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Taormina, 4th to 9th of September, 2021

Selling cars these days is a tough business as more and more restrictions hit the industry, fewer young people are getting into cars and especially the sports cars long time ago exceeded what is allowed to do on the street. So, selling a luxury car more and more becomes an experience and a question of life style and status, individualization is the key as most of the manufacturers run own departments for that just like Porsches Sonderwunsch program or Ferrari Tailor Made. Furthermore, limited editions are standard on every car series or even special limited models like the Icona Series of Ferrari are introduced. But this alone often is not enough for customer loyalty so special events are created for the clients to experience their cars with like minded. Almost every car brand organizes special rallies for their clients and Ferrari certainly is one of them.

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About ten years ago Ferrari introduced the Cavalcade both for new and classic cars as an exclusive annual tour to some of the greatest places in Italy to enjoy luxury hotels and Michelin star food with people sharing the same passion. As Ferrari is particular proud of their rich heritage and Classic Ferrari are on top of the market the brand from Maranello introduced the Cavalcade Classic in addition to the normal Cavalcade. Normally these are two separate events but these days very few things are really normal, especially in the event industry. So, the intended separation fell victim this year to the ongoing pandemic as the classic version had to be postponed and finally got together with the modern Cavalcade for a joined event in Sicily instead of the intended rallye in the Dolomites.

So, on the 4th of September classic Ferrari and those from the current production line made their way to Taormina at the eastern coast of Sicily that should serve as a base for the days to come. Comparing the line-up of cars with the previous years these circumstances didn´t seem to harm the modern Cavalcade as apparently there are numerous cars on the waiting list to the restricted contingent but the classic version fell a little bit short compared to previous editions. Overall, there were about 90 new cars and only 35 classics in attendance. Separated in two hotels for the nights and timely separated on the road (as the moderns ran upfront) the contact of these two groups was mainly limited to the dinners so it actually felt a little bit like two events ran at the same time sharing their program.

After the check-in in the hotels and the welcome dinner the day before the participants took the first rather short days drive to the northern area of the Etna. These first days were accompanied by sunshine and dramatic skies giving great photo opportunities. Although still fairly warm fortunately the Cavalcade missed the severe heat records of the previous month with reported temperatures in excess of 48 Degree Celsius (approx. 118 Degree Fahrenheit). What could be seen alongside the road were the numerous traces of wild fires that came with the heat wave, the eruptions just a few days before the rally certainly contributed to the fires.

As the parking in Taormina was a restricted zone by Ferrari the first coffee stops at the Etna Quota Mille Restaurant gave a first impression of the cars attending. Especially in the front of the entrance the line-up of the Monza SP1 and SP2 models as well as the LaFerraris gave a great sight that is rarely seen other than concours lawns. As mentioned all the current models could be seen including the SF90, the F8 and 812 as well as the latest Roma. Compared to the classic event this seems to be a much more international clientele as cars from basically all over the world including China, Thailand and the Emirates could be seen whereas the classic car community is still more based in Europe and North America. As we mainly went there to cover the classic event, we had to admit that both the number and the variety of the cars were down to previous years.

From Mexico came a group of 166 and 212 models but apart from that the line-up dried out a little bit over the 250 series. In the past one could see several 250 GT TdF, California Spider on short and long chassis, Series 1 cabriolets, SWB Berlinetta and Interim as well as a few older 4-cylinder race cars. This year the 4-cylinder completely missed and the 250 series was restricted to a sole California Spider, a SWB, a trio of Coupés, a series 2 cabriolet, a single SWB and two GTEs and Lusso. The 275 series featured a short nose and a long nose GTB, a GTB/4, two GTS and a GTC/4. For some reasons not a single Dino showed up but on the newer end a 308 GTB and a 328 GTB and GTS as well as a F50 finalized the 35-car line-up, cars not seen in previous editions.


