January sees Ferrari’s finest creations gather in Palm Beach, Florida to celebrate the marque during a multi-day activity-packed event. Organized for the fourteenth time now by ‘Cavallino,’ a leading Ferrari magazine, the Cavallino Classic has grown to be one of the most exclusive happenings on the calendar. Unlike many other gatherings, the Cavallino Classic focuses mainly on the owners and their cars with private parties and banquets, although for the two most interesting parts of the event the public was more than welcome. We visited both and have compiled a full report and two 100-shot slideshows.
When Enzo Ferrari started his own company, motor racing was his main focus; and as such, road cars were designed and sold mainly to finance the track efforts. So it is fitting that the five day event started off with some good old racing. A total of four days were reserved at the nearby Moroso Motorsports Park, two of which were reserved for private testing. When the gates opened for public on Thursday, they were treated to two classes with historic racing cars and two dedicated to modern road and racing cars. The historic challenge was divided into two groups, with drum or disc brakes being the determining factor. As has been the case for a number of years now, Maseratis were also welcome, as a result of the recent ‘merger’ of the two companies. Ferrari’s pre-war work as Alfa Romeo’s team manager also allowed a select number of the maroon coloured racers to participate. The modern car class was divided based on the expected speed on the track, with the ‘slower’ drivers assigned to the Sport class and the faster to the GT class.
Three ‘8C 2300’ Alfa Romeos were the oldest cars on track, but by no means the slowest. They were joined in the ‘drum brake class’ by three pontoon-fendered 250 Testa Rossas and a number of Ferrari GT-racers. Maserati was represented by the 200S and 450S sportscars and a 250F single seater. A number of four cylinder engined Ferraris were also entered with the red and yellow 500 TRC and Touring bodied 625 LM as highlights. In the Friday race there was an unlikely battle between the 250F and one of the 250 TRs for the lead. Until technical difficulties forced the single seater to retire, the Maserati looked to take the win. Carlos Monteverde and his Brazilian green-and-yellow livered Testa Rossa was the first to cross the line, followed by Ed Davies in his Ferrari 375 MM Spyder. Unfortunately both Maserati sportscars failed to make it to the track for race day.
The ‘disc brake class’, was a “Ferrari-only” event with entries ranging from a 1960 250 GT SWB to a 1980s 308 GTB Group IV. One of the manufacturer’s most legendary models, the 250 GTO, was represented by three cars, with the Leslie Davies driven 1962 Le Mans class winning car being the most famous. Racers designed in the 1970s dominated the race, with two 512Ms and three 512 BB LMs fighting for victory. They were closely followed by two 365 GTB/4 Daytona Competiziones. In the final qualifying run, the ex-Scuderia Fillipinetti 512M/F caused the biggest incident of the track meet, when a con-rod went astray and caused a large oil fire. Both the driver and the car survived, but the engine will need a complete rebuild. After the lights turned green, Ed Davies’ 512M dominated the race and was shown the chequered flag first. Carlos Monteverde impressed the crowd again, now in his 206 SP, challenging much faster racers, until he was forced to retire when his gearshift linkage broke.
Moroso certainly does not meet the requirements that we now take for granted on modern circuits. For this specific event however, the historic racers blended in nicely with the aging track and facilities. This greatly contributed to the success of the track days, with interesting cars on the track and some good old style racing. For safety reasons related to the track’s declining condition, we were not allowed to work in the usual track-side positions, but with some help from the local staff we managed to capture the event in a 100-shot slideshow
The Saturday is traditionally reserved for a Concours d’Eleganze on the links of the luxurious seaside Breakers Resort in downtown Palm Beach. Ferraris and Maseratis of all ages were on display, ranging from production cars to exclusive one-off coachbuilt examples. Several sections of Ocean Course 10th hole were used to display the cars, with the upper lawn closest to the hotel reserved for the most glamorous entries.
Ferrari is best known for their V12 engined racers and road cars, but a lot of success was scored in the 1950s with the Lampredi designed straight four engine, both in single seaters and sportscars. Four of these took centre stage in the first grouping; a 500 Mondial, a 750 Monza, a 625 LM and a 500 TRC. Except for the Monza, all of them had been raced on the previous days. Both the 625 LM and the 500 TRC had up-rated Testa Rossa type engines, easily recognizable by the red cam-covers. Maserati was equally successful with four cylinder racers, which in down-tuned form were sold as road car chassis as well. A gorgeous Zagato bodied coupe and a Frua roadster of the A6G 2000 model were entered.
The upper lawn also included a rare Zagato bodied long wheelbase 250 GT, which combined beauty with a long list of racing successes. Another interesting example was the 166 Inter Vignale Coupe from the 1950s, which, judging from the cracked and peeled off paint, appeared to be in a completely original shape. The owner regularly uses this stunning car in historic rallies and races, including the Moroso track event.
On the second lawn some of the main attractions comprised large-engined Ferraris of the 50s and 60s. The 1950s were represented by two stunning one-offs; the 375 America Pinin Farina Coupe and the 375 MM Pinin Farina Sport Speciale. This is the last racing (even chassis numbered) Ferrari bodied by the famous coachbuilder. From the following decade came two 400 Superamericas and two 365 Californias, the last ‘production’ Ferrari to be built in very low numbers (14 in total). Standing out from a full class of 275 GTBs were two early competition versions, of which just three or four were constructed. These factory backed cars failed to obtain GT homologation, which effectively terminated factory interest in the GT class.
As with any Concours d’Eleganze, the entered cars were judged on their appearance, importance and history. The cars were arranged in various classes, each of which was awarded a best-in-class price. Despite an awkward location on the concours field, the 375 MM Sport Speciale was named ‘Best of Show GT Ferrari,’ continuing a series of wins after its recent complete restoration. We captured the polished Ferraris and Maseratis in a 100-shot slideshow
Being our first visit, it is hard for us to make a comparison between this year’s event and the previous thirteen, but judging from the reactions of our colleagues, this was one of the better showings. As a celebration of the marque, the Cavallino Classic surely does Ferrari justice. The combination of track days and a concours perfectly emphasize the manufacturer’s two core values: Motor racing as well as technical and aesthetic perfection.