Cavallino Classic 27
Grand Touring Man
Classic Sports Sunday

Knotty Nawadhinsukh Words by Knotty Nawadhinsukh
Blake Stevenson's 1965 Lamborghini 350 GT topped the Excellence in Class among the Italian cars

President Donald Trump may have ordered for the closing of the Palm Beach International Airport this year which meant that there was no Jet Party by the hangar at the Jet Aviation during the Cavallino Classic 27, but fortunately the Commander-in-Chief’s  opulent Mar-a-Lago resort in West Palm Beach was opened for the last day of the event’s Classic Sports Sunday.

1924 Bentley Vanden Plas Tourer was in the guest list
"We like to be nearer the stage, please”—Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing” Coupes and Roadsters got the priorities this year

Also opened was the beautiful blue, slightly overcast sky—which was unlike last year when at the same time and same place it was teeming down with rain. I remembered that well because I had to photograph all the cars while soaking wet (thereby ruined my favourite pair of Tod’s driving moccasins in the process) with only twenty minutes to spare before another torrential downpour forced me toward a hasty retreat inside the Donald J. Trump Grand Ballroom for the rest of the afternoon. So rather than perusing at all the fine automobiles that were there that day, I had to make do with hefty servings of Eggs Benedicts with sparkling wine and double expresso combinations for brunch instead.

Ferrari 330 GTS also been given a prime spot
"The Yellow Rolls-Royce”—1928 Springfield Phantom

This time around however I was able to take the experience at a more leisurely pace. I had to because the featured marque was Mercedes-Benz, which required much more scrutiny than within a space of only twenty minutes. And so the entire ground was mostly dominated by some of the very best examples of pre-war and post-war Mercedes from various parts of the United States to be there.

“Manual Labour”—look the champagne flute isn’t going knock back by itself, you know
The 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Cabriolet A was the Gentlemen's Choice

These included such gems as the 1937 540 K Cabriolet A (which scooped the Gentlemen’s Choice Award), the 1952 220 Cabriolet A, a 1954 300 Cabriolet D, the 300 SC from 1956, the presidential 300 D (of which only 65 were made in 1960) and right through to the elegant selection of 300SL “Gullwings” and Roadsters plus the later 190SLs and SL “Pagodas”—with a lone McLaren-Mercedes 300SLR to boot—surrounding the poolside.

The 220 Cabriolet A seemed to be just fine on its own
Huge Ferrari ensemble from the Concorso d'Eleganza the day before

While Mercedes-Benz may have taken center stage this year, there was a healthy abundance of British, American and of course, Italian classics to be further appreciated before and after our brunch once more at the Donald J. Trump Grand Ballroom. Among the Italians was of course a sizeable bulk of the Ferraris which starred in the previous day’s Concorso d’Eleganza.

Luxury and class, Palm Beach style
Best of Show 250 GT Zagato was also the Finest GT at Mar-a-Lago

Even though the Classic Sports Sunday was conducted in a much more relaxed atmosphere than the Concorso, with the presentations of the Palm Beach Cups that were based on the voting from all the invited guests, it so happened that David Sydorick’s 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Zagato s/n 0515 GT that won the Best of Show the day before at The Breakers took the People’s Choice Award for the Finest GT here as well. As for the Finest Competition car, that went to the 1953 Ferrari 250 MM Pinin Farina Berlinetta s/n 0258 MM which had just won the Concorso’s Competizione Cup, while the “Personal Favourite” prize went to another Ferrari, a 1949 166 MM Touring Barchetta s/n 0006 M that belonged to Brian Ross.

The 166 MM Touring Barchetta s/n 0006 M (Left) got the most "Personal Favourite" votes
Diminutive Ferrari 212 Export Vignale Spyder being dwarfed by its 375 America Pinin Farina big brother

Rest assured though that not all of the major awards were swept up by Maranello’s finest as John and Alicia Barnes, the entire event’s hosts, presented the main Palm Beach Cup for the Best of Show to a supreme 1929 Duesenberg Model J LeBaron Dual Cowl Phaeton from the Sam Lehrman Collection.

1929 Duesenberg Model J LeBaron Dual Cowl Phaeton won Palm Beach Cup Best of Show
Art deco Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental deservedly was Most Elegant

As for the Most Elegant car that afternoon, that honour went to the a rare Binder-bodied Roll-Royce Phantom II Continental from 1931, while among the majority of the ladies who attended, they much preferred the 1939 Lagonda V-12 Drop Head Coupe “Lipstick” as their favourite.

The Packard 120 Darrin Convertible was also part of the American contingent
“What a cool cat you are”—and the Jaguar XKE didn’t look too bad either…

Apart from all that had been mentioned there were assortments of Lamborghinis, Jaguars, Bentleys, Rolls-Royces, a Bugatti T35B, two Triumphs, a pretty Alfa Romeo 1900C SS by Zagato and a pair of Packards. They were all present, vying for Marque Awards in their respective categories that a Committee of Honoured Judges had to ponder over and select for most part of the morning before they are entitled to have their first meals.

Lamborghini Miura S and the Urraco (Behind) were also part of the programme
White Countach 25th Anniversary looked like it came out from one of the episodes of "Miami Vice"

What stood out for me was a 1965 Lamborghini 350 GT—a personal favourite—which came along with an Urracco, the Miura S and a very “Miami Vice” Countach 25th Anniversary. The British representations were out in force too with a pair of Jaguar E-Types and a 1958 XK-150 DHC which were alongside a 1965 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III, another earlier Silver Cloud III DHC with Binder body and a 1952 Bentley Mark VI by Pinin Farina which got my vote as the most elegant at the show (and eventually won Excellence in Class award, as it turned out).

This British Bentley Mark VI came wearing an Italian outfit
The XK-150 DHC took Best in Class for its pristine condition

The entire proceedings of Classic Sports Sunday for Cavallino 27 has kept me occupied since the early morning until the late afternoon. I was one of the lasts to grudgingly depart from Mar-a-Lago before having to get ready to return home the next day. Undoubtedly it was far more fulfilling than the twenty minutes that I managed before!

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"As long as the bar's still open, I might as well be here for a while..."