By: Michael Yedor
Sunrise, dark and cloudy, the morning looked like rain. I removed the cover on my 1964 Lusso to see the greeting of its smile. Somehow the car knew we were about to take off on an outing.
Warming up the car prior to departing, I checked all of the gauges to be certain everything was operating in good order before taking off on what later turned out to be an absolute terrific trip. The plan was for all of us to meet at the Ontario Marriott to receive our briefing, maps and other pertinent information for the club's (FOC and FCA) first combined Death Valley run. We were briefed by Tino Mingori, who gave us the rundown for the trip. Prior to departing from the Ontario Marriott, Tino suggested that someone volunteer to follow the other members to the first check point to help anyone with problems along the way. I volunteered with the Lusso. Everyone in the group looked at me as if I were crazy, having the oldest car. I definitely got the feeling everyone felt the Lusso was no up for the job. Just for the record, not only did the Lusso perform 100% the entire trip, it ran like a top. I have all the confidence in the world driving the Lusso anyplace, as it runs better than the day it was built.
Michael Yedor and his 1964 250 GT Lusso in front of the oasis in the desert that is the Furnace Creek Inn.
We had an interesting mix of cars, ranging from 308s, 348s, TR, GTC/4, Boxer, Daytona, a new Porsche, a Mercedes sedan, and the Lusso, all making for an interesting group of personalities. My driving companion was my father, CY Yedor.
The first leg of the trip took us to the world's largest thermometer where we stopped by Bun Boy for lunch. After lunch we all took off for the second leg of the trip with our plan to stop approximately one hundred miles from our final destination, the Furnace Creek Inn in Death Valley. We were all able to truly enjoy our cars and what they were built for, driving them hard and fast. Tino, myself and the mysterious Porsche were all leading the rest of the group. Everyone was driving at a pace that they were personally comfortable with. Tino and I had our own agenda. I was in front of Tino most of the time averaging speeds ranging from 125 MPH up to 150 MPH and boy was it fun! I know all of the club members really enjoyed having their cars perform for them.
After the end of the second leg my father suggested that I take a new member who presently did not own a Ferrari for a ride with me in the Lusso for the balance of the trip while he rode in the Mercedes. I can personally tell you that my new companion for the last leg of the trip is now truly a believer in Ferraris. He is presently on the hunt to purchase a new car and plans to attend events and become active with our club.
No one in the Ferrari group received any tickets on the way up. (I think). However, I did pass a C.H.P. car going the other direction at approximately 130 MPH when my radar detector went off. The C.H.P. immediately put on his lights and was attempting to turn around when he ran into the rest of the pack in, you guessed it, red Ferraris. I can only assume that the reason I did not get a ticket was because of luck and the fact that there were ten other red cars behind me. I'm sure the officer had greater interest in the other cars.
After arriving at the Furnace Creek Inn, we all checked in and relaxed until dinner. Prior to dinner we all attended a wine tasting that was arranged by Tino and the FOC. Thank you Tino, as we all truly enjoyed it. Thereafter we all got together in groups for dinner in the main dining room of the hotel which, I might add, was quite good. The only problem was a few of us did not pack sport coats , which were mandatory in the dining room. We lucked out with the front desk providing us with custom fit vintage food-stained jackets.
Ferrari Owners Club and Ferrari Club of America members pose in Death Valley with their cars and bath robes provided by the Furnace Creek Inn (the robes, not the cars).
The following day we all split into various groups and went touring Death Valley. We went to Scotty's Castle, which is simply amazing and should be a must see if you ever go to Death Valley. Again, I was able to get the Lusso up to speed and all I can say is it was just fun, fun, fun!!!
After spending the day with Scotty's ghost at his castle we returned to the hotel to prepare for a real western BBQ. Everyone was dressed in country western duds. We all enjoyed the food, music and evening. The following morning after breakfast we decided to do a group photo with everyone in bathrobes standing next to their cars. You should have seen the look on people's faces as we assembled for this photo.
I highly recommend this trip to all club members, as it was a great deal of fun with a great group of people. I hope other members from the FOC and FCA can continue these events as they are more fun than you can imagine. We enjoyed meeting the FOC members and spending time with them. They are a great group of people. By the way, not to overlook the Furnace Creek Inn. It's right out of a time machine with all modern comforts and services, of which I highly recommend.