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A Walk with a Friend

Chris Des Marais

Volume 48 Issue 4

Feb 19, 2023

Chris Des Marais experiences the Cavallino Classic as a first time owner. Walk with him as he enjoys Cavallino from a new perspective.

    Saturday, January 28th, in West Palm Beach dawned with clouds and a touch of rain.

    It made the owners of Ferraris on display at the 2023 Cavallino Classic a bit worried. Would their prizes need to be covered all day? Or would they get a break?

    Well, a break was indeed delivered as the remainder of the day was cloudy, but nicely warm and breezy.  Perfect weather for viewing some of the finest Ferraris in existence.

    As a new-ish owner myself, attending Cavallino is like a dream come true. It was only my second opportunity to do so and I looked forward to the day with great excitement.

    Ferraris are magical for many reasons, and this is more about the community than the cars themselves.

    Ferraris have a way to open doors to opportunities. They can serve as the initial handshake between strangers who become long lasting friends. For these reasons alone if one has a dream to pursue ownership, please take the leap!

    For me, I have been supremely lucky in my short ownership experience. I’m not your typical owner. I was simply a kid with a dream.

    I saved for over 35 years. Then I hunted for a car.  What that car has brought to me in friendship is worth more than the price paid, and then some.

    The first contact I made as a result of ownership was with legendary independent mechanic Tim Stanford, of Tim Stanford Foreign Cars, Fort Lauderdale.

    Tim is the kind of guy who treats everyone as if they are about to become his new best friend. I am not fully sure why he has taken a bit of a shine to me and tolerates me with often silly questions about my car and how to deal with issues.

    Often, Tim’s best advice has been simply to not make things worse! He has gotten to know me well. I am too ambitious as a mechanic with absolutely minimal mechanical skills.

    So I very much looked forward to the show, because Tim and I agreed that at some point during the event we would get a chance to say hello to each other and chat face to face.

    A great change since all our conversations are via phone. But what really happened that day was even more valuable. The day proved to me how valuable the Ferrari community can be when they welcome you into it.

    I expected to stroll the show field in quiet anonymity. But early on into the day I first bumped into Jim Weed of this very publication.

    Jim and I have only met once before at an event. Jim was clearly busy but he did for sure recognize me and stopped for a minute to say hello.

    I was quite surprised. And pleasantly so! Thanks, Jim!

    Not much more than an hour later, I was standing alongside one of the offerings – and I was recognized by Ms. Cathy Roush, THE face of the Ferrari Market Letter.

    She was doing her usual chassis number collection in her unending quest to document every car that ever left the factory.

    But how amazing that she recognized me and of course it was immediately cemented with a big “Cathy Hug”. So very cool.

    Maybe these two interactions set the tone for the rest of the day. Either way we were off to an impressive start.

    Lunchtime came and passed and while walking the grounds I rounded a corner and finally I was face to face with Tim and his long-time partner Lissa.

    Greeted with a big smile, once again, I felt like a part of the family. Tim, Lissa and I wandered the show field taking in all the beauty and details.

    We of course chatted quite a bit but strolling with Tim is like strolling with a celebrity.

    We couldn’t get more than a few feet when someone would recognize him and need to say hello and catch up on all the latest.

    As a result I got to meet so many highly placed owners within the community. And again the Ferraris worked their magic as all kinds of social barriers melted because we all share the passion for the brand.

    A particularly fun and enjoyable moment for me was when we happened to bump into a busy Tom Shaughnessy.

    Tom, if you are unfamiliar with him, is considered one of the top experts of historic Ferraris and has been a long time judge at many concours events, among many other very notable automotive accolades.

    For me, he’s a bit of a guru. Luckily we have a mutual friend in common who introduced us when my ownership began.

    But we have only chatted by phone or via text. We had not met in person until that moment.

    Imagine my feelings when Tom recognized me!  There I was, in a three way conversation with Tim Stanford and Tom Shaughnessy on the show field of the Cavallino Classic at The Breakers in West Palm Beach.

    Three years ago, this wasn’t even on the list to become a dream…never mind having it actually happen.

    Chatting Ferrari, with two experts who have forgotten more about Ferrari than I will ever know. This community is amazing.

    The day continued with conversations and mutual appreciation for the amazing entrants on display. Seeing the show through Tim’s eyes is an experience I never expected when I decided the time was right to buy a Ferrari, but it actually happened.

    So, if you are reading this fine publication with the idea in mind of taking the leap into ownership, there are  intangible benefits you must know about.

    Ferrari owners are excellent people who want to share their passion with both fellow owners and fans of the brand.

    The experiences you can have through ownership and by connecting inside the community, to me, are as valuable as experiencing the car itself.

    Buy the car and become a friend.

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