Every January, and traditionally around the last weekend of the month, the Palm Beach Cavallino Classic in Florida rolls into town; as the name suggests the Ferrari Tifosi and Ferrari owners make the pilgrimage to the warm winter sunshine and spectacular Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach. This was the 27th year of the 5-day event, and which also includes a multi-marque concours/charity fund raiser, namely the Classic Sports Sunday and which is held at the former Marjorie Merriweather Post mansion, Mar-a-Lago, currently owned by President Trump.
The organizers of Cavallino are the same team that publish and own the similarly titled bi-monthly Cavallino magazine - The Journal of Ferrari History - spearheaded by John and Alicia Barnes. Events start on Wednesday with registration at The Breakers and a private test day at Palm Beach International Raceway followed by an opening reception. On the following two days there are some organized road tours as well as track days and practice/racing for the Historic Competition Class. Sadly race entries have dwindled over the years (although the likes of two GTO’s, 3 x 512 BBLM’s, a Tipo B and 8C35 Alfa Romeo are not to be sneezed at) and rumors abound that the racing class may discontinue next year.
Saturday is the all-Ferrari Concorso d’Eleganza held on the Breakers front lawn and golf course, literally a few steps away from the hotel entrance and Palm Courtyard. The top lawn traditionally features the heavyweight vintage Ferraris with many debuting fresh restorations thus vying for top class awards. To qualify an owner must achieve the coveted Platinum Award with a score of no less than 97/100 points. Highly experienced judges use the IAC/PFA (International Advisory Council for the Preservation of the Ferrari Automobile) system to carefully scrutinize the entries. This year and as an added bonus, a group of former “Front Cover/Feature” Ferraris from Cavallino Magazine had been invited to the show and so it was that the Best of Show winner came out of this group with David Sydorick’s famous and truly stunning Zagato-bodied 1957 250 GT Berlinetta taking the top honors (and incidentally a testament to a great restoration as it is now several years old). Of particular interest to me was a contrasting row of three California Spyders preceded by a 250 Testa Rossa and a PF Cab Series 1. The variety of cars on display was outstanding because of the front cover cars display, differing coachbuilders and a good mixture of road and competition models; a particular old favorite of mine was the early light blue 166MM Ferrari with Touring Berlinetta coachwork, chassis number 0026M which famously won the Mille Miglia in 1950 with race number 724. Further down the field amongst the shiny fully restored 275 GTBs, a silver alloy ‘66 example stood out as it was a recent barn find adorned in decades of dust and consequent static patination.