Car Week in Monterey, CA combines everything you love about AlphaLuxe – cars, travel, watches, and tech. Pebble Beach is the reason that Car Week exists, but I’d like to tell you about an event admissions to which have become the most coveted in town.
Certainly it’s the most expensive ticket during Car Week. I’m here to say it’s worth the price of admission and will explain why.
The unveils. The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering has become the de facto destination for very high-end manufacturers to debut their cars in America. This year, Lotus unveiled their Evija (pronounced ah-VAI-yah), touting it as the lightest and most powerful electric hypercar in the world.
The Evija is first of several future releases by Geely-backed Lotus, with an emphasis on “lightness, aerodynamics, and aesthetics”. Aesthetics in the front reminded me of a Ferrari 458, but the rear is what stood out. It looked like a well executed, modern take on the TV-series Batmobile.
Bugatti unveiled their 1,600 HP, €8 million Centiodieci (Chen-to-DECH-ee), which translates to the number “110”. That is fitting because it is inspired by the modern-classic EB110.
To accentuate the connection, a few EB110’s sat close to the Bugatti display, including the exposed carbon-fiber-bodied, 1 of 1 example that is part of AlphaLuxe’s Unicorn Sanctuary.
I understand you can see these concept cars online. But I have to say that pictures don’t do many of these cars justice – there’s a different level of detail, depth and proportion when seen in the flesh. These modern designs are actually quite stunning in person.
The variety of cars. Some Car Week events focus on one particular make or type of car. Others focus heavily on historical significance and accuracy. Still others just want to have fun, with no regard to provenance or condition. All of those shows are great, but The Quail is unique in that it manages to tow the line between all of these variables. The collection ranged from a 1994 BMW 318i to a McLaren F1 LM, and everything in between.
Each car had historical significance and a strong provenance, but the collection never felt stuffy or overly serious.
The fun factor was underscored with the TV and movie car section, which included Michael Keaton’s Batmobile, Speed Racer’s Mach 5, and Herbie. Herbie!! They even displayed Car Bros’ satirical Enzo – if the placement next to the restrooms was intentional, that makes it even more funny.
Independent coachbuilders were out in full force. I recognized a number of names like De Tomaso, Icon, RUF, Saleen, and Singer.
There were also a number of coach-built motorcycles, including the Curtiss Zeus, which somehow tucked in a V8 between two wheels while keeping the design clean and uncluttered.
The food. No tailgating. No limited hors d’oeuvres. The Quail includes (as part of your admission) multiple tent stations where you can get full-on meals – salads, appetizers, entrees, and desserts. Cuisines range from BBQ ribs to Poke bowls, and the opportunity to eat as much or as little as you want. Even full on unlimited caviar or freshly shucked oysters are available for attendees throughout the day.. The wine and cocktail selection is similarly intriguing and well executed. So stay for the entire duration of the show, eat, drink, and be merry!
The parking lot. If there’s anything that speaks to the caliber of cars displayed at the Quail, it’s the cars that aren’t displayed. Ferrari F12s. Phantoms. Vintage Rollers. Sennas. Chirons (yes, plural). A yellow LaFerrari and a F50. I couldn’t tell the guy in a F50 to go park next to the Nissan Leaf, and please mind the grass while doing so. I’d escort the car straight into the show in full view of everyone, and get fired before lunch.
The playful side. As with most car events, the collection reflects the vibe of the event itself, and that’s what I love most about The Quail. One minute you’re looking at a group of well-tanned, designer-donning retirees. The next minute, you’ll see two 30-somethings dressed as Lloyd and Harry.
The Quail never lets you forget its success and prestige, but it never takes itself so seriously that you can’t relax and have a little fun. It’s genius.
While on the shuttle to The Quail, I had a Pebble Beach enthusiast tell me about how he doesn’t waste his time with vintage American cars, how he only attends the most exclusive auctions, and how Pebble Beach was the only car show really worth attending. He then found out I was going to The Quail; and as I hopped off the shuttle, offered to buy my ticket.
That interaction sums up The Quail quite nicely, doesn’t it?
Lance has been into cars for as long as he and his parents can remember. He won the spelling bee in the 2nd grade, so he is an authentic Indian-American. Since finishing college, Lance has owned over 40 different enthusiast cars. He considers himself a generalist that dabbles in everything, researches heavily, and leans on experts for depth. He favors good design and balanced performance over outright speed, but can be convinced to drive a fast ugly car. When he’s not around automobiles, Lance enjoys serving his community, traveling, good food, and good people.
He can be found at @insidetherim and at @launchcontrolcars, where he hosts a car-centric podcast with his good friend Steve.