Early in the morning the media preview starts while owners and detailers are still at work to get the mist of the
cars. If somebody wonders how the plants in California survive despite the very limited rain, a morning on the
show field gives very much the answer as all the cars were wet from the fog that usually covers the coastal
line over the night and early in the morning. This week seems to be an exception as again the day started
with sunshine and soon the water evaporated but a small touch up of the car was still necessary before the
spectators came in.
This year’s field saw some special classes as well as the usual sports and race car classes of the different
eras, unsurprisingly the centenary of Bentley played a big role with the display of the cars from the Bentley
West Coast Rally that finished in Monterey earlier. Still wearing their start numbers the cars from Cricklewood
were lined up in front of the lodge, joined by a few exhibits ready for judging. Just opposite of the old one
Bentley unveiled the new all electric concept as shown earlier this month in the UK making its American
debuted. Even more exclusive was the booth of the sister brand Bugatti as CEO Stephan Winkelmann
unveiled one of the two new models Bugatti wants to release every year. After the hype with the Voiture
Noire at Geneva and the Villa d`Este it was now a new concept remembering the EB110 to be shown that
morning at the Quail. With a very limited production run and a price tag of about 8 Mio $ the car is already
About as exclusive is the Aston Martin Valhalla that was shown just a hundred meters up the field.
A very strong presence at the Quail of the Supercars also included a hoard of Koenigsegg including the Jesko
and Regera as well as a couple of Pagani.
The “mother” of all current supercars and for many the legit successor of the legendary Ferrari 250 GTO, the
McLaren F1 does celebrate a quarter of a century already and no less than 4 examples were on show.
Together with the sale of the F1 at RM that evening this certainly makes the F1 one of the cars of the week.
But not only modern cars could be seen, also a few classics drew much attention, especially the Ferrari show
over the road. Led by the Ferrari 335 S, winner of the Amelia Island Concours, several prancing horses could
be seen including a nice 250 GT Series 1 Cabriolet, a 250 GT Coupe and a 250 GT Boano. A little bit less
admired by the mass was a very interesting early example, the 166 Inter Stabilimenti Farina that is in the
Lee-Collection in Nevada for over three decades but apparently was never shown in public since. The
Stabilimenti Farina was one of the few coachbuilders that were favoured in the early stage of the Ferrari
production before finally Pinin Farina of Brother Battista “Pinin” became the first choice.
As during all the car week many visitors were from the who-is-who of the car scene including collectors,
restorers and vintage race car drivers, most of them retired former racers in the endurance or sports car series
including Emanuele Pirro and his former ally “Mister Le Mans” Tom Kristensen both seen around the
new Auto e-tron, as well as the brothers Franchitti.
On stage at the fireside chats Philip Kadoorie, son of the host Sir Michael, had the pleasure to get some
interesting stories from Mark Webber about his time in F1 and later in the endurance series.
Time was flying and finally the awards were presented and since a “small accident” on the ramp a few years
ago the awards area seems to be bullet-proof and slightly over-dimensioned. One car after the other went up
the stage including class awards for the Ferrari 250 GT Series 1 cabriolet before the major awards were given.
Spirit of the Quail award went to the Ferrari 335S and the best of Show was awarded to a Pebble Beach
veteran, the Stutz DV32 Convertible Victoria by Le Baron of Joseph & Margie Cassini.
In the evening one had the agony of choices to which auction one should go as both Gooding & Company
as well as RM Sotheby’s had some featured cars on the ramp. Whereas RM sold of the McLaren F1
Gooding & Company at the same time sold a very special Ferrari, the 312 T as driven by the late Niki Lauda.
Announced earlier this year as one of the highlights of the weekend the car undoubtedly got even more
attention after the passing of its legendary driver. Once a class winner at Pebble Beach one can hope that the
car will be back on track rather than the show field as Monaco would really suit this car but rumours are that
the car might join a rather static collection.
Apart from the 312 Gooding also managed to sell the other star of the evening, the Ferrari 250 GT LWB
California Spyder that changed hands several times over the last years and unlike the current trend the car
even fetched more money than on the last auction at RM. It remains to be seen whether the car finally found a
home where the car is intended to stay or whether it will change colour and owner again in near future.
But one certainly has to recognise that the market is not the same anymore as not only Gooding but
apparently also RM had several no sales and sales rate in the region of 90% seem to be unrealistic
nowadays. Bonhams and RM did counteract this trend by consigning more car whereas Gooding & Company
stayed with their philosophy of keeping the number of cars reasonable over the two days. Latest tomorrow
evening after the last day of the various auctions one might judge who had the better approach, those putting
more cars on a market in descend or those trying to keep the offering reasonable. RM profited from the
spacious display area at the Portola Plaza hotel whereas Bonhams already mentioned that in case of another
2-day sale a little bit more exhibition space is needed to keep the offering exclusive on display.
Tomorrow will feature again numerous events and one has to choose between the cars on display at the
Concorso Italiano and the cars running during the Rolex Motorsport Reunion at Laguna Seca. With a very
short night ahead towards Sunday’s dawn patrol and the extensive galleries of the cars during the
Pre-Reunion we will skip tomorrows preview apart from a few Auction images at RM to get to the final highlight
on Sunday when the famous name giving Concours of the Car Week opens its gates.
Report & images ... Peter Singhof