The Quail Life—Up Close at the 2011 Motorsports Gathering Page Three
Moving right along, it was sunshine and lunch at separate stations of The Quail Epicurean Delights, Executive Chef Julio Ramirez’ culinary renditions ranging from Spanish, to French, Italian, Mediterranean and Carmel Valley Farmers’ Market cuisine, with drinks and gelato everywhere, all part of the 4-Franklins gate charge. And while I gabbed, my wife Sharon was off taking pictures of fashion and families, the moveable feast of people-watching that’s so indisputably Quail.
On my own walkabout, the purplest-of-purple Rolls Royce halted me in my tacks. “My color,” its owner, Michael Fux (pronounced Fewkes), announced. “The only one in the world. Fux Purple,” he told me. So massive and prominent was this bespoke Phantom Drophead Coupé that for an extensive moment I was speechless.
“Rolls Royce did an incredible job,” I heard from Fux, who has other special order Rolls’ in vibrant yellow and red. “The interior in this one is all white leather with purple stitching, and white veneer enamel,” he was saying. “I like to make sure that every car is unique and beautiful because eventually they are going to a museum to benefit some of my favorite charities.” He named them: Children’s Cancer Caring Center, Operation Smile, and others. “The Quail is a great place for people who love cars,” Fux said. “You get to see things that you don’t get to see anywhere else.”
Soon after, while a dining-area tenor was giving Puccini’s “Nessun dorma” aria every bit of breath he had, I ran into Alain de Cadenet—Alfa Romeo devotee, period and vintage racing driver, charismatic TV host and friend. I engaged the always well turned-out Alain in a lively stop-and-chat.
Worldly car guy that he is, I asked de Cadenet what he thought of the show. “The Quail, I have to say,” said Alain, “is probably the event that you don’t want to miss on the Peninsula. The Quail is definitely the place to be. There’s enough people here to make it obviously busy, but not so many people that you can’t move about, and every year they come up with great themes. Apart from the food and the drink, which is excellent, I think the setting is quite brilliant. When the sun comes out, which it does, it’s not too hot, not too cold. It’s just right, a bit like Goldilock’s porridge.”
So I then asked him where The Quail stands in this planet’s list of elite car gatherings. “Because it has racing,” said de Cadenet, “the Goodwood Revival has to be my favorite, but I would put this second to Goodwood.” When we talked about Goodwood—the intrepid Goodwood Revival is coming up in mid-September—de Cadenet said he’ll be driving a Ferrari GTO and Lancia D-50 Grand Prix car there.” How cool is that!
I moved on through the field, catching cars I’d missed in my first rounds, seeing more people I knew. Denise McCluggage was there, bringing her marvelous photographs in from homeland Santa Fe. Her shots of Phil Hill, from back in the day when she and Hill were racing, are outstanding. Other people were spotted as they milled among The Quail’s cars and motorcycles, vendor and sponsor booths—Jay Leno, Sir Stirling Moss and Lady Susie, Gordon Murray, Paul d’Orleans, David Sydorick, ultra-car guy Bruce Meyer, Vintage Motorsport magazine editor Randy Riggs, Bimmer magazine editor Jackie Jouret—and Dennis Glavis, the fervent Morgan dealer who’s made 21 trips to the factory, here with the new Morgan Aero Super Sports, one of about 100 produced. So many enthusiasts totally into “the hobby”, as this posh collector car life is again and again called.
“I love car people,” Gordon McCall said to me at one point. “I don’t want to term it a ‘hobby’ because I think that word gets over-used. It’s so much more than a hobby,” he said. “‘Passion’ has been over-used, too. It’s almost a—‘necessity!’ I don’t think any of us can help what we do.” We laughed about this, and I suggested calling it a constantly needed ‘fix’. We laughed even more at this declaration of truth. “We just can’t help ourselves!” said McCall, who besides running The Quail show puts on the week’s Motorworks Revival “Jet Party” at the Monterey Airport. The guy’s name should be McCar.
After checking out various period Porsches, Siatas, the Riverside International Raceway cars, pre-and-post war sports and racing cars, the Great Ferraris and more, the whole show formatted around entrants’ cars grouped by theme or type, I found myself back at the Ferrari Americas & Superamerica encampment speaking again with Wayne Obry, restorer of so many significant Ferraris that earn Concours awards on both sides of the Atlantic.
“Wayne,” I asked, “in a nutshell what goes into the restoration of these Ferraris, these multi-million dollar cars?” Obry smiled, drew a deep breath, and said, “Restoration, in my view, is a terminology that is the most misused in the automotive field. Everybody’s definition of a restoration will vary, either from their experience or their ideology, or something. In my view and in our company view being ‘in the business’ so to speak, the only true definition of a restoration is, in an automobile, for example—you take a car apart to the last screw, the last washer, the last wire, the last thing you can take off the car without using a torch or a chisel. Then you throw all the parts in a pile. Then you take each individual piece and part and you renew it, you rebuild it, you re-tune it, you build everything back together and put it back on the car. When the pile is gone the restoration is done. That is a restoration. And anybody in the business will also know that comparing Ferraris to other marques, and we also do other marques, the Jaguar pile is usually twice as big as the Ferrari pile.”