Palm Beach, 21 January 2001
A decade of Cavallino Classic events was celebrated in splendid style, with
more parties, a greater number of entrants, a fine range of exquisite machinery,
and for the first time since its inception a rain storm!
Although the event didn’t officially start until registration commenced in the Gold
Room at The Breakers hotel in Palm Beach on Wednesday 17 January, the
organisers had arranged the hire of the Moroso Motorsports Park track on the
Tuesday. This enabled those who wanted hone their track skills after the winter
break additional time at the start of the season. Further skill development was
available on the Wednesday, courtesy of the regular Driving School where Bill
Adam, Derek Bell, Justin Bell and Brian Redman were on hand to impart their
vast collective motor sport driving knowledge.
To the Airport
A new feature on this year’s agenda was the inaugural party of the event, which
was hosted by Jet Aviation, Galaxy Aerospace and Showboats International in
one of Jet Aviation’s hangars at Palm Beach International Airport. This proved
very popular with participants, and a long line of Ferraris assembled on the
apron in front of the hangar for the cocktail party, whilst the 250 GT SWB
California Spider, 1883GT, of Everett Anton Singer found its own special parking
spot within the hangar. It was quite a surreal feeling sipping champagne
amongst the Ferraris, with no physical barrier between you and the schedule
flight jets taking off and landing on the runway about 200 metres away.
Arrive in Style
Not a Ferrari but impressive for the sheer scale of its dimensions was a
Hummer limousine, finished in black with blacked out windows. A normal
Hummer is big and not the prettiest example of automotive engineering, but this
limousine example brought along by The Auto Toy Store almost defied belief.
As if arriving in a Ferrari (or Hummer limo’) wasn’t a bold enough entry
statement, a number of guests chose to fly in by helicopter or private plane.
This statement is in no way intended to be derogatory, the different forms of
transport chosen just added another dimension to a superbly organised evening.
The Moroso Motorsports Park is situated a 30 minute drive west of Palm Beach
just off the Purple Heart Highway, and provides a demanding venue for
participants in the track events. Although flat, it has an interesting series of
bends at the far end of the circuit with a pair of long straights bounding a drag
strip, the back one incorporating a chicane to slow cars before the 180 degree
curve that brings drivers back onto the start/finish straight. Early on a warm,
bright and sunny Thursday morning there were a plethora of trailers and
transporters of all shapes and sizes, disgorging a delectable array of Italy’s
finest machinery, not only Ferrari, but also Alfa Romeo and Maserati to broaden
the scope of the Historic Challenge entry. Some trailers did not empty their
complete contents, but offered titillating glimpses of cars destined for the
concours on Saturday, like the pale blue 250 GT LWB TdF berlinetta, 0563GT,
freshly restored by Bob Smith Coachworks, and the beautiful 250 Testa Rossa,
0736TR, of John Mccaw.
Bonham & Brooks had a selection of the cars to be offered in the Saturday
auction on display, and a selection participated in demonstration runs. The
most spectacular and widely appreciated of these was the F310B F1 car, that
had factory mechanics in attendance to fettle, which was driven by Dominic
Dobson during special sessions on Thursday and Friday. It is not every day
(especially in the USA) that one gets the opportunity to thrill to the sound of a
Ferrari V10 F1 engine being extended at close quarters, and the pit wall was
packed with spectators each time the shrill engine note was heard bursting into
life. A really exciting sound and spectacular sight, as it blasted down the pit
straight only feet away with vapour trails pluming off the rear wing fences. A
memory to savour!
Thursday was a day for untimed Historic Challenge practise and free laps for
participants in various divisions, all being well subscribed. Apart from a wide
range of road and 348/F355/360 Challenge cars, there were four F333Sps
circulating, including the splendid red and yellow Momo liveried example, 010,
of James McCormick.
Friday morning was for timed practise for the Historic Challenge competitors,
interspersed with further general free lap sessions. At the end of the qualifying
sessions the drum brake race times were headed by Peter Giddings in his Alfa
Romeo 8C 35, 50013, a scant 0.031secs ahead of the Maserati 300S, 3069, of
William Binnie, with the ex-Parravano 121 LM, 0484LM, of Peter Sachs close
behind, so it looked to be a promising battle in store. It did not disappoint as
these three combatants circulated closely for most of the race, with the
Maserati just holding the advantage over the pursuing Alfa Romeo and Ferrari.
Peter Giddings made an attempt to take the lead a two thirds distance at the
end of the start/finish straight, but ran wide due to fading brakes, allowing
William Binnie to consolidate his lead and Peter sahs to slip through and take
up the challenge. The Ferrari didn’t quite have enough in reserve to get back on
terms with the Maserati, so had to be content with the runner-up spot, but had
the consolation of the fastest race lap, which was faster than all the qualifying
There was a second race for the pre-war Alfa Romeos, which unfortunately
turned out to be poorly supported due to various mechanical maladies, however,
Peter Giddings took a well deserved victory after his fine efforts in the first race,
to give him some consolation for his efforts. Greg Whitten in his Tipo B (P3),
5001, took the runner-up spot some way adrift of the flying Giddings.
