Wednesday
Jan272010

2010 Palm Beach Cavallino Classic

On Track Photo Gallery
Concorso d’Eleganza Photo Gallery

The 19th Annual Palm Beach Cavallino Classic was held in Palm Beach, Florida at The Breakers Resort Hotel, on January 19 to 24, 2010. This extraordinary event is a six day convention for Ferrari owners and enthusiasts and their 400 Ferraris.

The Cavallino Classic is regarded as one of the top four automotive events in the world, along with the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the Villa d’Este Concorso d’Eleganza and the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.

I made it a point to get to Cavallino Classic this year and thanks to my friend Fritz Kloepfel, it didn’t slip by me on the calendar. It’s all about Ferraris. In fact, it’s ‘the’ Ferrari gathering in North America. You’ll get no argument from me.

Benefiting from the Palm Beach Cavallino Classic are several important charites: The Children’s Wish Foundation, the Boys and GIrls Club and the American Council of the Blind Scholarship fund.

There were several features about the Cavallino Classic that struck me as “cool.” The first segment of the event takes place Thursday and Friday at the Palm Beach International Motorsports Park. Over 120 competition Ferraris revive memories of days gone by, as their owners let them loose again in a race course setting. For two days the Ferraris take to the track; both new and old. It was the old that really grabbed my attention. No disrespect to the newer cars, but I guess my day job leaves me a bit jaded to being a spectator at track-days.

All the cars got to circle the road course in groups. The historics, however, did proper qualifying and ended the day Friday with wheel-to-wheel racing.

The older cars were very cool. And trust me, the photos don’t really do them justice. It’s all about the sound. Man those old Ferraris sound good. And sheet metal that’s been formed as opposed to stamped reminds you these cars were crafted by human hands. Even the sparse interiors with old tired leather and wood steering wheels… you just know there was no CAD/CAM involved here. These are cars built by innovative guys relying on their gut feeling and experience in order to go fast.

Of course, the high point of the week is the Concorso d’Eleganza. The presentation is staged on the front lawn of The Breakers Resort Hotel, on Saturday. No less than 150 immaculate Ferrari automobiles are judged by leading international experts for originality and elegance, and competing for Class Awards and the important Major Cups, as well as The Cavallino Cup for Best in Show.

My personal observations, while overall positive, are a bit mixed regarding the two portions of the events I attended.

From the outside looking in, the show feels a little more geared toward the participants and not the casual spectator. For instance, I felt at least the historic portion of the track event could have been a tighter show with respect to the paddock displays and providing information about the cars in attendance. I’m by no means an aficionado of Ferrari. I would have liked to have come away with more knowledge of the cars.

The Concorso d’Eleganza is beautiful. Seriously, the Breakers makes for a spectacular setting offering an elegance and charm that suits the show content to a tee. Though I do have to question the number of cars. Certainly each car was beautiful in its own right. But let’s face, some are more beautiful than others. I felt, in this instance, less cars would have been even more spectacular.

If I had to guess, this show might just be a victim of its own success. While the Breakers is the perfect venue… and I wouldn’t move it anywhere else, things are a bit tight. Many of these cars deserved more space and more attention. Again, I’m not convinced that “more” is better in this situation. I would have really liked to see each car with more of an individual “stage” if you will.

My personal comments are meant in no way to deter you. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The event is a very ambitious undertaking and credit must be given to those that make it happen. In summary… the Palm Beach Cavallino Classic is an event to add to your bucket list. I would go again and again… it truly is that good.

Unfortunately, results from the racing and the Concorso judging weren’t available at the time of this report. If they do become available, they will be added.

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