Friday, June 8, 2012

Portfolio - Monterey Snaps

The week of automotive excess which takes place in Monterey, California every August should be a 'must see' for petrol-heads, enthusiasts and lovers of finesse, refinement and affection, as applied to things automotive.

Every once in a while I flick through my photo files for instances that remind me how enjoyable it is to be in the company of such people, soaking up the sights.

Emerging from the Monterey Plaza hotel one morning in 2009, there was a street full of Lamborghinis, all heading to Quail Lodge.

Shortly after that we arrived at Quail Lodge, which is firstly a superb golf course, but during the Friday of the third week in August it's the setting for an event known as 'The Quail - A Motorsports Gathering'. It's not run as a rival to the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, rather as a complement to it. Although great cars are on show, the accent is on motor sport.

You never know what you will find, but the great pleasure of attending 'The Quail - A Motorsports Gathering' is that you know there will only ever be 3,000 attendees.

Tickets are strictly limited, and in 2010 when they went on sale on the internet, they sold out in less than three hours. Not bad for an entry pass that's USD$250 a ticket!

However, you can stroll the course in comfort, dining on a wonderful variety of international cuisines - all included! As is wine, coffee and dessert. It's very civilised!

However, despite the food, wine and ambience - it's the displays which capture you. Like this lineup of fully-working, miniaturised engines from the Bay Area Engine Modellers' Club. They turn up every year with wonderful examples of famous engines. It's when they start them up that you get goosebumps at the spectacle.

Mixed among exotic European sports and racing cars, you get a terrific selection of Yankee race cars, dressed up for the occasion.

On Saturday it's either the Concorso Italiano (the venue seems to move every year), or you can rock out to the Laguna Seca race circuit for the Monterey Historic Races. On Sunday we all move to the famous Pebble Beach Golf Course, and the dazzling display on the 18th fairway.

Every year, the huge crowds get to see something different, mostly spectacular, and stuff that's often never been seen publicly before. They line up for front row seats from 7am!

Strolling the lawns adds another dimension. Here's the famous Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!

Or, to the Concept Lawn for a taste of more modern stuff. Like the Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport and the Audi R8, among a dozen other future concept cars from the world's auto makers.

Then, back to the fairway, where lunch is taken wherever you can find a quiet spot.

Or even a tailgate affair, vintage car style, with liveried chauffeur to serve the wine!

Of course, the presentation of the competing cars has to be seen to be believed. Like this pristine Jaguar XK-SS, and toolkit!

On top of all the automotive beauty, there's beautiful people all over the place, and even the then-Calfornia Governor, Arnold Schwarzeneger, dropped by for lunch with Bentley Motors Chairman, Dr. Franz-Josef Paefgen. It's style all the way in Monterey. Try and make it.

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