Palm Beach Cavallino Classic 27
“You would not be a self-indulgent weiner, sir—you’d be a connoisseur”—Gone in Sixty Seconds
The movie itself was so-so, but I always love that line. Because in a nutshell, the quote aptly describes what Cavallino Classic is all about. Of course there will always be several of the “I saw three of these parked outside the local Starbucks this morning” (as Nicolas Cage complained in the film) at the event. But overall it is the biggest annual gathering of some of the most historically significant Ferraris from around the world. Perhaps you could always seek the alternative of traveling to Italy instead, pay the 26 Euros for a tour of the factory in Maranello and then the museum in Modena which also housed other great Ferraris as well—but it still would not come close.
Set amidst the opulent environment of Palm Beach in Florida during the last week of January, the Cavallino Classic kicks off one of a handful of world-class automotive shows for the rest of the year that are out there. Aside for being held in obviously classier and more elegant neighbourhood than most other places, it is the exclusivity and the privilege of being able to see the very best and rarest Ferrari collection in private hands up-close that sets it apart. To the point that during the 70th Anniversary of Ferrari in Maranello this year in September, many of the cars shown prior at the Cavallino Classic were personally invited to be present in order to illustrate the Company’s long and legendary history more justifiably.
For many years, Cavallino Classic encompasses two full track days for practice and the racing of vintage as well as contemporary Ferraris at the nearby Palm Beach International Raceway. The 26th edition in 2017 was no different, with the sights and sounds that reverberate in the paddock as much as on the track that ranged from GT racers, such as the glorious 250 GTO, 250 GT Tour de France, the 250 GT SWB, to later racing cars such as the 512 BBLM or the newly restored Dino 206 SP prototype. There is nothing like hearing the iconic sound of Italian V12s in full-chat which, just for that alone, can make the trip entirely worthwhile.
There were many glamourous by-invitation-only parties during the week, such as this year’s Jet Reception which was held right next to the runway of the Palm Beach International Airport. Here, a selection of Ferraris entered for the coveted Concorso d’Eleganza on the weekend are previewed and flanked by the world of private aviation such as Gulfstream and Falcon as well as other “toys”, with helicopters and even a personal submarine among them for the guests to play with. The week certainly lived up to being one of the most anticipated soirées among South Florida’s high society.
It is during the weekend in which the fun really begins at the Palm Beach Cavallino Classic and there cannot be a better piece of property than the historical Breakers Hotel to start it off. More like a monument rather than just another resort, The Breakers is the annual venue of the Concorso d’Eleganza. Here, hundreds and hundreds of faithfully maintained Ferraris from the world over who have entered are sprawled across the lawn and on the first fairway of The Breakers Golf Course. Every concours judges have the task of going through each car one-by-one to determine which would be considered as the best in their respective categories as well as the overall Best of Show. During Cavallino Classic 26, the featured model was the Ferrari Dino which celebrated its 50th birthday in 2017 and it was a delight to see its many variants, from the 206 to 308 GT4 in immaculate conditions that had turned up.
While the concentration has been only on the Prancing Horse for the most part, the brunch at Mar-A-Lago Club for the Classic Sports Sunday served as a nice conclusion to the entire week, where rare classic Pre-War and Post-War show-condition automobiles mingled with the Ferrari show winners from the previous day for the benefit of the invited guests.
The Palm Beach Cavallino Classic 27 on 24th to 28thJanuary, 2018 promises to be another memorable one similar to previous years, with slight changes to make the spectacle even better. New for next year will be a Tour of Palm Beach where it would be quite a sight to see the very best Ferraris in the world parading around this glitzy resort town, with vintage Mercedes-Benz models on display as the Featured Marque on Classic Sports Sunday.
But it is not just about merely seeing the cars that make Cavallino Classic several notches above the rest. Speaking from experience, it is also about immersing yourself in a more civilised surrounding with the type of crowd who shares the same real passion for the life of luxury and great beautiful machines as you do. This is about as Ferrari connoisseurship as you ever going get once a year.
“Self-indulgent weiner” need not apply.