Report & images ... Peter Singhof

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The second day led south to Syracuse. The morning leg might have been one of the best in terms of driving as without traffic one could enjoy the surprisingly good roads in the open landscape. Unfortunately, roadside the sight was not always very pleasant as obviously locals tend to dispose their litter in the nearest field as seen during all the days.

Upon arrival at Syracuse the two groups were separated as the classics parked in front of the Fort at the headland of the city whereas the modern cars were lined up at the pier at the harbor. Although Ferrari distributed small Ferrari flags to the locals to greet the cars on their arrival the parked cars were isolated from the public as neither the Castello now the pier was accessible. Especially the close off of the pier left many admirers dumbfounded. One might ask why a company that bases its success on the passion of the Ferraristi keeps them away from their cars especially as enough security and a rope was there to prevent them from any inappropriate approach. The same happened in the parking in Taormina where kids were thrown out while trying to get a few snaps with their cell phone.

After the lunch another small slope would have led even more to the south but as the weather looked a little bit more like rain many of the classics took the way back to the hotel directly missing out some beautiful scenery with lovely stone walls and old bridges. Unfortunately, the way back to Taormina brought the convoy into the main traffic on the motorway around Catania due to road works. Adding to the clutch murdering ramp in the parking in Taormina this was the most stressful part of the tour for them.

The third day led north into the mountains around Borgo Schisina were the cars ran from a thunderstorm and heavy rains. Within minutes the clouds came into the mountain and one could see the downpour in the distance. Depending on how long the crews stayed for coffee some actually managed to stay dry whereas others had to endure the rain with slippery roads and zero visibility.

At the end all of them arrived at Messina, the north-east part of the island and gate way to Italy main land.

The last driving day led the cars south to Catania into the old city center at the Piazza Duomo. Both the driving into and out of the Centre were quite a challenge especially for the classics as the traffic in the narrow streets of the Sicilian city was heavy. But not few had the impression that the line-up at the Piazza was worth the effort and for once the feeling of the Italian passion for Ferrari was really visible as this seemed to be one of the few stops actually known by the public as a crowd of people welcomed the cars. After the coffee break the most iconic part of the trip was the drive up to Sicilians main attraction, the Etna. Just south of the main crater the road led to the volcanic rocks and the ashes from the previous eruption and together with the upcoming clouds this made one of the most memorable experiences of the tour.

Last but not least the cars were escorted by the police through the small pedestrian area of Taormina, the main touristic place of the charming mountain village that attracts a lot of visitors.

The Cavalcade and the Cavalcade Classic were finalized by the Black-Tie dinner at the Teatro Antico di Taormina, the amphitheater with the spectacular view over the coast line. With the final fireworks at the end of the evening also the next Cavalcade venues were released as the two will go separate ways again. Whereas the new ones will pay Monaco a visit in 2022 the old ones finally will have the chance to explore the dolomites around Cortina d´Ampezzo.

With the two events at the same time the organizers of Canossa Events really had a handful to organize this year. Listening to the participants they really did their best to master the challenge and the program with the dinners and the spectacular final in the theatre were very well done. A few classic car owners had the impression though that the original program was a little bit more in the favor of the new cars and so was Ferrari itself. Especially the situation in the parking when the classics had to master the small ramp up to the first floor while the new ones parked in the basement was not well grasped be the owners of a 60-year-old clutch system. But one can assume that this is purely due to the fact that the organizers had to include them in a planned program. Probably the next classic edition will be again more tailor made to them just as the new cars are tailor made to the wishes of the customers. Needless to say, that overall, this were some great days in Sicily, unfortunately the legendary Targa Florio circuit in the north-west near Palermo was a little bit too far away to include this into the Cavalcade as it would have been another stimulus for the owners of the old racers to participate.

We are looking forward to next year’s Dolomite edition when the mountains certainly will give a great background for the classics and hopefully after being done with the pandemic there will again be some more cars participating.