Pebble Beach 2009: Top 5 Cars at the Quail

by Alison Lakin, Associate Editor
The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, is one of the most exclusive anciliary events during the Pebble Beach weekend. If you can snag, er, afford to purchase an invite to the elegant and regularly sold out affair, you’ll be treated to an afternoon of delicious food and drink – and more importantly – a display of stunningly rare vintage racecars for you to peruse at your leisure.

Unlike the Concours, the Quail narrows its focus to include only motorsport cars - some of the finest in the world, and limits the guest list as to cull the crowds usually associated with Pebble Beach. Without the hustle and bustle, it's a more relaxed way to see the gorgeous automobiles. 

This year’s Quail upheld the racing theme by featuring displays celebrating the 30th anniversary of BMW’s motorsport division and the 50th anniversary of the Daytona Speedway. A tribute was also paid to racecar driver, Hans-Joachim Stuck, F1 racer, two-time winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Porsche and current motorsport representative for Volkswagen.

Choosing the most spectacular vehicle on the Quail green is like picking a favorite child, it can usually be done but you’ll hate yourself for having to make the choice. Alas someone has to do it, and so we bring you our top 5 cars at Quail 2009.

1948 Delahaye 135MS Cabriolet

1948 Delahaye Cabriolet
Our first contender from the green is the low-slung Delahaye Cabriolet, first built in 1934 during the rebound of the Great Depression. The gorgeous body holds within it a six-cylinder engine that displaces 3.2 liters to produce 125 hp - the same engine that helped the Delahaye record a one-two victory at the 1938 Le Mans. We happen think the 1948 model looks particularly nice in blue, don’t you?

1937 Bugatti 57S Atalante

1937 Bugatti 57S Atalante
The Atalante was named after the Greek goddess Atalanta, who was raised by bears and became a huntress. How that relates to a sport-tuned Bugatti, we’ll never know. What we are aware of is that this is a truly gorgeous and rare car. Just 17 of these lowered cars were built, and you can spot them by their single-piece windshield and lack of fin. That is, if you luck into spotting one at all.

1971 Lamborghini Miura SV

1971 Lamborghini Miura SV
Built between 1966 and 1972, the mid-engine Lamborghini Miura SV is the last and most famous Miura. This stunning example features a 385 hp four-liter V-12 engine, with its performance improved over other Miuras thanks to altered cam timing, bigger valves and addition of a split sump. That's all fine and dandy, but just look at the picture; it’s obvious why Frank Sinatra owned one of these.

1960 MGA Body Built "Savoy"

1960 MGA Body Built
This one-off MGA roadster was definitely one of the most unique cars in the field. The underpinnings are from a 1960 MGA, but Michael Pistol, a Roman art sculptor, created an entirely new exterior. This is exactly what we’re talking about when we say that classic cars as works of art – just in the literal sense. 

1939 Auto Union 3-Liter D-Type V-12 Grand Prix Racing Single

1939 Auto Union D-Type
One word: whoa. This Grand Prix racecar was one of the first to receive the two-stage supercharging treatment, bringing its output up to 485 hp. Not too shabby for 1939. We're surprised no one picked up this gem at Bonhams & Butterfields Quail auction. Perhaps it had something to with the $8 million price tag.

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