Monterey Auto Week: The Quail, Concourse d’Elegance, and Everything In-Between
Last month, while celebrating the festive car gathering globally known as Monterey Auto Week, we explored the glamorous ins and outs of Pebble Beach, CA. Throughout our four-day stay, we had our sights set on the weekend’s highlighted gatherings: The Quail, an invitation-only motorsports event for 5,000 guests presented by The Peninsula hotels; The Pebble Beach Concourse d’Elegance, an on-the-lawn presentation of cars and concept cars presented by Rolex; and an array of cocktail receptions, dinners, previews, and auctions hosted by the world’s leading car brands. In addition to the larger happenings, we passed our time in conversation with Bentley, Cadillac, Bugatti, and Infiniti while sipping champagne and talking over engine details—an interesting and informative weekend for both the design and engineering savvy.
After an intimate dinner hosted by Infiniti on Thursday night, we headed out on Friday, August 19, to The Quail—the 14th edition, which was hosted at its regular spot, the Quail Lodge & Golf Club in Carmel. There, special attendees had the chance to meet with key representatives from the world’s leading automobile brands, see over 250 motorcars, explore six gourmet culinary pavilions (inspired by six of The Peninsula’s global locations), and sip champagne through it all. In its garden party-like setting, the event welcomed us to tour the open lawn and see rare and exotic cars from the past, like the 1916 La Bestoni Bat Car and the 1957 Lancia Aurelia B20 “Outlaw” Coupe, but also peruse modern luxury super sports cars like the new Bugatti Chiron. For the occasion, auto owners were able to enter their car into a class contest, with traditional classes including: Pre-War Sports and Racing Cars; Post-War Racing Cars; Post-War Sports Cars 1945-1960; Post-War Sports Cars 1961-1975; Sports and Racing Motorcycles; The Great Ferraris; and Supercars. The Quail is known for its unique judging system, as class winners are chosen by entrants within the same class—a friendly competition. The Peninsula Hotel also hosted the “Best of the Best Award” contest, which reveals a winner chosen by all entrants participating in the event.
“The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, has become the highlight of Monterey Car Week, and one of the most sensational events of the year. Thousands of motor vehicle enthusiasts, collectors, hobbyists, and friends come to Monterey to share their love and admiration for exquisite automobiles in an intimate garden party setting, while also benefiting charitable organizations,” said The Quail’s co-founder and Chairman of The HongKong and Shanghai Hotels, The Honorable Sir Michael Kadoorie.
After our departure from The Quail, we made our way to Infiniti’s outpost location on Forrest Lake Road to partake in a cocktail hour, and an opportunity to see the new 2017 Infiniti Q60 again—and this time, hooked up to an high-tech emotional sensor that displayed an array of color patterns on a digital display to match the user’s emotional response when approaching the vehicle. After hors d’oeuvres and car conversation, we made our way to the outdoor stage to see an intimate concert put on by One Republic. Under the chilly night sky, special guests of the brand sang along to the band’s top hits while on the Infiniti-sponsored stage—a relaxed setting surrounded by local California wineries’ tasting tables. Thereafter, we made our way back to our hotel and hotspot, The Inn at Spanish Bay, to bump elbows with fellow weekend warriors like Michael Strahan at the renowned fire pits in the back of the resort.
Saturday flew by in a blur of automobile meetings and cocktail parties at The Lodge at Pebble Beach, until Sunday’s acclaimed commencement show and party, the Pebble Beach Concourse d’Elegance, greeted us. At the not-to-miss event, the farewell party of all farewell parties, guests were able to meander through the on-the-Peninsula lawn to see old, new, and concept cars before the “Best of Show” award ceremony at the very end. Mimosas in hand, we joined the rest of the attendees in “oohing and aahing” in response to each of the cars parked for our enjoyment. We took mental notes of small details, like well-maintained suicide doors, personal mirrors in backseats, and in-car slippers, as well as the gathered rare cars parked in the lawn’s back end, like Ford racing models from the 1960s. We were also invited onto the Concept Lawn—a gathering of just a select number of leading concept cars that the industry has to offer—to gain an up-close-and-personal view of futuristic models from brands like Mercedes, Bugatti, and Porsche.
After we bid adieu to today’s automobile leaders, we took our trusty Infiniti shuttle back to the Inn to get one last look at the gorgeous landscape—one appropriately clad with today’s hottest cars—for a goodbye hard to forget.