The Breakers resort in Palm Beach, Florida was established 112 years ago, just two years before Enzo Ferrari was born. Since then both have been highly regarded for their quality and reputation.
Cavallino Magazine has been catering to the Ferrari owner and marque for almost 30 years now and hosts an annual gathering of Prancing Horse-emblazoned racers and road cars in the warm south of Florida. While this event was originally initiated for the owners alone, the public are given the opportunity to stand side by side with these fortunate owners while they take their cars for a few laps around Moroso Motorsports Park and again as they proudly display their machines on the 13th fairway of the Breakers Resort Golf Course.
Enzo Ferrari’s historical life in motorsports took him through several eras of racing beginning with his driving role at Alfa Romeo in 1920. The Cavallino (Prancing Horse) emblem first appeared on an Italian air-force WWI SPAD fighter plane before making its way into Enzo hands and then onto a 1932 Alfa Romeo race car. Enzo continued working for Alfa until 1929 when he created Scuderia Ferrari; the racing division of Alfa Romeo. He went on to hire drivers like Giuseppe Campari and the great Tazio Nuvolari, before starting his own company and racing team. Maserati also has an important history with Ferrari and mother company Fiat but while Alfa Romeo and Maserati are no longer affiliated directly with Ferrari, the Cavallino Classic still recognizes the influence that these two racing teams had on motorsports and their past connection with Ferrari and justifiably include them in the Shell Ferrari Maserati Historic Challenge Series. This series of races begins each year at this event and continues on to four more U.S. locations and five European stops throughout the year with drivers competing for a series championship. Traditionally the racers are split into two classes; drum brakes running for twelve laps, and disk brakes for thirteen laps. This year’s drum brake class spanned over two decades from an Alfa Romeo 8C 35 to a Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder. While the majority of the cars originally campaigned in sports car race series and endurance races of their days, a Maserati 250F of Formula 1 fame, driven by Peter Giddings was dominant on this day.
Unfortunately Moroso isn’t an ideal venue for watching (or photographing) road races like these and the track itself is old and tired and in desperate need of resurfacing, which no doubt kept the entrants to a slower pace than they deserved. Even though some of these cars are worth well over $10 million, the competition is always fierce and occasional contact and run-offs occur. On lap three the No.26 Maserati 200 SI came into the long sweeping turn 4 a bit hot and due to a locked front brake ran off before regaining control on the infield grass only twenty feet in front of yours truly. His return to the race was short lived due to his evident brake issues.
The disk class included some familiar models from past Cavallino races including three 500 hp 512 BB/LM’s. While the BB’s ran away with the lead the most exciting battle running in the middle of the pack was between two equally powered 250 GT SWB Comp’s swapping places several times.
Although the track days culminate with the two feature races, in the practice sessions leading up to the races, any qualified Ferrari owner can take some hot laps in their own street or race car after a standard tech inspection. The most common entries come from past Ferrari F355, 360 and F430 Challenge Series as well as GT cars from recent LeMans series. In addition this year, spectators were treated to some interesting rare examples such as a Maserati MC12 and race-prepared MC12 Corse. A freshly painted, Lewis Hamilton-autographed McLaren F1 also appeared in the paddock but unfortunately wasn’t seen on track. I suspect it would need a Cavallino to qualify.
While the Cavallino Classic is open to entrants of every era, the classics typically steal the show on the upper lawn in front of the Breakers. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the 250 GT California and Tour de France models. While there were several 250 GT variants being created in 1958, it wasn’t until a few years later and heightened confusion that they were given their own nicknames. The California Spyder was available in long wheelbase (LWB) and short wheelbase (SWB) form and the Tour de France received the TdF moniker from its success in the endurance race of the same name. Several California’s were entered and the revered TdF was prominently displayed with four exceptional examples.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, also on the upper lawn were two of Ferrari’s latest creations; the 2008 F430 Scuderia in the racing team’s fresh new colour and a custom arctic white 612 Sessanta. The owner of the 612 also took delivery of a custom 599 GTB in the identical colour scheme, but was hidden away in the VIP parking lot.
Well over a hundred more cars made up many more classes down the fairway including 246 Dino’s, 275 GTB’s, Daytona’s and just about every modern model imaginable.
Best of Show, Competition: 1949 Ferrari 166/195 MM Berlinetta Touring Le Mans S/N 0026 M
Best of Show, GT: 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Pininfarina Cabriolet S/N 0813 GT
Class Sports Sunday
In addition to the customary Mar-a-Lago Sunday luncheon, in previous years the Cavallino Classic was complimented with a multi-marque Concours event; The Palm Beach International, A Concours d’Elegance. For unknown reasons the event only ran for two years in 2005 and 2006. Cavallino introduced a new Sunday event this year held at the Hilton adjacent to the Palm Beach International Airport and titled it Classic Sports Sunday.
The day regrettably began with foul weather which resulted in a lower than expected entrant count. Understanding that new shows like this, although supported by a well-established event, will undoubtedly go through a teething stage, the entrant list was broad to say the least. As was with the Palm Beach International, all entries were well spaced apart on the large parking lot. After viewing so many Ferrari in the preceding days it was a delight to photograph some other European, American and Asian specimens.
Fresh from the factory just days earlier, a Mosler MT900S attracted a lot of attention from the spectators on hand. Built just 15 minutes north of Palm Beach, the MT900S takes some design cues from the Corvette and is powered by a LS6 V8. The Special Class included a wide variety of machines, ranging from a 1951 Connaught to a new Infiniti G37S, to the Radical SR8LM, but it was an intriguing machine from a Dania Beach customizer that caught my lens most. Jason Wenig of The Creative Workshop was commissioned to build a 50’s European racer-inspired roadster with a mix of past and modern technology. The Creative Workshop Sport Speciale was likely the most talked about car in the show, as the question “What is it?” was frequently heard. Powered by a BMW V12 and rolling on authentic Borrani wire wheels, the Speciale is loaded with present-day race engineering including custom electromotive fuel injection and fully adjustable independent dual wishbone suspension. What better way to show off your restoration and coachwork abilities than to create your own example of the famous 50’s and 60’s euro racers.
This being our fourth year in attendance at the Cavallino Classic, we’ve been treated to more Ferrari splendor than most will ever experience in their lifetime. That said, I doubt we’ll ever get our fill and intend on returning year after year for many more years to come. While supporting and competing events will likely return as well, we’re confident that the original Cavallino Classic will maintain the high quality the Ferraristi expect. To see all the splendor for yourself we have assembled slideshows of the Moroso Track Days
, Cavallino Classic Concours d'Elegance
Classic Sports Sunday