The hottest ticket in town during Monterey Car Week is for The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, which continues in its 17th year as a relaxed and intimate garden party with lots of splendid automobiles to ogle and gourmet food to munch.
That is, if you can afford the price of admission, which starts at $650 and involves long-range planning and a bit of good luck – the tickets are limited to 5,000 entrants (many more apply) and are chosen by lottery, which took place in February. Food and drink are included.
But once you gain access to the show, held at The Quail Lodge and Golf Club in Carmel, California, you find yourself in a high-roller world of about 250 fantastic classic cars and a smattering of motorcycles. And as everyone who’s been around the car hobby could tell you, every one of them has its own story.
Such as the 1967 Porsche 911s that was sitting amidst the automotive splendor and looking decidedly strange. The 911 wears a coat of paint with an intricate, raised pattern that made it seem more like a pink doily than a sports car.
Named Por-She, the coupe is an artwork created in 1985 by artist/educator Phyllis Yes, who made it her mission to “blur the gender associated with everyday objects,” said the car’s owner, Tim Hensley of Bend, Oregon.
The 4-wheeled canvas took about 1,500 hours to paint in painstaking detail, he said, using an antique lace pattern that she applied onto the Porsche’s entire body, her goal being to soften its manly allure.
“She took what she saw as a very masculine car and ‘feminized’ it,” Hensley said.
The result is absolutely unique, and definitely girly. So much so, Hensley added, that when he and his wife use the car, she does the driving. “I’m embarrassed to drive it.”
Por-She attracted a steady stream of puzzled onlookers, who continuously asked Hensley how it came to be. He handed out display cards to explain the details of the car, which he and his wife have endeavored to preserve as a work of art, he said, other than having it mechanically restored.
And going along with the humor associated which such a piece, a paint can and brush stood next to the car, each bearing the lacey pattern made to appear that you could simply brush it on.
The Quail gathering this year featured 100 years of Bentley, with a massive assemblage of vintage pre-war models, which are probably the most blatantly masculine cars of all time. In muted colors from dark green to black, the hulking machines looked impressive and imposing. Phillis Yes might want to paint one pink.
Many of those Bentleys will be on the grass Sunday for the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, which also is celebrating the centennial of the iconic British stalwart.
Other special classes this year at the Quail included the 25th Anniversary of the McLaren F1, A Tribute to the Electric Car Movement, Pre- and Post War Sports and Racing Cars, The Great Ferraris, Supercars, Custom Coachwork, and Sports and Racing Motorcycles.
As always, the cars were spectacular, the food was great and the people-watching was unparalleled. Many guests dress to impress at this event, often with quirky outfits.
Besides the special cars on display, The Quail has become a major venue for luxury automakers to showcase their vehicles and introduce new models and concept cars. The show-stealer among the manufacturers was Bentley by a long shot, which showed its wildly extravagant EXP 100 GT concept car that, among many lavish things, has the most gigantic pair of scissor doors ever.
Best of Show was awarded to a 1931 Stutz DV 32 Convertible Victoria by Le Baron owned by Joseph and Margie Cassini.
The Octane Choice Award went to a 1952 Nash Healey Le Mans Prototype racer owned by Jose Fernandez.
The Spirit of The Quail award was presented to a 1957 Ferrari 335S owned by Cavallino Investments.