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Quail motorsports gathering

California's Quail motorsports gathering through the eyes of Jaguar design director Ian Callum, with huge picture gallery

Just 48 hours before the world famous Pebble Beach concours commences, a lesser-known but arguably even more exclusive automotive pilgrimage takes place.  A few miles down the road from Pebble Beach in Carmel, California Quail is also held on the grounds of a golf course, but this is a far more laid back event, with strictly limited entries (tickets are 400 US dollars per head, which includes an oyster lunch or something) and a wider spectrum and age range of cars.  Now in its ninth year, this Quail celebrated 50 years of Phil Hill’s Formula One World Drivers’ Championship and Jag’s E-type hitting the half century. The calibre of vehicles was exceptional, and because entries were limited to 150 there was plenty of time to drink in each vehicle. I had a walk-about with Jag Director of Design Ian Callum to see what ticked his boxes (clue: it wasn’t the 10 Veyrons).  These are what Ian liked best, and why... ‘50s BENTLEY MULLINER FASTBACK COUPE‘Wonderful coachline pinstriping. You know the first thing I did when I joined Jag in Sept ’99? I stopped the coachline on the XJ (X308). It annoyed a few people, especially the man who painted them – but it immediately put a message out…’ 1965 AC SHELBY COBRA 289‘That mile deep black paint is to die for. Reminds me of my ’32 Ford rod. A lovely simple balanced car. The wide-bodied big block models are too brash for me. This is pure. The 289 (cubic inch) is more palatable than the bigger ones.’ PORSCHE 356 ‘It looks like it just drapes to the floor. The 356 shape has total form. I love the Beetle, the feeling of the gear linkage, the simplicity and honesty. The 356 is the same family. I’m seriously thinking of buying one’. 1957 CORVETTE fuel injection‘A real cartoon characature car – and I mean that in a good way. Look at the way the body rolls down into the seats. The interior has pods not seats. The exhausts exiting out the bumpers. It’s all just rockets – symbolising that ‘we’re all going to the moon and no-one’s gonna stop us’ age of optimum.  ’65 SHELBY MUSTANG GT350 (early steel wheel 289 car)‘Maybe I’m being biased because I used to work at Ford! The shape of the first gen Mustang’s pouting grille is so purposeful. So typically ‘60s.  BAJA BOOT HURST BUGGY (ex Steve McQueen)‘I first saw this outside my flat in Queengate, London, 1978. I’m sure it was this, if not a bloody good replica. Such thick gauge steel chassis, with a brutal Weber injected V8 out back.’

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From Evoques to Siatas, Quail cast its automotive net far. Highlights? Veyron AC-DC’s Brian Johnson passing in a snarling Can-Am car. And seeing how ludicrously wide the arches are on Paul Newman’s 1985 Nissan 300ZX that he won several SCCA GT-1 championships in. The 3.0-litre single turbo was reputedly a bit of an animal. Visit www.quaillodgeevents.com/pages/thequail.cgi

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