Dan Watkins and the Bertone Mantide

Dan WatkinsDan Watkins is living my dream! And he is such a nice guy that I am not the slightest bit upset. How does he do that?!

He begins with a huge advantage; he is a genuinely nice man. He has a lovely wife and kids, treats his Mum like a queen, has enough money to make dreams come true, is generous to friends and is not a bit pretentious. I have no illusions; I'm simply not that good.

Dan is showing two cars this weekend. His recently acquired McLaren F1 is on display at the The Quail, a Motorsports Gathering on Friday. Let's talk about The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering. It focuses on classic sports and GT cars and is unquestionably the most exclusive show on the peninsula. Read: limited access.

I enjoy a good Gathering as much as the next man. I saunter to the entry table, flash the smile that has opened doors in service stations lavatories around the world and request a Press Pass as your MMR correspondent. There are tears in the poor woman's eyes as they take her away for oxygen and a sedative. I am told she hasn't laughed that hard since her wedding night. Slightly shaken, but not stirring, I continue grinning inanely and stammer that I have come from Boston to see the show. "Boston" hits a cord with the replacement lady. She softens perceptibly and asks me if I know Dan Watkins? I smile a little smile and whisper that I am his brother, separated at birth by pirates, but here to embrace him for life. (Parts of that are not true) She looks me up and down and says: "You cannot be his brother, he is such a nice man".

Pebble Beach on Sunday.

Dan is actually a serious Ferrari collector and an active Ferrari Challenge race driver. He and three of his friends drove four of his cars from Boston to California and had a ball doing it. That's sharing.

Dan Watkins

Dan's other car here is the first Mantide (pronounced Manteeday and meaning Mantis in Italian), designed by the Bertone Italian styling studio, and built on a Corvette ZR-1 chassis. The car is incredible in every sense and is being displayed on the green behind the clubhouse with other concept vehicles. Dan is there with its designer Jason Castriota. Jason is a very nice young man from America whose first stunning design, the Ferrari P4/5 for Pinninfarina was shown on this same piece of turf in 2006. Dan and Jason are standing by the car answering questions for press and fans. Dan tells me that the guys at TOP GEAR will be testing the car on their show in the near future. This is pretty exciting stuff. And Dan, ever the true enthusiast, is pretty excited about it too.

It's nice when nice things happen to nice people?