Cavallino Classic XXII, Palm Beach, Florida
Love it or loathe it, the Ferrari brand is as central to car collecting as Patek Philippe is to watches or Picasso to art, and in America especially, owning a significant classic Ferrari usually means showing it at concours d'elegance. None are as single minded, nor quite as obsessive about presentation and condition, as the Cavallino Classic. This year we couldn't ignore it- you shouldn't either if you collect Ferraris- so we crossed the Atlantic to join in the action. The sun shone, so did the coachwork (heavy restoration here isn't confined to cars) and a local resident's helicopter- 'TRUMP' emblazoned along its fuselage, in case we didn't know- hovered overhead to survey proceedings. It's the automotive equivalent of Disneyland.
The Judge's View
by Keith Bluemel
The 22nd edition of the Cavallino Classic enjoyed beautiful warm weather for the duration of the event, with clear blue skies and bright sunshine adding an extra sparkle to the superb assembly of Ferraris that descended on Palm Beach in the last week of January. Although it's primarily a Ferrari gathering, the racing at Palm Beach International Raceway welcomed Maseratis, pre-war Alfa Romeos and Bugattis, and the increasingly popular Sunday brunch at the Mar-A-Lago Club is a multi- marque event, Rolls-Royce being featured this year.
The Cavallino Classic followed its tried and tested format, starting with two private days at the circuit. In the pre-war race it was the maestro of recent years, Peter Giddings, in his Alfa Romeo Tipo B P3 who took the win, followed by victory in the drum brake race in his Maserati 250 F. In the disc brake race it was a duel all the way between the Ferrari 512 BB/LMs of Todd Morici and Jim Fuchs, regularly swapping places, with the latter eventually taking the overall win.
Thursday also featured the Tour de Palm Beach, a genteel drive along the local coastline ending at the first social gathering of the event, the glitzy Jet Reception in one of Jet Aviation's hangars at Palm Beach International Airport. However many times you do it, it is always a surreal feeling wandering amongst the Ferraris, private jets and power boats on the tarmac, sipping champagne as the sun fades slowly on the horizon, with commercial flights landing and taking off only a few hundred yards away.
On Friday evening the social scene switches from the air to the sea, with the Yacht Hop, at a new venue this year, the Palm Harbour Marina on the Intracoastal Waterway where the Ferraris lined up on the quayside, dwarfed by some immense motor yachts. The big day of the week is Saturday with the concours d'elegance at The Breakers Hotel, where the billiard table smooth croquet lawn together with one of the adjacent golf fairways host an eclectic selection of some 100+ Ferraris for display and judging. The special feature for 2013 was a tribute to the Pininfarina designed Ferraris, with some superb examples on display. They included a number of unique models, notably the 1956 Geneva Salon 250 Europa GT, chassis # 0425 GT, the ex-King Leopold of Belgium 375 Plus Cabriolet, chassis # 0488 AM, a pair of ex-Gianni Agnelli cars, the 375 America, chassis # 0355 AL, of Jack & Debbie Thomas, and the 410 SA, chassis # 1517 SA, of Robert Butler. There were also modern one-off examples in the form of Peter Kalikow's 612 Scaglietti Kappa, together with his 599 SA Aperta-based Superamerica 45.
The results of the concours judging are only announced at the gala awards reception at The Breakers on Saturday evening. The Scuderia Cup for The Best of Show Competition Ferrari went to the 500 TRC Spider, chassis # 0698 MDTR, of J. Marriott Jr., with the Gran Turismo Cup for Best of Show GT Ferrari going to the 375 Plus Cabriolet, chassis # 0488 AM, of Wayne Golomb.
The finale to the gathering was the now traditional multi marque concours and brunch in the ballroom at Donald Trump's 'six star' Mar-A-Lago Club on Sunday. Here, together with a number of Ferraris from the previous day's concours, there was a fine selection of other automobiles. Apart from the feature marque, Rolls-Royce, there were some spectacular cars on display, notably a 1929 Dupont Le Mans Speedster, a 1936 Lancia Astura Cabriolet, and the Best of Show winning Talbot T26 Cabriolet with stunning duo-tone blue Figoni & Falaschi coachwork of Kentucky-based collector Jim Patterson.
Images courtesy of Keith Bluemel