By: Steve Tillack Henry Flagler, you remember him -- John D. Rockefeller's partner in Standard Oil, evidently couldn't get a reservation anywhere in Florida so he decided to build his own grand hotel. The Breakers was completed in 1896, burned to the beach in ‘06 and again in ‘25. Not to be discouraged, the Flagler family rebuilt it on a larger, grander scale every time it burned. Insurance scam?. Fast Forward to ‘97 with $56 Million in renovation just completed (the cost of restoring a Ferrari pales to insignificance). Friends let me tell you, this is a very Grand Hotel. If there is anyone out there that this place fails to impress, then I hope they have a single daughter in need of a gentleman escort. My number is (310) 318 8760.
The Breakers Hotel is just the right sort of place for a fine winter-time Ferrari Concours d’Elegance
Cavallino editor John Barnes, classy guy that he is, chose the Breakers as the sight for the Cavallino Classic. Well done John. Now, normally I don't need Florida. Living at the beach, I have all the sun and fresh air one could ask for. But it's been raining here since Christmas! So we loaded up a few cars and headed for the other coast.
A few of the more modern cars at the Ferrari Concours d’Elegance
Not surprisingly, the Classic has become an International "must attend" . This year Japan was represented by Mr.’s Matsuda (340 Mexico s/n 0228AT) and Sasamoto (250 SWB Comp). A smattering of Brit's came over for a bit o' sun and for the first time a large group from the German club made the trek. All vowed to return (with cars and golf clubs) next year.
A unique addition to this year’s event was the Tour de Palm Beach. A wonderfully bright, warm (and dry!) Friday morning greeted 50 plus Ferraris for a winding trip through the best neighborhoods Palm Beach has to offer -- "de Tour" was long on opulent scenery. Let me take this opportunity to recommend driving a 355, as my personal conveyance, a 45 year old race car, found the route a little short on open road and the all-so-critical air flow to the radiator.
All four of the remaining 125/166 Spyder Corsa(s) were on display and the undisputed high point of the show.
Eventually everyone made it to lunch at the Palm Beach Polo Club, with the admirable assistance of the mop up crew provided by Shelton Ferrari. After lunch you had the choice of devoting the afternoon to watching the polo matches or subjecting your car to the detailed scrutiny of the Coppa Bella Machina judging. The emphasis of the Coppa is drivability and functional operation of all systems. The “lose one point and yer'out” scoring really separates the sorted from the merely polished. In the opinion of your scribe the Coppa Bella Machina should be mandatory for any serious concours competition.
Saturday 5:30 am, show time! The day opened with a strong cool breeze, and cloudy skies, later clearing to a positively hot afternoon. When I arrived at the truck it was apparent that, as usual my crew of Gary Fergison and Mike McCarthy had been up all night. Thankfully their hard work would be heartily rewarded later in the evening.
Another view of the earliest Ferrari motorcars, the 125/166 Spyder Corsas.
The Cavallino Classic offered a Ferrari for every taste. My personal preference always runs to the old stuff. Was I in heaven? All four of the remaining 125/166 Spyder Corsa(s) were on display and the undisputed high point of the show. Some of my other favorites were my old friend, the Giugiaro designed Bertone "shark nose" 250 SWB s/n 3269, and the ‘51 Mille Miglia winning 340 America Vignale coupe s/n 0082A.
Steve tried to push the limit of the rules with this entry. The car must have to correct engine, but it doesn’t say anything about having to be in the car!
Congratulations are in order for our west coast contingent. To David Sydorick and his 166 Spyder Corsa s/n 002C, a Platinum First in class, a Coppa Bella Machina and the Scuderia Ferrari Awards. For Mike Yedor's 250GT Lusso, a Platinum First in class, a Coppa Bella Machina, and, would you believe, Best of Show!
Sunday, before the crew rolled the rig out of Palm Beach and headed home, they tied two brooms, brush end up to the mirrors on the tractor. Those of you that are old enough to have been submariners will recognize the time honored flag of a clean sweep.