The Quail 2016: Unrestored Ferrari leaves Miuras in dust

The Friday is the day of The Quail, the peninsula’s most refined and exclusive event. The Quail is more than just a motor show. It is also a wonderful, glittering, high-society event with fantastic theme-based restaurants, rich sponsors and, of course, amazing classic cars. The venue is the Peninsula Hotel, and this in itself is enough to give an idea of the caliber of this show, and of the quality and taste of the wonderful food and champagne that is served throughout the day. To win the Best in Show at The Quail is one of the greatest achievements a collector can aspire to; moreover, the winner can then run for the “Best of the Best” award, open to the winners of the most important concours. After a magical day at The Quail 2016, there was just one minor hiccup: the now legendary traffic jam on leaving the event, as classics, modern cars and supercars spent a couple of hours crawling along in the boiling heat to cover the mile to the exit.

The Quail 2016: Best in Show

The Best in Show of The Quail 2016 went to a European car, the incredible, original 1953 Ferrari 375 MM Pinin Farina Spyder belonging to Austrian collector Andreas Mohringer. Of the nine built, this car is the only unrestored 375 MM Pinin Farina Spyder in existence, and it boasts a long American history. Delivered new to Bill Spear in the USA, the owner lost no time in racing it, with Phil Hill at the wheel, in the 1954 Sebring 24 Hours. Many races and victories followed before the car was retired in 1973. For the next 40 years it was kept in storage, before being purchased by its current owner, Mohringer. He had famous restorer Paul Russell check the car over and give it a good maintenance, but not a restoration, in order to get it, still perfectly original, into good mechanical shape. The fact that the Best in Show award at this important event went to an unrestored car like this one may be taken as a clear sign that, nowadays, preserved cars are increasingly judged according to parameters that also include the history of the car, for which there is considerable respect. Indeed, “marks of time”, if well documented and presented, are no longer something that might count against a car and need to be concealed.

1967 Lamborghini Miura P 400

One car that stole many hearts at The Quail 2016 (also in a good state of preservation, although less prepared and, in certain areas, almost neglected) was a very original 1967 Lamborghini Miura P400 in Rosso Miura. The car (chassis #3078) is a very early one, the 46th built, and today, after a very long-term ownership, it remains, with regard to most of its components, absolutely original. According to the Lamborghini archive the car was shipped new to France, although apparently it was not long before it crossed the Atlantic, to General Motors, which intended to use it as a case study for engineers and designers. Unfortunately the original air filters and some other details have been removed or tampered with, and the appeal of the car would undoubtedly increase with careful cleaning and detailing, but it nevertheless remains a very important historical specimen as many of its details show us what the early Miuras were really like. It was shown together with 25 other Miuras — this is probably a world record — in a class specially created to celebrate the 50 years since the unveiling of the car that forced journalists to invent a new term: the “supercar”.

1935 Bugatti 59/50S

Alongside a stream of modern Bugatti Veyrons — 18 in all — and one Chiron, there was also a wonderful looking, and sounding, 1935 Bugatti 59/50S, brought to the event by American collector Gregory S. Jones. The car (chassis #2), driven by Benoist during the 1935 Grand Prix season, has a 4.9-liter twin cam, dry sump engine equipped with three Zenith 48K carburetors and an XL supercharger. This is the car whose engine hood once blew off during a race, as documented in a famous series of pictures. To survive the war the car was dismantled and its parts hidden. In the 1960s it was put back together using parts from the original car and others from different cars, such as the engine (number 8), the rear axle and the transmission (each number 4), while the body was remade from scratch.

1964 Shelby Cobra 289

Chassis #CSX 2171 was sold new to E.U. Jacobs and included the rare option of a luggage rack, a removable hard top and fog lights. In 1969 the new owner bought it and drove it for nearly a decade. In 1978 the car was retired and hidden away behind a wall, where it remained until 2007. Sold soon after its rediscovery, it entered the collection of its present owner who has kept it in its original condition.

1974 Lancia Stratos Gruppo 4

A few months ago, in Biella, we had the opportunity to see 46 Stratos during the meeting organized by the local club (and some more pics of the Stratos Meeting). The car shown at The Quail 2016, a 1974 Gruppo 4, was present at that meeting and shortly afterwards was shipped to California, to the home of Mark and Allison Ketchman. In its time, this car was raced in Italy, being owned and used by industrialist Roberto Mervic from Gorizia. It remained competitive until the early 1980s.

1956 Jaguar XK 140 FHC

This 1956 Jaguar XK 140 FHC (chassis #15198DN), purchased new by King Hussein of Jordan and prepared by the works competition department, was one of the most admired cars at The Quail. It was given as a gift to Major Hunts, an RAF pilot, for services to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and now, after a comprehensive restoration, it looks absolutely stunning. The car’s date of manufacture is November 15th, 1955, and it has just undergone a 10-year restoration.


All pics courtesy of the author.

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