Here’s How Ultra-Rich Car Enthusiasts Mod and Option Cars: Tales From the Quail 2022

While the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance hosts beautifully preserved historic cars, The Quail is more about modifications and innovations from high-end manufacturers.
Andrew P. Collins

The Quail: A Motorsports Gathering is one of the most absurdly fancy automotive events at Car Week. If you couldn’t come out to Monterey, California, this year or didn’t want to drop the bills on a ticket (they’re sold through a lottery and cost hundreds of dollars) here’s a rundown of the most interesting mods and machines at the 2022 Quail for your appreciate and inspiration.

I’m told this show used to be more of a simple owner’s gathering, but today it’s a full-on industry party with elite outfits like Bugatti, Koenigsegg, Porsche, Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Lamborghini, and Pagani showing off their latest unobtanium to the few folks who can actually afford such cars. Smaller shops like Ruf, Singer, and Gunther Werks (which built new sports cars in the shape of old Porsches), and supercar company Czinger were there, too. EV specialists Lucid and Rimac were also in the mix with their most high-performance vehicles.

Representing the more mainstream side of the biz, Acura had a big stand drumming up hype for its new EV SUV concept (and handing out cute parasols) and Kia had an EV6 GT on display.

But as cool as I think Kia’s new electric performance car is, my main interest at the 2022 Quail was to spot the design trends, accessorization, modifications, and customization choices of car enthusiasts with behemoth budgets. Take a little tour with me and maybe you’ll get some ideas on new stuff to do with your own car.

O’Gara Coach is a super-fancy car dealer in the Los Angeles area selling all kinds of supercars and hypercars, plus even more exotic custom cars like the handful here. That green Ferrari was presented by an outfit called GTO Engineering. A big part of what that company does is essentially remake old Ferraris as new again through comprehensive restoration, but I just wanted to share the interior of its racing car there because I really liked how neat and tidy the fuse box is.

The orange McLaren has been modified by a company called Lanzante, featuring extra aero bits, but I found myself much more compelled to look at the blue Lancia and red Alfa Romeo restomod builds, by companies Kimera Automobili and Totem Automobili, respectively. Check out that plush blue interior on the Kimera—what a vibe. It looked distinctly 1980s with the red numbers on the gauges, but altogether unique and distinctive. It was so popular that I couldn’t even get a picture of it without somebody’s leg in the way.

The interior on the Totem Alfa was wild, too. That’s the black and carbon one in the gallery above—take a close look at the different textures in the floor, I’d never seen anything quite like it. Another feature of that car’s interior I found interesting was a little illustrative depiction of the suspension dampening rate on a cap over the rear shock towers. You can see that in the gallery also, along with the cloth patterning on the rear deck and doors that kind of look like crop rows made of a rug.

Finally, in the engine bay of the Totem, those little portals appear to be on a valve cover. I guess it could be fun to watch the top of your engine ticking while you’re parked up at a cars and coffee event.

This pair of modded luxury SUVs (Merc G-Wagen in white and Rolls-Royce Cullinan in black) look straight out of Los Santos Customs in the Grand Theft Auto 5 universe. I’m not going to say I was particularly enamored with them but I did think the G’s grille treatment seemed creative. And if you were wondering what a Rolls would look like with a widebody kit, wonder no more.

The fade design on this Mercedes-AMG GT is cool, but I especially like how the teal accents call back to the color scheme of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team.

While we’re talking about teal, I saw it used as a decorative accent color enough times that I’m ready to call it a trend in high-end car tuning right now. Lexus had a modified sedan at its both in white with teal accents, McLaren had a car with some really cool teal treatments including the color only on the underside of its retractable wing, plus the new McLaren Artura was on display with, you guessed it, teal brake calipers.

I’ve been thinking about painting my Honda’s brake calipers teal for a while—I was first inspired by the Japanese tuner Project Mu which has been using the color for years. But seeing this McLaren convinced me I should go for it when I get inspired to pull my wheels off again.

Before we turn our attention away from that Artura, check out the silver striping on the hood and body. “Don’t let the engineers hear you call it a graphics kit,” one of the company’s reps told me while I was admiring it. “It’s paint!” Of course it is—foolish of me to assume fancy designs would be done in vinyl at this level.

I still don’t know what to make of present-day Hispano Suiza, but the purple carbon fiber body of this Carmen Boulogne electric car is wild. This exact vehicle is apparently the first of its kind to be delivered to a customer in the United States.

