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Palm Beach, 26th of January

Today was the great day of this year's Cavallino Classic, the 22nd edition of the Ferrari meeting of the leading Ferrari magazine. After two rather quiet days on the Palm Beach International Raceway the Concours at the Breakers featured some highlight from the rich Ferrari history. Both competition and GT road cars were presented in superb quality on the lawn of the 5 star grand hotel at the coastline of west Florida.

Soon after the sunrise the first cars lined up in the driveway to get on the field early for the last preparations before the judging. With increasing number of cars one became aware that the Concours still attracts the best cars of the American Concours scene whereas the driving events on the race track suffer from the exploding value of the collector cars leaving many owners afraid of damaging their blue chip car.

Traditionally the lawn is separated in three different groups, the oldest in front of the hotel, the 275 and 365 series on the middle lawn and the newer cars down on the golf course. This time the middle lawn was enforced by a special Pinin Farina display to celebrate the work of the late Sergio Pininfarina.

On the top lawn 21 cars were displayed, less than in some years before but of a very high quality, both in provenance, rarity and quality of the restoration. Oldest cars on the field were a pair of 212 Export dating from 1951, a Vignale Spyder (0090E) of nearby collector Jeff Fischer that was shown several times in the last years and a Touring Berlinetta (0108E) that was shown last year at the Pebble Beach Concours. The next two cars on the lawn belonged to the Belgium royal family, the King Leopold and his second wife, Princess Liliana de Rethy. Whereas the Princess choice was a tiny coupé based on the 250 Europa GT bodied by Vignale with a fabric white roof the kings choice was more sportive with a brutish 375 Plus chassis, but bodied with a very elegant one-off Pinin Farina designed cabriolet. This followed the trend of beautiful cabriolet based on pure race chassis like the Bugatti T59 he owned before the war or the Ferrari 342 with the larger 375 engine. This car is just in his second ownership and made its post restoration debut just last year in Pebble.

Also fresh from restoration is the 166 MM/53 with its unusual Oblin body in matt black finish rounding of the cars with Belgium history as Oblin was based in Bruxelles.

Less exotic but very elegant was the 212 Inter Vignale Coupe with period two-tone paint, another Vignale bodied coupé showed the development of the design in the early 1950s. The last of the 212 was entered at the Carrera Panamericana in 1952 and is presented in its original livery.

From the 250 Series the Concours featured no less than 4 LWB Berlinettas, the so-called TdF after their first success at the French classic. The oldest one was the 1956 Prototype, a 250 GT Speciale with the later design but several interesting details like the indicators on the side, the rear lamps or the very accentuated wheel arches. This car (0425GT) did not just won the Elegance Cup for the most elegant Ferrari on show but also an Excellence Cup for the best restoration. The other three TdF were all of the last design with the single louvre cars named after the air outlet of the cockpit behind the doors.

An earlier race model was shown with the 250 MM, the later with a duo of 250 GT SWB, one in the “ordinary” design as competition alloy model (2083GT), another one in a special design as an experimental for the later GTO. This car (2429GT) won the trophy for the best 12-cylinder in the lawn.

Also present were two California Spyder, both a LWB and a SWB. The LWB was already shown two days before on the Jet Center Reception where it won the people choice award, at the Breakers this car was awarded with the Judges Cup. The SWB had a troublesome life as it was heavily crashed by its first owner and was of the road for decades before a restoration was started to the present state, finished in a wonderful dark blue colour.

Last but not least the centre of the field was reserved for the two most sportive cars in the field, the small 500 TRC (0698MDTR) and a 250 LM (5909). The TRC was the first car Ferrari Restorer David Carte restored back in 1985 in his garage and it was restored a second time by him for the current owner (who was also the previous owner at the time of the first restoration) so Carte received both the class award and the cup for the best 4- cylinder Ferrari on behalf of the owner.

The 250 LM was given the Competition Cup for the fastest Ferrari on the field.

As mentioned above this year saw a special display of cars designed by Pinin Farina including some interesting cars that took part in previous editions of the Cavallino Classic and were re- invited to present the work of the Italian design house. Cars included the ex-Agnelli 375 America or the highly original 375 MM (0382AM) that won several award at the last year event.
At the end of the day the judges had a tough decision to pick out the Best of Show awards in the category Competition and GT cars.

The BoS in competition went to the 500 TRC, the GT BoS to the sensational 375 Plus Pinin Farina Cabriolet of Wayne Golomb.
Tomorrow will see the last day of this year's Cavallino Classic with the multi-marque Concours at the Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump's private club at Palm Beach. Beside some of the Ferrari shown today the British marques of Aston Martin (in its Centenary) and Rolls-Royce should be the main entrants.

Text & images ... Peter Singhof www.ClassicCarPhotography.de