Forget fish and chips, catering burgers and dodgy doughnuts, at the Quail Lodge Motorsports Gathering people queue for caviar and oysters. It as all free though to be fair. Well, when I say ‘free’ each of the people present has parted with the sum of $500 to gain entrance. Once in the gate however no money changes hands for food. So, if you’re prepared to down half your body weight in fish eggs and bivalve molluscs then you’re getting decent value. Actually, that’s not really fair because the standard and variety of cars on display beggars belief.
Now in its 12th year, the Motorsports Gathering is essentially a place for the acutely well-heeled to congregate, eat and drink extremely well, raise a fair old chunk of change for various selected charities and fawn over the finest examples of some of the finest and rarest cars ever to have been nailed together.
Some of the cars on display you’d expect to see at such an event; several Mercedes Benz 300SLs, an extremely early flat-floor E-Type complete with external bonnet releases, an Alfa Romeo 6C (the red lenses by the way were to protect the headlights during the Mille Miglia), various delectable Bugattis, and a raft of Maseratis celebrating the marque’s centenary;. But how about a Ruxton Model C, Porsche ‘Pupulidy’ Spyder, Stutz DV32 Boat Tail, or the wonderfully-named 1917 La Bestioni Rusty One?
The packed show area (most of which is one of the fairways and putting greens at the Quail Lodge Golf Resort) buzzes all day to the sound of chinking champagne flutes and conversations about provenance, how much the next Ferrari GTO will sell for at auction and why the Bonhams GTO didn’t quite reach the stratospheric levels some expected it to, despite setting a new record.
As the afternoon wears on the well-heeled become well-refreshed and in some cases well-sunburned, luminaries like Nick Mason take part in a ‘fireside chat’ on the stage to discuss cars, bikes, why Americans tended to over-chrome Bugattis, and how the British were no better by putting 4.5 litre engines into 3.5 litre Bentley chassis. It’s all very pleasant indeed and occasionally wonderfully noisey when cars are started-up to the warm appreciation of the crowd.
Eventually it was time to go, having failed to eat my body weight in oysters and reflect on one of the most incredible selections of cars I’ve ever seen. Enjoy the gallery.