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 Cavallino Classic XVIII

Cavallino Classic

Cavallino Classic XVIII, Palm Beach, Florida, 20 – 25 January 2009

18 Years of the Cavallino Classic – My First Year! Everybody raves about the Cavallino Classic as THE annual Ferrari gathering, so this year I thought that I should experience it first hand. Thus on Tuesday 20 January I boarded Virgin Atlantic’s flight VS015 at Gatwick Airport for the long haul flight to Orlando in Florida. The flight took an inland route over the USA due to bad weather conditions on the east coast, the path that it would normally take. Looking out of the window over Canada and the northern states all one could see was snow and ice on the ground some 38000 feet below, hopefully things would change the further south we went! After all, I had been reliably informed that the Florida winter was the equivalent of a good European summer. Upon arrival in Orlando in the evening, it was warmer, but not that much, only a breezy 5degC, the wind chill making it feel like freezing point. Never mind, I was here now so would just have to make the best of it!

First Encounter – Although the Tuesday and Wednesday were private test days at the Moroso circuit for registered participants only, thanks to John Barnes, the head of the organising committee, I was able to gain access on the Wednesday to see what lay in store. The circuit has been totally redeveloped over the past few months, and is now called Palm Beach International Raceway instead of the former title of Moroso Motorsports Park. Not having experienced the original layout, seasoned veterans told me that it was vastly different to the original set-up, having been totally resurfaced, the configuration changed at various points, and the drag strip moved from within the road course to outside it, so that events could be run on both facilities simultaneously.

The circuit work had been completed, but the infrastructure was still work in progress, which meant for one thing, that not all the safety fencing had been erected, which afforded the opportunity to take some action shots. I think that this is going to present problems for photographers in the future, as from the posts in place it will be high, and there doesn’t appear to be any facility for press photographers on the inside of the fencing. Maybe action shots at PBIR will be a thing of the past!

Some of the historic Challenge participants were using these days as a shakedown for their races on Friday, as it gave them the chance to learn the new layout before official practice on Thursday. It was nice to find a trio of 250 GTOs in the paddock area, together with a trio of 512 BB/LMs, and the Sunoco 512 M. Amongst more modern variants there was quite a variety, including the FXXs of Benny Caiola and Preston Henn, a trio of 333SPs, plus numerous 360 and 430 Challenge cars. To make the day even more enjoyable, the sun shone and the temperature rose steadily, but still not up to what I was told are the norm.

Thursday – After the registration reception in the Gold Room at the impressively opulent Breakers Hotel, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, on Wednesday evening, Thursday was the first day of overall activity at PBIR, and the weather continued to warm up! There was more activity and more cars than on the Wednesday, and the highlight for me was some laps of the circuit with Jim Fuchs in his 512 BB/LM, what a machine, and he’s a pretty handy driver as well! From the circuit in late afternoon, the next stop was the Jet Reception in Jet Aviation’s hangars at Palm Beach International Airport, which was another glittering affair, with Ferraris lined up on the tarmac amidst the private jets, while commercial flights carried on their business regardless a few hundred metres away. This event features a People’s Choice Award, where all guests are given a ballot card to vote for their favourite Ferrari on display. This went to the beautiful pale gold 195 Inter Touring Coupé, # 081 S, of Richard Martin, an ex-patriot Englishman living in California. After this it was more partying, this time at Jeff Fisher’s private function which he holds every year for friends at his Classic Stable, a converted cigar warehouse, which houses his collection, including the jewel-like 212 Export Vignale Spider, # 0090E.

Friday is Shell Historic Challenge Day – At last the weather was what I had been told it should be, so off with the jacket and out with the sun block! Another day at PBIR with races for the drum and disc brake groups, in the first rounds of the US Shell Historic Challenge series. There were around a dozen cars in each group, with the drum brake group containing a pair each of Alfa Romeo 8C 2300s, Maserati 250 Fs and Ferrari Testa Rossas amongst their number, with victory going to the Maserati 250 F of Peter Giddings. In the disc brake group, the Sunoco Ferrari 512 M of Lawrence Stroll had a trouble free win from the pair of 512 BB/LMs of Tod Morici and Jim Fuchs, which proved that my “Thursday Chauffeur” wasn’t hanging about!

