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Stapleford Park, Leicestershire, 12 July, 2015

After missing a concours gathering in 2014, to the chagrin of many members, the Ferrari Owners’ Club approached the 2015 event with renewed vigour, and welcome sponsorship from EFG International, the private banking group, who are well known for their valued backing to numerous prestigious classic car events throughout Europe. The gathering also welcomed Bonhams as the club’s official auction partner, with sponsorship of the gala dinner on the Saturday evening, and plans for a more high profile role at next year’s event.

The venue for the event was a magnificent stately home, which has been turned into a luxury hotel, Stapleford Park, which is set deep in the Leicestershire countryside near Melton Mowbray, the town famous for its pork pies! The majestic property formed a beautiful backdrop to proceedings, and visitors could not only enjoy the hotel amenities, but also the 500 acres of Capability Brown designed landscaped grounds, formal gardens and woodland, plus the 18 hole golf course, and even the estate’s own church, St Mary Magadalene, although this is no longer in regular use, it still retains all its original features.

Although the concours was on the Sunday, there was plenty of activity on the Saturday as attendees and concours entrants arrived, ready to prepare their steeds for the judging process the following day. There was also the opportunity for test drives on the Saturday, courtesy of official dealer, Graypaul Ferrari of Nottingham, who had a California T, FF and F12 available to interested parties, along with a selection of their pre-owned stock on display.

Whereas Saturday was a beautiful day with abundant sunshine and high ambient temperatures, rain swept through overnight, and Sunday dawned damp and overcast, although initially at least it was dry. During the judging process the rain returned intermittently, although fortunately it wasn’t too heavy, and by midday the sun was creeping through again, to give a glorious afternoon for the presentations, and for entrants to wind down after the rigours of preparation had almost been thwarted by the weather.

As is the case at most classic car gatherings these days, unfortunately people seem reluctant to bring out the rarer Ferraris, due to the rise in values over recent years, and the fear of damage occurring to a valuable asset. Thus it is, that modern, or should I say relatively modern, higher volume production models that seem to be the mainstay of any gathering. This was predominantly the case at the concours, although there were some gems, both on the concours field and in the EFG Special Car Display. The latter group included a 268 SP sports racing model, chassis # 0798, owned by Bernie Carl in the USA, which Terry Hoyle showed on his behalf, a 250 GT S1 PF Cabriolet, chassis # 1475GT, and 500 Superfast, chassis # 6659SF, courtesy of Talacrest Ltd. There was a “Moderns & Specials” group in this display, which included a F40, F50, Enzo, 550 Barchetta, 599 GTO and 599 SA Aperta.

The concours field also had some nice early examples, including a 166 Inter Touring Coupe, chassis # 017 S, a 212/225 Inter Vignale Coupe, chassis # 0237 EU, a 250 GT SWB Berlinetta, chassis # 3367GT, a pair of 330 GTC models, chassis #s 9039 and 11329, along with an example of the very rare 365 GTS, chassis # 12307, one of only twenty produced, a 250 GT Lusso, chassis # 5441GT, and a trio of “Daytona” models, a “Plexi” example, chassis # 13421, a “Pop-up”, chassis # 16737 and an original Spider in black, chassis # 15417. Amongst the more modern variants, there was a rare in the UK, 208 Turbo, a F40, F50 and a pair of black Boxers, a 365 GT4BB and a 512 BB. There were a total of thirteen classes, the winners of which were brought forward to a central display area on the main lawn to receive their awards, with the final award being the Best of Show, which went to the 250 GT SWB Berlinetta, chassis 3367GT, of Nigel Allen.

Keith Bluemel