On his way to a May memorial service for the late Carroll Shelby, Gordon McCall reflected on the race legend’s 2010 appearance at The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering. The Shelby Cobra creator, sharing the stage with auto writer and photographer Winston Goodfellow, was open about his life and career.
“He just was talking from the heart,” says McCall, who co-founded The Quail with Sir Michael Kadoorie of The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited. “The fact that we were able to do that while he was healthy and with us, we’re really proud of that.”
Shelby’s appearance is among McCall’s favorite memories from the first decade of The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering. The automobile event’s tenth presentation takes place this August 17, with proceeds benefitting the California Highway Patrol 11-99 Foundation.
McCall was coming off more than 25 years as a Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance class judge and field coordinator when he and Kadoorie launched The Quail. By capping ticket sales at 3,000 and offering a lifestyle component, the founders differentiated their event from other August car happenings. The goal is to treat every attendee as a VIP, explains McCall.
“You can eat your way through the day and drink your way through the day and everyone is on the same level. There’s no preferential treatment,” he says.
Entrance to The Quail includes all car and motorcycle displays plus wine and food at five culinary stations. Guests can shop for fine jewelry, browse auto memorabilia or tackle offroad trails with the Land Rover Experience Driving School. For its tenth anniversary, The Quail will celebrate 50 years of Iso Automobili. Special guests include Piero Rivolta, author and former managing director of Iso Rivolta, and Goodfellow returns this year, as well. The 2012 event poster honors the event’s pre-war Alfa Romeo class with an image of a 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Touring Spyder, and other classes cover sports and racing motorcycles, revolutionary designs, FIVA preservation models and more.
The two-day Bonhams auction, part of The Quail since its beginning, moves to a larger venue on this year’s grounds. Watches, jewelry and auto memorabilia are up for sale, along with an ex-GTC Gulf Team Davidoff 1997 McLaren F1 GTR ‘Longtail’ FIA GT Endurance Racing Coupe, a 1966 Ford GT40 and more than 100 other significant cars and motorcycles.
Bonhams collector motorcars specialist David Swig calls The Quail one of the most exclusive events of Monterey’s Classic Car Week.
“You get the feeling that the exhibits and the individual cars selected for display have really been curated,” he says.
Organizers do choose cars carefully, so that that the focus is on the vehicles rather than the judging process during the actual event. “We’re very selective,” says McCall. “We do all that on the front end, so that on the day of, it’s a big garden party. Everyone has a great time.”
When The Quail wraps up, the best of show winner goes on to compete for the Louis Vuitton Classic Concours Award. And McCall, who also hosts the annual Motorworks Revival at the Monterey Jet Center, will eventually make his way to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The annual tradition is partly a gift to himself—the Carmel native’s August birthday often falls within a few days of his events—and also part of a lifelong tradition.
“When I’m finished with my obligations and commitments, being able to go out to the racetrack and just enjoy racing as a spectator reminds me of being a kid,” he says.
Racing also reminds McCall of another favorite moment from The Quail: watching driver and builder Dan Gurney on the show field, surrounded by an exhibition of his own cars.
“I went over and sat next to him. As a car guy, it was humbling to listen to what he said about how much it meant to him to be recognized. That, to me, is the heart and soul and spirit of The Quail,” McCall says. “It’s got nothing to do with us—it’s got everything to do with trying to create special experiences for people.
The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, takes place at Quail Lodge Golf Club from 10am to 4pm on Friday, Aug. 17. Tickets, available at www.quaillodgetickets.com, are $450/person and $100/children ages 12 and under. For additional event information, please visitwww.quaillodgeevents.com or call 831/620-8887.