Come the evening and it was more social activity, this time it was the Yacht Hop at the Rybovich Boatyard on the Intercoastal Waterway. Being a car guy this was my first visit to a “boatyard”, but boy was it impressive, especially when you hear the multi million dollar sums being talked about for some of the “boats” moored there. One of these was the three storey “James Bond” motor yacht “Casino Royale”, featuring some incredible craftsmanship to the interior, whilst the line-up of four jet skis on the lower rear deck was pretty impressive. Other yachts moored there were even larger, with one $180 million offering boasting seven floors. With Ferraris lined up along the quayside under the palms, it made for a quite surreal setting, you would never dream that the world economy was in meltdown!

Concorso – Saturday is the big day, the concours on the lawns of The Breakers Hotel, and having offered to assist with the placement of cars, it was a very early start, fortunately with the good weather continuing. There were fifteen classes with eighty three cars to be judged, plus a number of display cars, one of which was the 16M 430 Scuderia Spider, courtesy of Ferrari North America, whilst Ferrari Classiche also had an impressive display featuring a GTO (288). The 1956 & Earlier Class featured a nice selection of early models ranging from the previously mentioned 1950 195 Inter Touring Coupé, through a 212 Export Vignale Cabriolet, a pair of 340 Americas, a 375 America, a 250 Europa GT, to a 250 GT Boano. There was a special class for the Superamerica series, which featured a quartet of elegant 400s and a 410 model. Competition cars were thin on the ground, but included a 312 P(B) and the superb pale blue 500 Mondial Spider Scaglietti, # 0556MD, of Rear Admiral Robert Phillips, which won its class and the Enzo Ferrari Award for the best Ferrari at Pebble Beach in 2008.

All ears were open at the awards dinner in the evening (more socialising!), to see who the major award winners were. The top awards went to the 212 Export Vignale Cabriolet, # 0110E, of Tom Stegman, which took Best of Show GT Car, whilst the 500 Mondial of Rear Admiral Robert Phillips added to its Pebble Beach success with The Best of Show Competition Car award. A nice touch for the major award winners, in addition to their trophies, was the presentation of copies of the 2008 Ferrari Yearbook signed by company President Luca de Montezemolo, which had been organised by Antonio Ghini of Ferrari SpA.

Mar-A-Lago – The finale to the gathering was a charity luncheon and multi marque concours at the exclusive Mar-A-Lago club of Donald Trump, a short distance down the coastal road from The Breakers. Here some of the Ferraris from Saturday’s concours were joined by a selection of prestigious makes, including a pair of pre-war Delahayes, a Bugatti Stelvio 57C, a Cunningham C3 Vignale Coupé, a stunning Fiat 8V Supersonic and a fine selection of Aston Martins, including an ex-King Hussein DB5 Convertible, to name but a few. Prizes were presented by Gina Campbell, daughter of world land and sea speed record holder Donald Campbell and grand daughter of Sir Malcolm Campbell, who preceded his sons speed record gathering in the late twenties and early thirties with nine world land speed records amongst his trophies. Gina also followed the family passion for speed, and has held the Women’s Water Speed record. Thus my first Cavallino Classic came to an end, and I must say that it was all it had been made out to be, a fantastic mix of track and concours, great social events, and really friendly people. Look out Florida, I plan to be back in 2010!

David O’Neill

Palm Beach International Raceway Track Day – Participating Cars



Ferrari 333 SP


Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spyder s/n 1603GT


Ferrari BB 512 LM 80 s/n 38181


Ferrari 412 MI  s/n 0744MI


Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta s/n 2443GT


Ferrari 212 Inter  s/n 0147EL


Ferrari 512 M s/n 1040


Ferrari 250 GTO '64 s/n 3413GT


Ferrari 250 GTO s/n 3729GT


Ferrari 250 TR s/n 0666


Ferrari 250 GTO s/n 3943GT


Ferrari 250 GT Lusso s/n 4213GT


Ferrari 275 GTB s/n 06741


Ferrari BB 512 LM s/n 31589


Ferrari BB 512 LM s/n 29509


Ferrari 250 TR Spider Scaglietti s/n 0756TR


Ferrari 308 GT/M


Ferrari 308 GTB/M

Ferrari 250 GT

Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France Berlinetta s/n 0563GT

Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spyder s/n 0937GT

Dino 206 Competizione Pininfarina s/n 034



Maserati 250F


Maserati 200 SI s/n 2412


Maserati 250 F s/n 2501


Maserati 200 SI s/n 2401


Maserati 300 S s/n 3057

Alfa Romeo


Alfa Romeo Monza s/n 2211033


Alfa Romeo P3

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