was great and the setting (though no ocean view like Pebble), and the venue not so crowded that you had to wait a minute to shoot a picture of a car. You could tell the individual car owners were damn proud to be selected to enter The Quail, like I say, you can’t be in just because you want to be in, you have to be selected.

Jaguar XKE

What can I say about this Jag? It appears to be an E-type with many XKSS and D-type influences, kind of what you would expect a Quail attendee to covet if he wasn’t concerned about a car being correct-as-to-period.

There was also a photography tent, featuring the books and photos of Michael Fuhrman, a photographer who takes stunning studio shots of classic cars.

The program book they give you is also stunning, very thick, with lots of color, something they would charge $45 for at a bookstore and full of articles by well known authors like Matt Stone.

All in all, if price is no object, this is the one event at Monterey that makes you feel like you are in exotic car heaven, with just enough comic relief (the Gary Wales custom fire truck, the Hetfield pseudo French classique) to make it not-so-serious. One gets the feeling that almost everyone there is the kinda guy you’d like to sit down with, each with a glass of cognac, and a good cigar, and talk cars.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Oh and one year about 4 years ago the publisher of My Car Quest won the Bizzarrini class at The Quail. He thinks it is the only Bizzarrini class at The Quail so far.

THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss says he is in search of a producer who knows cars so he can talk film rights to his novel Ferrari Hunters, a noir thriller set in the world of events like the Quail.

Wallace Wyss

Wallace Wyss




At the Quail each automaker has a nice stand to show their cars
plus couches, music–a golden opportunity for them to find simpatico buyers

Doin’ The Quail In Carmel
Article Name
Doin’ The Quail In Carmel
The Quail, A Motor Sport Gathering is a very special event during Monterey Car Week.


  1. Very nice! In this year of “Great Rivalries” they have the Ferrari, tell me they had a Ford GT 40 as well? Especially given what happened at Le Mans this year on the 50th anniversary of those great times? Nice quality photos by the way, are there any more I can see please? Thanks, Bill.

  2. Thanks for the great summary of the Quail, Wallace — you updated my memories of it and I think your assessment of how it feels to be there is spot on. They’ve added seating in the middle and bring the Seca racers down the road now, but the essentials remain the same. Obtaining tickets can be tough since they sell out quickly. The couple next to us couldn’t get them so they offered their classic Lancia and were able to get in.

  3. Dennis Holz says

    Nice article. The picture of the burgundy and silver Ferrari takes me back to the ’50s when as an adolescent I clipped a color picture of that same car as new from an old sports car magazine. I am now looking for it to compare! A total round trip from new to restored. By the way, The Singer Porsche is much more than the oblique reference you gave. These are the cars Porsche should have built: all carbon fiber panels, excruciating detail to every aspect of the car. Please check out here:
    and for a track experience in one try this:

    • Dennis,

      During Monterey Car Week I attended a private party co-hosted by Singer. I saw 6 Singer Porsches which is more than I have seen in total ever. They are exceptional.

      I plan to post about them later publishing my iPhone photos from that night.

  4. Great post! I always enjoy reading posts by other people because we all tend to see different things.Jim Busby’s Ferrari was quite a sight, not exactly pretty in terms of a typical concours car but every bit as special. Good point about the “comic relief” there is a bit of it isn’t there?

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