The Land Rover school's still plugging away, and the golf course still swings. But the Quail Lodge itself is closed for business--a victim of a decade of losses that don't seem to have had any effect on the jewelry-rattlers that gather annually at The Quail, the eponymous classic-car concours that takes place each year on the resort's grounds.

Officially known as a "motorsports gathering," The Quail lures in a very select group of attendees at $450 a ticket, limited to 3,000 guests in all. With some 150 cars on display, it's a compact show, a 30-minute loop if you're uninvolved. But once you've arrived--by unconventional means, like a helicopter, or by conventional means, through inheritance--The Quail merits most of the day, if not only for the cars, but for the ample opportunity to lunch from a global menu, shop for ultimate watches and jewelry, and perhaps, commission an automaker to build a one-off instant classic from its sensational new supercar.

This year The Quail's honored marques were relative rarities, but a trio of world firsts turned the grounds into fine hunting grounds. First up: the new and the old SUVs from Lamborghini.

The Lamborghini Urus conceptisn't news to MotorAuthority fans anymore, since we brought you details of the new SUV earlier this year from Detroit. No new information came from the North American concept premiere at The Quail, but CEO Stephan Winkelmann reiterated that the concept promises great potential in some emerging markets, like China and Russia, as well as the U.S. The production version isn't expected until 2015 at the earliest, when it will join a new family of VW Group utes, including the Audi Q7, VW Touareg, Porsche Cayenne, and the upcoming Bentley SUV.

Not far away from the Urus, collector Bob Cuevas displayed his 1990 Lamborghini LM 002, the brand's first SUV. The HUMMER-like LM--the "Rambo Lambo"--was built from 1986 to 1993 and was designed for military applications, but those versions never were built.


The McLaren X-1 takes the MP4-12C supercar and reimagines its stunning performance in a styling envelope that spans at least a few decades. We see cues of the "bullet" Thunderbirds in the details of this coachbuilt exotic, commissioned nearly from the start of the latest McLaren project and the result of a one-on-one collaboration with the unnamed owner. The working theme of a “timeless and classically elegant” design is most evident in the chrome arrows that run from the front end through the shoulder line, and the wide flares of the rear wheels. McLaren execs confirm at least three design studios were involved in the project--and that they're capable of doing two overlapping custom projects at a time.

The Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse Special Edition marks yet another year in which a sizable chunk of The Quail's grounds were occupied by the French exotic brand. A blue-and-white paint scheme mirrors that of the first Bugatti Type 37A, but the price tag of $2.3 million isn't at all inspired by heritage. With an unchanged powertrain, the Grand Vitesse still reaches for a 0-60 mph time of 2.6 seconds and a top speed of 255 mph.

This in-progress Bugatti Type 64 Coupe was the last vehicle worked on by Jean Bugatti, before his death in 1939 in a crash of his Type 57 race car. The reconstruction of the car is proceeding on a known chassis number, but with all-new bodywork. And as the Quail display underscores, the hand-formed panels alone in such a project require incredible craftsmanship--down to the wooden panel form alone.

This ravishing red 1921 Alfa Romeo 6330cc Model G1 Sports Roadster typifies the well-preserved antique car. The details, from the wooden trim to the mirrored finish on the logos on the rear quarters, are as highly polished as the pounds upon pounds of chrome applied to this gargantuan machine. It's owned by Neville Crichton of Australia.

1973 Iso Lele

1973 Iso Lele

The 1973 Iso Lele isn't here for any special reason, not even the Iso brand being one of The Quail's honored marques. But it is brown, and that counts for almost everything. The 2+2 coupe shared the Grifo's V-8 and GM-sourced automatic, and Bertone's briskly spare form still looks modern at the brink of its 40th birthday.

This charming 1956 Fiat Eden Roc is owned by Bill Cord of California. Built for the Agnelli family, Fiat's founders, its highest and best use was to cart the family around their French villa at the Cap d'Antibes--which explains the water-resistant teak interior. Or perhaps it's just prosecco-proof.


Rich Slevin of Los Altos Hills, California, owns this lovely robin's-egg blue 1954 Arnolt Bristol Bolide,a  stripped-down sports car built in small batches for Chicago industrialist Stanley Arnolt. A hash of a sportscar -- a Bristol chassis, a BMW in-line six with 132 horsepower, a body by Bertone--is one of only 139 copies built, and is said to be raced extensively.

Not all of the gems at The Quail are found on display, though. The parking area, on the golf course's greens, is almost a car show unto itself. Scattered between the Venzas and X5s and the occasional 911 are real gems, some left nonchalantly for public worship. It's a most satisfying finish to the long as you can find your car, that is.

The Quail 2012

The Quail 2012