During the whirlwind of the Monterey Classic Car Week, amidst the flurry of glamour and horsepower, The Quail managed to stand out by offering a unique and understated sense of luxury. Renowned for its aura of exclusivity and sophistication, The Quail's motorsports gathering extended a coveted invitation to a carefully selected group of 6,000 attendees.
These fortunate guests, granted entry through a selective lottery system, converged at the serene Carmel Valley's Quail Lodge & Golf Club on a Friday that showcased an automotive spectacle as distinctive and stylish as the crowd itself.
The privilege of participation came with a starting price of slightly over $500 per ticket. In the midst of this distinguished assembly, attendee Cindie Szczesmiak shared her impressions: "It's extraordinary." Adjusting her blue and white sundress and sweeping her slicked ponytail to one side, she continued, "People from all over the world come here.
It’s just a beautiful event, with a bunch of beautiful people, good food, drinks, culture, and of course, beautiful cars." Embarking on an exploration of the extravagant displays, Szczesmiak was accompanied by her companion, Kelly Sandstrom.
Both had journeyed from different corners of the country – Southern California and Tampa, Florida – to partake in this once-a-year, and potentially once-in-a-lifetime, experience. For Sandstrom, the allure of The Quail was undeniable: "For us, this is the event that we come to.
This is why we come to (Classic) Car Week, to come to The Quail’s motorsports event. It’s the most exclusive … and it’s amazing."
Grand Arrival: Opulent Welcoming Spectacle
The ambiance of opulence commenced right from the arrival, as guests were chauffeured to the lodge and leisurely strolled towards the private gathering while being serenaded by live music.
Overhead, a path lined with flags led the way, each flag bearing a simple yet significant "20" logo in blue and orange, commemorating The Quail's two decades of existence. As they made their entrance, champagne glasses stood ready in anticipation, rapidly filling and emptying as the event unfolded.
The meticulously curated collections, both opulent and rare, adorned the verdant surroundings. Each car, often presented singly or in small numbers, graced the exhibitions. While the classes celebrated both the vintage and the contemporary, the overarching theme was the celebration of the unique.
Entrant Tony Singer expressed the essence of the event: "That’s what this event is all about. It’s such a diverse (show), where you have old cars, and then you’ve got all these brand new supercars. It’s just fabulous.
There’s nothing like it." Singer, a local resident of Carmel Valley, had been a consistent participant at The Quail's show field for the past dozen years. This year, his contribution was a 1959 Porsche 356a Convertible D.
Adjacent to his display, an air of anticipation enveloped a never-before-seen car, shrouded in secrecy until the unveiling moment. This, to Singer, was the enduring appeal of The Quail. "The variety just makes it the singularly best event that takes place during (Classic) Car Week that has cars," he enthused.
In accord with Singer, his friend Anil Melwani nodded in agreement: "Like Tony said, the generational difference in the number of vehicles that are here, all the way up to vehicles that have never been shown in the world before today, I think that’s incredible.
It’s just a great breadth of technology and high aesthetics that you just don’t find anywhere else." Throughout the day, debuts and presentations unfolded, adding to the excitement. In the mid-morning hours, the Bugatti stage buzzed with activity as the luxury car manufacturer ushered in a new era.
A short distance away, Rimac Automobili took the stage to unveil their latest creation – a sleek jet-black electric car accentuated by emerald green highlights. Prior to the grand reveal, the vehicle had tantalizingly waited under a cloth cover, with mere glimpses of headlights hinting at its underlying marvels.
Opportunities to witness automotive history, from past legends to future marvels, were abundant. Yet, there was no rush to absorb it all in a single sweep. Attendees, representing a diverse range from young adults to those more seasoned, meandered between the exhibits, leaving ample time for networking, refilling champagne glasses, and observing the latest fashion trends.
And when the gourmet catering service commenced, they indulged in a culinary journey as well. Between marvelling at the exhibits, attendees embarked on a gastronomic exploration spanning the globe. Culinary delights from Istanbul, London, the Caribbean, Peru, and Singapore adorned unique menus, offering guests a chance to savor a world of flavors.
By early afternoon, the tasting – and imbibing – was in full swing, transforming the once demure affair into a spirited celebration. Predicting the unfolding scene, Jason Parker, a first-time guest at The Quail, shared his anticipation: "I imagine we’ll get more lively as the day goes on and folks have more champagne." He chuckled, holding his freshly-filled champagne glass.
Parker, already enchanted by the atmosphere, was looking forward to making The Quail an annual tradition: "It’s just fun. The atmosphere of it all, it’s wonderful." With a tip of his fedora, he rejoined his friends, poised to soak in more of the unique experience that The Quail's Motorsports Gathering had to offer.