The disc brake Historic Challenge race was the last to be run on Friday
afternoon, before the track was handed back to the sports and GT cars to
complete their track time fun, which fortunately passed off without any incident.
On the entry list was the 330 P4, 0856, of Lawrence Stroll, but he opted instead
for his 512 BB/LM, with which he was more familiar, saving the P4 for the
concours on Saturday. After qualifying it was the 512M of Ed Davies on pole
position, followed by a quartet of 512 BB/LMs, and then the 365 P2 of Peter
Sachs, who was having a busy day. From the flag Ed Davies took an immediate
lead, but was chased surprisingly hard by the BB/LM duo of Tod Morici and
Lawrence Stroll. This lasted until the fourth lap, when Ed davies had a
disagreement over a piece of road lapping a back marker in the 180 degree turn,
that resulted in an off course excursion. This tore the left front wing off the
512M, and he prudently decided to retire as the extent of damage was
unknown. This left the race wide open for the duelling BB/LMs, with Tod Morici
taking the victory by less than a second from Lawrence Stroll, followed by the
similar models of Ray Hartman and Kurt Schultz. Peter Sachs retired the 365
P2 at mid distance, whilst the 365 GTB/4Cs of Charles Arnott and John
Giordano filled out the top six after a race long duel, to finish in that order.
The evening social aspect continued on Thursday with a Welcome cocktail
party in The Breakers’ Mediterranean Ballroom. Satellite cocktail parties were
hosted by the FCA Florida Region, plus Jeffrey & Frances Fisher who were
proudly showing their freshly restored 212 Export Vignale Spider, 0090E, that
looked quite stunning in its black over dark metallic green livery. On Friday
there was the ”Yacht Hop” cocktail party, after which the Historic Challenge
awards were presented at a dinner held in the Venetian Ballroom at The
Breakers’, which was also attended by Stuart Robinson, the CEO of Ferrari
Concours - La Crème!
The concours on the lawn in front of The Breakers on Saturday treated
attendees to an eclectic display of stunning cars. These ranged from the 166 FL
single seater, 011/F, through a splendid array of fifties, sixties and seventies
sports racing and GT models, including the 225S models that finished 1st and
2nd in the 1952 Monaco G.P, a 340 Mexico Vignale berlinetta, 0222AT, the
lurid orange and black 212 Inter Ghia coupe, 0191EL, first owned by Juan Peron
the President of Argentina, a 268 SP, 365 P2, 330 P4, to a wide variety of road
cars including 288 GTO, F40 and F50, the variety of cars and colours was a
sight to warm the heart of any Ferrari enthusiast. Apart from the Ferrari content,
there was also a fine display of pre-war Alfa Romeos, including the awesome 12
cylinder 12C 37, 51204, single seater brought by Bill Noon.
The overall quality of the entry was very high, with numerous cars gaining
platinum awards. The judging guidelines are those set out by the IFA/PFA
(International Advisory Council for the Preservation of the Ferrari Automobile)
where each car is judged on its individual merits, not against others in the
class. It was just as the judging was coming to an end at noon, that the
predicted rain clouds arrived, and they arrived with a vengeance, the heavens
opened within seconds to release a deluge more akin to a waterfall than a
shower. This left the remaining judges finishing their tasks under plastic sheets,
or looking like drowned rats. Some remaining owners abandoned their cars
before they were judged to seek shelter, no doubt to the relief of the relevant
judges, who need a representative in attendance before they start the process.
Unfortunate as it was there was plenty of shelter, and as soon as the rain
clouds had cleared everybody was out leathering furiously and bailing out some
of the open cars that didn’t get covered quickly enough, so that soon one would
never have known that anything untoward had occurred. All too soon it was over,
the cars were being returned to their trailers or driven home, the crowds slowly
drifted away, and the vendor area dismantled. By early evening the croquet lawn
and 13th tee of the golf course used for the concours were back to their normal
tranquil emerald green, with not a sign that they had been a hive of activity a
couple of hours earlier.
The concours awards dinner was held in the Ponce de Leon Ballroom at The
Breakers in the evening, and was for many the finale to the event, as they
headed home on Sunday ready to be at their desk on Monday morning.
Bonham & Brooks Auction
For the first time in its history an auction formed part of the Cavallino Classic
(excluding their charity art auctions), with Bonham & Brooks hosting an auction
close to The Breakers on Saturday afternoon. Apart from the previously
mentioned F310B F1 car which was being offered for sale by private treaty,
there was a 500 Mondial, 0502M, a 312 PB, 0890, a quartet of Lamborghinis,
and an Alfa Romeo 1900 Super Sprint Zagato, amongst the lots, plus the other
Ferrari and Maserati models listed separately, together with an interesting
selection of art, literature, mascots, models, and automobilia on offer.
Although bidding on the full size cars was relatively downbeat, a large number of
scale models created fierce bidding, with a scratch built 1/8 scale 250 GTO by
Marc Antonietti achieving £8,433-00, and a 1/10 scale 330 GTC by Micel Conti