Cavallino Classic 2023
Volume 48 Issue 4
Feb 19, 2023
Cavallino is filled with special cars. Jim sees several that are extra special.
In most years, my recap of the Cavallino Classic experience would lead. What I received from Chris Des Marais floored me.
He elegantly put into words the way I feel about every Ferrari event I attend. Yes, there are Ferraris. Ferraris, I may, or may not, have ever seen before. Special cars and the common. (Dare I say there are any common Ferraris!)
What I love about every event is the people. The owners, whether long-time Ferraristi like Jack Thomas or a newcomer like Chris Des Marais, all are welcome and all are equal when we are enjoying Ferrari art.
I too met and talked to many owners. I saw many I just couldn’t get to and say HI! Some I think I will see again later and it doesn’t happen. Others are spotted from afar and I think as soon as I’m done here, I’ll head that way.
Of course, the trip is filled with many more conversations along the way.
I was asked several times during the day “What have you seen that you never expected or have never seen before?” That was a difficult question to answer.
Many of the cars have been to other shows. Others I may not have seen before, but I have seen that model previously. After forty-five years I’ve seen a lot.
But there are always surprises. 410 Superamerica S/N 0483 SA was on the upper croquet lawn. I first saw this car at the FCA Annual Meet in 1978 at Road Atlanta. I was new to Ferraris and the owner, Don Dethlefsen, had a little booklet made up with history and photos of the car.
I loved that little booklet and still have it today. I was impressed with the styling and elegance of design of the car. I had never seen anything so beautiful in my life. If I hadn’t been hooked on Ferrari by that time, I was, and have been ever since.
Now owned by Anne Brockinton Lee, it was amazing to see it again after so many years, looking as spectacular as ever, despite the passage of time.
I’ve mentioned it before, seeing some of these cars is like meeting an old friend. Sometimes it pays to keep a few serial numbers in your head.
A Ferrari I had not seen before was 250 GTO, S/N 3647 GT. I have seen many GTOs at Cavallino and other events. This one has been around race tracks its entire life and is not usually seen on a concours field.
3647 was originally owned by John Surtees, and raced hard during its first five years with various owners. After retirement it came to America and became another used-up old race car until 1972 when it was purchased by Jim McNeil.
McNeil’s wife, Sandra enjoyed it on tracks from coast to coast driving it as it should be, all out, and having fun doing it.
Maintained but never restored, this GTO is representative of how these cars looked in period. Paint flaking off, dents pounded out, polished floor pedals with dirt around the edges of the floorboards.
When we see Ferraris today at the show, we forget there was a time when these were considered just cars. Cars used to race and win, or to get groceries, or drive to weekend getaways. They were not made to become static pieces of art.
Jim McNeil owned S/N 3647 for fifty years. Unfortunately, he passed away in December but his car has a new caretaker.
Chris MacAllister has owned a Ferrari Formula One car for years. He has exhibited and raced it many places. It would be natural that he would end up with this piece of history and I’m sure he will continue to use and enjoy McNeil’s GTO, as is.
Keeping with what I thought was special on the lawn at Cavallino is a 330 GTC Speciale, S/N 10107. At first glance this Speciale looks like a 365 GT 2+2 with different taillights.
Then the details begin to show. Rear sail panels similar to the Dino, hood grilles like the 365 GTC and hideaway foglights like on the 365 California. Even the nose is shaped with better lines than either the GTC or 365 GT 2+2.
Pininfarina made four of these Speciales and this was the first time I had seen one in person. While photos of this car show how special it is, to see it in person was even better.
Each Ferrari is special, and I enjoyed looking at them all. The Cavallino Classic brought a number of fantastic cars together. I’m looking forward to next year!