REPORTAGE / Classic Sports Sunday at Mar-a-Lago / Legendary Mansion hosts sporting automobiles

FROM OCEAN TO LAKE wonderful sports and racing cars graced the lawns of Mar-a-Lago, a historic house and private club owned by Donald Trump. The Classic Sports Sunday is a charity event presented at the legendary mansion of Marjorie Merriweather Post in Palm Beach. Reminders of the tropical splendor of old-time Florida abound, and paired with one hundred and twenty vintage and classic sportscars they made for a very special day to benefit the American Council of the Blind Scholarship Fund and the Dreyfoos School of the Arts.

The British class featured both pre- and post-war Rolls-Royce and Bentleys, and was won by Steve Wolf’s 1935 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Binder Body. Excellence in Class was shared between a 1954 Bentley R-Type Park Ward, another Rolls Phantom II by Brewster, and the imposing 1931 Bentley 8 liter of Donnie Gould. Sam Lehrman’s 1934 Packard Twelve Dietrich was Best in Show in the American Class, Robert J. Quiroz’s Mercedes 300 SL won the German Class, and the 1930 Bugatti Tye 35B of Joey Bojalad won the Competition Class.

Reflections on Mar-a-Lago. Photo by Bradley Price.
Reflections on Mar-a-Lago. Photo by Bradley Price.
Photo by Bradley Price.
1938 Alfa Romeo Tipo 8C 2900B Berlinetta, coachwork by Touring S/N 412036 – winner of the 1947 Mille Miglia. Photo by Bradley Price.

This event though, is really about the Italians, and they came in impressive numbers. Simon Moore, Alfa Romeo historian and author, was there to judge a huge class of Alfa Romeo 8C pre-war sportscars. In fact, the entry of these ultra-desirable cars was divided into 2300 and 2900 classes, with the 1933 8C 2300 of Peter Sachs and the 1938 8C 2900B Berlinetta of the Revs Institute taking Best in Class honors in each category. Additionally, the incomparably elegant open two seater 8C 2900 of Sam and Emily Mann won the Peoples Choice ‘Most Elegant’ Award.

Ferrari were well represented of course, and the character of the field was different enough from the Cavallino Concours the previous day that visitors to both events were able to appreciate some amazing cars that perhaps they had overlooked. The People’s Choice ‘Finest Competition’ went to the blue 500 Mondial of Robert Phillips. Chatting with the long-term owner on the lawn, he told me how, in 1963, he drove the car from California to Staten Island New York, in the winter. “I pulled up at a gas station in New Mexico during a snowstorm, but I didn’t need gas as it has the 40 gallon fuel tank for Sebring, I just needed to warm up. I was covered in white snow from the waist up and a scared the life out of the attendant – I think he thought I was a yeti or something!”

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1953 Fiat 8V Supersonic at Mar-a-Lago. Photo by Bradley Price.
1953 Fiat 8V Supersonic at Mar-a-Lago. Photo by Bradley Price.

Resplendent in bottle green metallic on the manicured lawns was the 1953 Fiat 8V Supersonic of Orin Smith, a rare and unusual delight which won the Peoples Choice ‘Most Unique’ Cup, and garnered the Excellence in Class award in the Italian Class.

However, no one could disagree with the winner of this year’s Italian Class, the fantastic black 1924 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A Cabriolet of Jim Patterson, seen here for the first time since it’s Pebble Beach win. It is an incredible car that has been featured on these pages before, and also walked away with the Peoples Choice ‘Best in Show’.

Interior of the 1924 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A Cabriolet. Photo by Bradley Price.
Interior of the 1924 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A Cabriolet. Photo by Bradley Price.
Photo by Bradley Price.
1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia TZ2 with matching yellow trousers. Photo by Bradley Price.

The Classic Sports Sunday at Mar-a-Lago, 24 January at Mar-a-Lago, Palm Beach, USA.

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