The Quail Motorcycle Gathering, now in its eighth year, has quickly established itself as the quintessential vintage motorcycle show. Every spring, the Quail Lodge and Golf Club graciously welcomes 400 beautiful examples from motorcycling’s more than 100-year history onto the perfectly manicured grass of the 18th fairway to be admired in a setting properly fitting their illustrious personas. The location of the event, the upscale environs of Carmel Valley, Calif., establishes a distinct air of sophistication.
Ironically, the event is just 40 miles from the town of Hollister, which earned itself an infamous place in motorcycle history in 1947 when the town hosted a biker rally that erupted into sensationalistic headlines in LIFE magazine, inspiring the movie The Wild One (1953) and effectively painting motorcyclists as trouble. Close to 70 years on, The Quail—as it’s affectionately known—is a far cry from that image.
Organizers of The Quail achieve an interesting balance with regard to their choice of machines, carefully showcasing the myriad design and technical advances that have taken place over the years. The Quail’s presentation provides a provocative mix of machines from a multitude of disciplines: racing, touring, on and off-road, small displacement, large displacement, American, Japanese, European, experimental (successful and not so), and the ever-entertaining customs. At its core, The Quail is an opportunity to immerse oneself in a stroll through a metallurgical celebration of all things two-wheeled.