Andrew Collins

The $700,000 Volvo P1800 restomod by Cyan Racing has been around for some time already, but I still wanted to call out the cool way the stripe terminates with the brand name on the hood.

I really love seeing national flags worked into car designs and apparently so does Pagani. The Italian outfit had a bunch of vehicles with the green, white, and red of Italy’s flag worked into its colorway. I especially liked the way one of its vehicles tied its wheel coloring into small accents on the splitter, and how another had a racing number on the supporting mount of its rear wing.

The technological marvels of Porsche’s new GT3 RS have been discussed extensively but I simply wanted to highlight the emblem treatment, which has gone retro. The inverted coloring of “GT3” and “RS” on the back calls back to a look Porsche used on much earlier RS cars, one of which was also found on the Quail lawn this year.

Legendary Porsche modification company Ruf probably had the best tent-size-to-admiring-fans ratio of any company at the Quail. It showed up with a crappy little canvas tent and just two cars, but both were almost impossible to get decent photos of because people wouldn’t stop climbing all over them. That roofless one, the Bergmeister, made its debut at this event and looks extremely cool but I just want to call out how well the interior colorways of both these cars flow with their exterior accents.

I guess if you’re going to build a car with no roof at all, the interior and exterior are effectively the same place. But the way the green stripe and green gingham interior insets go together on the Bergmeister here is really nice.

If you’ve got a smaller car and are looking for more cargo space—have you considered wicker?

I was drawn over to this restomod Porsche 911 by the cute little pig on the fender, which is a fun mashup callback to both the classic “Pink Pig” racing livery and the Mobil Oil Pegasus you often see in that spot on historic Porsche race cars. The interior is less whimsical but wonderfully creative. Not only are those custom door cards really interesting to look at, but check out that carpeting and how many colors are involved in the seats. It’s a subtly complicated design, but I really think it works.

The vehicle is the Tuthill Porsche 911K. I’m ashamed to say I somehow failed to get a good photo of the whole car’s exterior but you can find out more about it on the Tuthill site.

Check out the way this Rolls-Royce uses a third color (pink) to accent its two-tone (black and grey) exterior. Look closely and you’ll also notice that the black chunk in the center is actually flanked by tiny extra black stripes, and then the whole deal pops just a little more with that pink line. I’m not sure I like the way those three colors are carried into the interior, but the outside look is very cool.

The mint green car isn’t quite as distinctive, but I did want to share the unique interior color which looked, to me, to be just barely not-white. I couldn’t really tell if my eyes were playing tricks on me due to its proximity to the exterior color or if the leather is indeed the color of a tasty-looking cake frosting. I noticed for the first time that the Rolls-Royce emblem is integrated into the inside of the rear door of this car, which I thought you might find interesting.

Seeing Gordon Murray’s T.50 in person made me realize how similar it really is to the McLaren F1 he’s also credited with designing—the three-seat interior setup is basically the same. I’m sharing it here just to point out the orange and tan color combo, which I’d never seen before.

These old Porsches prove you don’t need to do a safari build to have headlight cages look good. It’s just a practical move.

For those of you who are looking to make a weight reduction—have you thought about removing the seats and just sitting in a little trough of riveted aluminum? Hah, kidding of course—forget crash survivability, I’d be scared to even sit in that 1967 Shelby American King Cobra race car after it’d been parked in the sun for a few hours. It looked very hot.

Finally, I’ve saved the weirdest car I saw at The Quail 2022 for last. What you’re looking at is a 1916 American LaFrance, famously modded by Gary Wales as a bizarre alternate-universe Batmobile. A brief Forbes profile of the car from 2016 gives you just a little more context: “…in the past decade Wales found a crazy niche: converting broken and discarded pre-World War One American LaFrance and Seagrave fire trucks into colossal two-seaters, cars with personalities almost as large as Gary’s.” I’m sorry to say I didn’t get to meet Mr. Wales, but he sure sounds like a character.

There were quite a few eccentric-looking characters, cute lap dogs, caviar buffets, and of course more cars I ran out of time to document but I hope you enjoyed this little peek into the one-percenter car party that is The Quail. As you might imagine, even the spectator parking lot was full of more exotics than most people see in years. It’s the only place I’ve seen multiple Ferrari F40s and Porsche Carerra GTs just sitting around in a field among crossover SUVs and other normal modes of transportation.

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