60th anniversary at home and in style
The Maranello marque's sixtieth birthday celebrations held in its home town from June 22nd to 24th did not disappoint and centred on a major concours d'elegance in the grounds of Ferrari SpA's Fiorano test track adjacent to the factory.
Sunshine and intense heat marked the event which saw all eras of those six decades present, not only in terms of the cars in attendance, which ranged from 166 Barchettas to FXXs and even a mock up of a thousand kilo, scaled down Enzo test mule, but also in an eclectic mix of attendants encompassing grand old men of Ferrari history such as Jacques Swaters, Sergio Scaglietti, Nino Vaccarella, David Piper and veteran collector Albert Obrist to more recent arrivals on the classic Ferrari scene including several dotcom collectors, the new importers for South Korea and Saudi Arabia and even representatives of the Abu Dhabi Yas Island development where the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will take place.
Left: A beautiful 14 louvre model heads the Tour de France berlinetta line-up.
Right: DIY Enzo on display at the charity auction.
The board of Ferrari was of course out in force with President Luca Cordero di Montezemolo followed everywhere by a flock of tifosi like a movie star, Jean Todt with fiancée actress Michelle Yeoh, Piero Ferrari with grandson Enzo Jr, Dany Bahar, Ferrari's new global brand manager and Antonio Ghini, head of communication. The real stars, of course, were the Ferrari drivers past and present who arrived to applause like the George Clooney and Brad Pitt posse at the Cannes Film Festival. Led by Michael Schumacher, they included current team mates Felipe Massa, Kimi Raikkonen and Luca Badoer, accompanied by Jean Alesi, Eddie Irvine, Ivan Capelli, Gerhard Berger, Rene Arnoux, Andrea de Adamich, Jonathan Williams, Bob Bondurant, Gino Munaron and former F1 World Champions Niki Lauda and Jody Scheckter. At least one foreign president was spotted as well, although his entourage was noticeably smaller than Montezemolo's.
Left:"It's truly a unique opportunity, esteemed Madam...".
Right: "Take your pen back before I call security".
The opening highlight on Friday evening was a parade of Ferraris in Modena's Piazza Grande near the Duomo, the historic Cathedral which marks the centre of the old city. This proved very popular with enthusiastic locals and tourists alike.
Saturday morning saw the formal arrival of the Ferrari 60 relay at Fiorano complete with the distinctive batons decorated with miniature shields depicting Ferrari's F1 victories through six decades. The relay had begun in Abu Dhabi and toured the world, stopping in all major Ferrari markets and various exotic locales not accustomed to the passage of any Ferrari, let alone entire convoys of them.
Left: Fiorano's answer to the Rat Pack : Massa, Raikkonen and Schumi.
Right: 'La Famiglia'.
This was followed by a drive-by at the circuit of the cars to be displayed and judged in the following day's concours d'elegance, before an F1 demonstration in which Felipe Massa showed some Brazilian spirit by way of a copious serving of smoky doughnuts.
A charity auction rounded off the afternoon in which unique artworks from all the countries visited by the relay and created as gifts to Ferrari on the occasion of the Ferrari 60 relay were sold to benefit two local children's hospitals.
A cocktail and dinner for the participants on the grounds of the Fiorano track concluded Saturday's celebrations. The dining hall was decorated with two recent F1 cars, an FXX, various displays of the evolution of engine and brake technology through the years and, last but not least, the aforementioned mock up of a scaled down Enzo nicknamed the Mille Chili (thousand Kilos).
Left: An exhuberant Cappelli plays with the ex-Caracciola P3 Alfa. The owner wasn't there...
Right: Schumacher shows why Bridgestone shares are up.
Rounding off the evening's festivities was a breathtaking firework and film display showcasing Ferrari's 60 year racing history which prompted a US owner to remark: "At least I can see where my money is going". If nothing else, Ferrari do things in style...
Also introduced during the weekend was the limited edition 612 Scaglietti Sessanta ('sixty') of which, logically enough, only sixty will be built, featuring an updated electrochromatic roof as in the Superamerica, a steering wheel with manettino and start button and an interior clothed in sumptuous Poltrona Frau leather. The presentation car was strikingly two-tone liveried in black and dark grey.
Sunday's concours was the highlight, with over 1,000 Ferraris in attendance in and around Maranello, some driven from as far away as Greece or Scandinavia, others flown to their birthplace from Asia and North America.
As though surrounded by their adoring brethren, the cream of the crop - numbering about 100 of the most iconic Ferraris - was displayed in the centre of the Fiorano track with lesser production models parked off to the sides.
Left: Eddie Irvine jokes about hairstyles with the 500TRC crew.
Right:VIPs Montezemolo, Shirley, Macchiavelli and Orsi pose with the various trophies won by Best of Show road car, the ex-Rossellini Ferrari 375MM bodied by Scaglietti.
The selection of invited Ferraris had been a delicate and gruelling task handled by historian Adolfo Orsi, assisted by Ed Gilbertson, chief judge for the Pebble Beach Concours and the Cavallino Classic. A 'Who's Who' of expert judges scrutinised each of the entries, including Ferrari Market Letter publisher Gerald Roush, authors Jess Pourret, Antoine Prunet, Alan Boe and Keith Bluemel, plus Ferrari personalities Mauro Forghieri, Giulio Borsari, Lorenzo Ramaciotti, Leonardo Fioravanti and many more.
