The Quail Motorsports gathering was held on August 19, 2011 at the Quail Golf Course in Carmel Valley and is the most intimate car event I have ever attended. The champagne and gourmet food is available all day and ask anyone that knows me, I have not missed many meals but the quality of cars and the photographs that needed to be taken did not allow me any time to partake in the gastronomical delights…but I am not complaining. Brigs Cunningham’s world famous Le Monstre was there…Rows of E-type Jags, Ferraris and Bugatti Veryons were waiting to shot and not to mention the stellar cars at the auction….there was simply no time to eat.
Bouncing from recording all the significant cars to capturing “arty” shots of details of cars and rows of cars I was able to create some stunning images. The whole time the PA system was being used to broadcast live interviews with the famous driver Derek Bell or others describing significant cars and events…. I Think. I was more concerned with depth of field and exposures and crowd control. I was trying to listen and keep track of what was being said over the intercom…but holy cow there is a 1950 Jaguar XK 120 Alloy Body, a “Lightweight” Jag E-Type, a Pagondi Zonda R, a few of Dan Gurneys All American Race teams “Eagle” racecars including an Eagle Indy Car, a 1963 Shelby King Cobra, a Scarab 1960 Formula 1 car and a great selection of Ferrari America and Superamerica models…when was I supposed to have time to take notes?
We arrived early and it took some time to make it through the parking lot to the will call as the parking lot had more great cars at 8a.m. that I see in the Lower mainland in a year. Heading to the Bonhams & Butterfields Auction area we stumble upon a Raymond Loewy redesigned 1966 Jag E-type Coupe. Loewy has designed some stunning things, but the Jag E-type is very hard to approve upon and I left feeling somewhat violated. A Barnfind Aston Martin complete with the plaid bean bag ashtray so period correct for the early 60`s looked opulent in it`s disrepair and the ex-Maharaja of Kotah `Tiger Car`1925 Rolls Royce New Phantom Torpedo Sports Tourer complete with a `Gattling`type machine gun on a trailer pulled behind.
Back at the Quail parking lot we watched the “New Bugatti boys” dumping gas from a gerry can into one of their $million dollar cars because to drive out to the highway and back is too congested and they are going to be driving the car all day giving thrill rides to the very lucky few . Entering the grounds is surreal as the East end of the grounds is littered in Bugatti Veryons….so many I did not notice the Briggs Cunnigham `Le Monstre“ upon the raised dais suitable for such a royal beast. Luckily I ended up back there on one of my many loops around the circuit and came upon `Le Monstre` in one of those “clouds parting – sun shining” moments. Briggs Cunningham was an American Sportsmen with a couple of wallets filled with cash and decided with enough money he could rewrite the physics text books and customise a 1950 Cadillac to race at the 24 hours du Lemans. A darling of the French Press and dubbed “LeMonstre” it did compete at Lemans and finished a respectable 11th..one place behind a stock bodied Cadillac. Possibly the last thing from North America the French loved.
Cars were set up in groups placed in ovals with their noses pointing outwards and lots of room to walk around and enjoy the cars from all angles. This is where the limited number of tickets shines as the crowds are not huge and it is easy to wander around snapping incredible pics from all angles with a limited amount of time waiting for the crowds to move out of the way.
A squadron of planes flew overhead and announced the arrival of a group of racecars from the Monterey Historic races at Laguna Seca. Following their Police escort they arrived in style and a fair speed and were parked in a loosely knit group that just begged to be photographed. As it was a milestone year for the Jag XK-E many race versions of the car arrived from the track to join the large selection of Jag E-types on display in the previously mentioned oval as well as the Ferrari Americas and Super Americas.
Riverside Raceway built in the late 50’s and shut down in the late 80’s was honoured with a selection of cars that had raced at the track and one of the Ferraris Phil hill had raced was on hand to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Phil Hill’s Formula One World Drivers’ Championship. The 1959 Ferrari TR59 now owned by Bruce McCaw of Seattle was on hand to celebrate Phil Hill’s wonderous Career.
The show is judged by participants and one of the awards was accompanied by a Rolex watch…I was thinking if you wanted to give the winner something they did not have it might have been better to give them one of my photographs of the events…and I could take the Rolex!!
After being invited to cover this event for 2 years in a row I am thinking that to repeat this event next year with a new selection of cars as superb as this one is going to be a tough job…but the fine people in charge of the Quail Motorsport gathering are up to the task.