AN INTOXICATING MIX of temperate winter weather, a world-class hotel and the very finest vintage cars, turned Palm Beach into Octane heaven for four magical days this January. Owners of some of the rarest and most desirable cars in the world took advantage of Florida’s perfect winter climate to take their cars out on the public roads for the various events of this year’s Cavallino Classic.
Palm Beach International Raceway hosted the Cavallino Classic Historic Competition Races for Ferraris, with Alfas, Maseratis and Bugattis also allowed by special invitation. Given the competitive state of current vintage racing, this was a rare opportunity for historic racing Ferraris to be out on track with equal machinery. It was an absolute joy to see these cars being raced in relatively period spec.
Tom Price won the Disc brake race in his glorious 250 GTO with a spectacular drive through torrential rain in a group which included several newer and faster cars such as the 512 BB/LMs (which chose not to brave the deep standing water on their wide tires). In the Pre-war class the ex-Nuvolari Alfa P3 of Peter Giddings and the Alfa Monza of Peter Greenfield were inches apart lap after lap as both drivers fishtailed out of every corner, with Greenfield taking the win on the final lap. Bryce Davies’ 375 MM Spyder won the drum brake race in style.
The Concorso d’Eleganza on the Lawn at The Breakers was the centerpiece of the Cavallino event. The palatial resort with its 140 acres of manicured grounds served as a fitting backdrop for some of the finest Ferraris and Alfa Romeos in existence, from ex-Mille Miglia competition Alfas to coachbuilt one-off Ferraris.
As the final cars were being ushered into position, Andrew Longe, Porsche GT3 racer and test driver for the Revs Institute, roared onto the lawn in Miles Collier’s 1948 Ferrari 166 Spyder Corsa – “This is the first competition Ferrari ever to come to the United States” he said as he leapt out to shake my hand. It was also an ex-best in show winner here at Cavallino, as organizer John Barnes explained to me – “For the event’s 25th anniversary we decided to bring together all 24 of the previous Best In Show winners for a special display.”
Strolling over to the previous winners I found myself together with Jeremy Jackson Sytner, organizer of the Concours of Elegance at Windsor – drinking in the sight of all of these incredible cars in silent admiration. Praise comes no higher.