Oldest car in attendance was a 1947 166MM berlinetta, #020I, originally a 125S owned by Roman dealer Franco Cornacchia. Three 1949 models were also much admired, including a 166MM Spyder Corsa, #0012M, with unique factory made carrozzeria, recently restored by its Swiss owner.
A very different Ghia Aigle 212 Export, # 0137E, was a rare sight indeed as it made its way to the event all the way from New Zealand. Equally interesting was a cherry colored 250GT coupe, #0399GT, with split screen, an evolution of the 250GT Europa. Some discreet owners attend only factory events and thus such anniversaries do spring surprises not previously displayed. A good example was a silver 250GT SWB, #3577, in the loving hands of the same Swiss family since 1963.
Adding glamour to the 250GT class a pair of ex-Roger Vadim/ Brigitte Bardot 250GT California Spyders were entered: #1283GT and #2175GT, although only the latter showed up. No fewer than five California Spyders were on display including Paul Pappalardo's famous white, ex-Le Mans, alloy bodied SWB, #2015GT, Peter Kalikow's beautiful competition engined, dark blue SWB example, #2561GT, and Brandon Wang's elegant prototype, #0769GT.
The well-known 250GT Berlinetta bodied by Zagato, #0515GT , owned by David and Ginny Sydorick of Beverly Hills offered a sharp contrast to the sea of Pininfarina bodies with its characteristic double bubble roof and two tone paintwork.
A unique and distinctive, shark-nosed sports prototype was the V8 engined 268SP #0798 of Bernie Carl on loan to Maranello's Galleria Ferrari, the only running car of that era with no less than the first V8 ever to be made in Maranello, one which some claim sounds better than a V12.
The sole 250GTO present was that of Brandon Wang, #4219, the ex-George Dyer car, distinctive in its almost black, dark blue livery. This car won at Daytona driven by Pedro Rodriguez, who received a 10 second penalty for stopping for a cigarette after building up an unassailable lead.
A horde of 275GTBs were in attendance, highlights including the green ex-Clint Eastwood 275GTB, the 275GTB/4 NART Spyder of Thomas Crown Affair/ Steve McQueen/ Faye Dunaway/ Sebring 12 Hours fame which has now reached cult status, and the two-cam winner of Best in Class award: 275GTB #08577 sold new by Jacques Swaters, stunning in deep burgundy complete with 6 carbs and now owned by local doctor Carlo Incerti. The four cam class was won by John Mayston-Taylor's often admired dark blue 275GTB/4, #10017, delivered new to a 21 year old American enthusiast.
Rarely seen cars such as the ex-Fernand Tavano 500TRC, #0696MDTR, of the noted Milanese Arton family added considerable depth to the field which included the recently sold 1962 Le Mans winning 4 litre Testa Rossa, #0808, now headed for Argentina.
Best in Show in the road car class was the well-known Rossellini/ Bergman 375MM, #0402AM, of Jon Shirley, truly stunning in its unique silver bodyork by Scaglietti and fittingly Sergio Scaglietti himself was in attendance.
330P4 #0856, the best preserved of the P4s, now owned by a well-known collector but for years a highlight of the Albert Obrist collection in Gstaad, was perhaps the single car with the most sex appeal in attendance. Not surprisingly it was awarded the Best of Show competition car trophy. The low and swoopy P4 was forced to leave the huge silver cup and its various other awards on the podium, particularly as one was an entire 599GTB front wing section!
Left: Jean Todt attempts to beat the P4 driver for running over his feet.
Right:The Italian Air Force heads into the distance...
The afternoon went on with more F1 exhibitions which saw stunning maestria by Ivan Capelli executing lurid slides aplenty with amazing precision aboard the ex-Caracciola P3 Alfa Romeo, followed by Piero Ferrari himself aboard the factory's recreated Ferrari 125 at a rather more sedate pace. Felipe Massa showed a taste for history in the actual 1951 British Grand Prix winning 375F1 whose original pilot Froilan Gonzalez was unable to attend, although his young grandson represented him. Jody Scheckter looked to be having fun in his 1979 championship conquering mount, taking to the grass on more than one occasion, while Jean Alesi was a crowd favourite in the ex-Prost 1990 V12 F1 which had perhaps the best sound of the day. At this point I heard master of ceremonies Simon Kidston sounding distinctly unsure as to whether standing a few feet from the tarmac was a good idea after all...
Predictably Michael Schumacher received the biggest ovations and most applause while demonstrating his 2004 season Ferrari with which he utterly crushed the opposition, while Raikkonen and Massa concluded the show with current 2007 models, all three of them fumigating the local mosquito population with clouds of smoke produced by wild doughnuts.
A few moments later, the surprise touch of the day, Italy's national Frecce Tricolori air force display squadron took care of any remaining insects by tearing through the Maranello sky, their nine planes in close formation seemingly glued together at the wingtips with Italian flag coloured smoke trailing. After a few minutes of dazzling figures they concluded by flying low over the track with Ferrari red smoke: a stunning finish to a memorable occasion.