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Pebble Beach 2015: Rare elegance at the Quail

Pebble Beach 2015: Rare elegance at the Quail
Vintage vehicles get center stage at the Quail, an invitation-only annual Monterey Car Week event. (Don Kelsen / Los Angeles Times)

At any other time of the year, Quail Lodge and Golf Club is one of Carmel's finest links.

But during Monterey Car Week, the fairways and greens are transformed into a bright automotive palette, where women in big hats and men in bold pants wander through a collection of the world's most beautiful new and vintage automobiles.

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This year's Quail gathering featured Ferraris new and old, including a cute covey of "The Great Ferraris," curated in part by Los Angeles watch magnate David Lee. Other historics included a fine collection of vintage Moto Guzzi motorcycles, and such rarities as a 1955 Ford Comete -- a luxury sedan built only for the European market.

Surrounding the vintage vehicles were platforms, tents and pavilions put up by the real sponsors of the annual event -- the new car companies, representing the best of the best in automotive arts, or at least the most expensive.

Rolls Royce was well represented, as were Porsche, Jaguar, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini and others.

Car connoisseurs who had plunked down $600 for an entry ticket to the invitation-only, one-day event sipped Mint Juleps and Manhattans and mingled with racing legends -- drivers Stirling Moss and Jackie Stewart among them.

The faithful had endured greater hardships even than the price of admission: The narrow, two-lane roads leading into and out of the Carmel Valley location were jammed. Some auto executives reported a 90-minute trip from their hotels in Monterey or Pebble Beach -- less than 20 miles away.

But all was forgiven by midday, when the Quail was in full swing. The sun was out and driving the temperature to an uncharacteristic 80 degrees. By the time motoring enthusiast and former late-night TV host Jay Leno arrived, leading a pack of historic Shelby GT Fords under California Highway Patrol escort, the traffic and high temperature was forgotten.

Twitter: @misterfleming

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