All Revved Up: Gordon McCall Talks Pebble Beach Car Events

Gordon McCall Credit: McCall Events

When the winner of this year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance crosses the 18th green on Sunday, August 21, it wraps up a week of high-profile events and auctions that draw car collectors, enthusiasts, designers and drivers from around the globe.

Gordon McCall is the man behind two of the week’s most exclusive gatherings: the McCall Motorworks Revival, at the Monterey Jet Center, and The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, held at the Quail Lodge Golf Club.

McCall and his wife, Molly, held the first Motorworks Revival (commonly called the Jet Center Party) in 1992. The hot-ticket event raises money for the California Highway Patrol 11-99 Foundation, and serves as the unofficial car week kick-off.

While the initial goal was to feature rare vehicles, McCall’s big-picture approach quickly boosted the Jet Center Party’s popularity. Each year, his team transforms the Monterey Jet Center into a sparkling showplace for automobiles, motorcycles and private jets, plus luxury goods and fine cuisine.

“It’s amazing how many of these car collectors are into vintage and modern-day aircraft. It’s how they travel,” says McCall.

He describes The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, as an expanded daytime version of the Motorworks Revival.

“It was important to me to reframe the approach to a car show,” he explains. “I wanted to have the cars be almost secondary. It’s as if you went to a four-star restaurant and a car show broke out.”

Indeed, with champagne, caviar, martinis, jewelry displays and a Bonhams & Butterfields auction among the day’s highlights, The Quail is an unparalleled, all-inclusive experience. Of course, the automobiles also are world class – in fact, the event’s the Best of Show champion competes against winners of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance and others for the Louis Vuitton Classic Concours Award.

Even with that prestige, McCall maintains that his get-togethers are about more than vehicles.

“What has evolved is the camaraderie…you’re in an environment where you can just drop your guard and be yourself and talk about what you’re interested in,” he says. “The cars are the common denominator. It’s really the people that make the event what it is.”

The 2011 McCall Motorworks Revival ( takes place Wed., August 17, at the Monterey Jet Center. The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering ( comes to the Quail Lodge Golf Club on Friday, Aug. 19.

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