It takes a remarkable car to win Best of Show at The Quail, and that’s particularly true when the show field contains such machines as Phil Hill’s 1958 Le Mans-winning Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa.
But even impeccable race history wasn’t enough to draw attention from a rarely seen and truly captivating study of jet-era design from the collection of Anne Brockinton Lee.
The striking 1953 Lancia Aurelia PF200C Spider by Pinin Farina stole the show on 24 August, beating stiff competition from the aforementioned Ferrari of event chief Sir Michael Kadoorie and capturing the imagination of showgoers with its swooping lines and torpedo-shaped body.
The 1953 Geneva and Turin show car added to its tally of wins that began in the year of its creation with a Stesa International Concours Gran Premio d’Onore award, and more recently included class wins at the 2013 Concours d’Elegance of America, 2014 Amelia Island and 2015 Villa d’Este.
Lee proved a popular winner: “I’m delighted to be the thorn next to the beautiful Anne, the rose, whose late husband, Bob Lee, had a car here a number of years ago (winning in 2006 and 2012), and who came often as Anne is doing now,” said Kadoorie. “I’m delighted to see that you’ve won today.”
One of the most hotly contested classes was that for Post War Sports Cars 1961-’75, which contained a hugely varied selection of cars united by their top-level condition.
Among the entrants were a true concours-standard 1964 Triumph Spitfire 4, 1966 Sunbeam Tiger Mk1A and 1971 Mercedes-Benz 600 SWB – all correct down to the last nut and bolt – as well as a BMW Neue Klasse that had covered in excess of 500,000 miles and the bonkers 1971 Honda TN3 Super Deluxe of Clark Sopper.
Ultimately, the class was won by the 1966 Lamborghini 400GT of Robert Ross – winner earlier in the week of the Carmel-by-the-Sea Concours on the Avenue and roundly tipped to win the class by fellow entrants.
“The best word to describe driving it is 'luxurious',” said restorer Joseph Demeo. “But in a 1966 way!”
The project has been a labour of love for the music exec.
“I did it over the last two years,” says Demeo. “I cut my teeth in the Porsche world – I’ve three times won the Manhattan Trophy. Those people are at another level when it comes to detail and preparation!”
Meanwhile, the Great Ferraris class – which boasted a dazzling array of entrants including a 1949 166M Barchetta and 1957 500TRC – was won by the 1967 275 GTB/4 NART Spyder from the Rare Wheels Collection in Florida.
Also on show was the 1980 Ferrari Pinin of Dr Anthony Nobles from the US Virgin Islands.
The Quail paid homage to Lamborghini, with an enormous celebration of the Islero and Espada that contained 10 examples of each model – both of which turn 50 this year.
The winning 1969 car belonged to Dr Perry Mansfield from California, and was delivered new to Switzerland.
A fantastic array of Porsche-based machines from niche manufacturer Ruf brightened up the show field with a rainbow of colours.
The unquestionable star of the display – and the winner in many eyes before the results were even announced – was the 1988 CTR chassis #1 of local collector Bruce Meyer.
The car looked fantastic, fresh from a recent restoration, and had an excellent history, being the very car that was taken famously to 211mph in a test in Road & Track.
The 70th anniversary of Porsche was marked by a monster gathering of 356s of every type and variety, including early As, Bs and later Karmann Coupés.
Ultimate winner of the class was the 1951 Pre-A split window model of Mike Malamut.
Fitted with a 1500 Super engine, the car was the 1111th Porsche built and picked up Best in Class at the Hilton Head Island Concours d’Elegance.
With the stunning Lancia Aurelia prototype out of the running, having won the top gong, the path was clear for the former Le Mans 1981 Lancia Beta Monte Carlo Turbo to take the class win. The car finished first in class at La Sarthe in 1981, and eighth overall.
One of the best things about The Quail – beyond the exceptional standard of cars on show – is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously.
That sense of humour was summed up by the winner of this year’s Spirit of The Quail award, a life-size recreation of the 1/16 scale Tamiya Sand Scorcher radio-controlled car, which was presented alongside a control set.
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