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Jim Weed

Volume 44 Issue 24

Nov 24, 2019

  There is a certain enthusiasm that colors the event. Win or lose everybody is there to have a good time and share the experience. There is always some pressure to see how your car compares to others but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter, the goal is to share the passion.

    The Ferrari club annual get-together is often my highlight each year. Sure, Cavallino brings out the rarest and finest in restored Ferraris. Monterey also has its share of beautiful and exquisite Ferrari examples but it is a club meet that brings out a different group of Ferraris.

    There is a certain enthusiasm that colors the event. Win or lose everybody is there to have a good time and share the experience. There is always some pressure to see how your car compares to others but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter, the goal is to share the passion.

    This year’s meet was put on by the FCA Desert Region in beautiful Scottsdale, Arizona. While held much later in the year than most annual meets, the Arizona weather cooperated with perfect temperatures and light breezes. They claim it’s always like this.

    Of course, our production schedule makes it difficult to get away early on a printing week and Tuesday printing would mean a Monday mailing instead of Friday. We left Atlanta Wednesday afternoon and arrived in Phoenix too late to do anything but crash in the hotel and look forward to Thursdays concours.

    A short drive from the hotel brought us to the Scottsdale Sports Complex. Arizona is brown and rocky with scrub brush and cacti; it is desert, so my expectation of Ferraris lined up on green grass was shattered when we saw Ferraris filling the soccer field.

    Time for the Ferrari Market Letter staff to get to work. Cathy is off, clipboard in hand to gather serial numbers. Linda begins to take the first of eight hundred or so pictures for documentation. And I get to schmooze with owners and offer insight or advice about Ferraris or the market.

    I start with the first row showing early cars. There is a 212 Inter with a Ghia body, S/N 0191 EL. First shown at the 1952 Paris Salon then delivered to President Peron of Argentina. It has been restored to perfection; while typical of early Ghia styling it is rather plain but it makes up for it with a striking yellow and black two-tone paint scheme.

    I spy a Ferrari being judged and find Drew Alcazar calmly answering questions by the judging team as they inspect his black 250 GT/L. His Lusso was one of four shown.

    There was a good selection of classic Ferraris. 275 GTBs in all different forms: short nose, long nose, 2-cam, 4-cam and steel and alloy bodies. There was even one of twelve special competition 275 GTB/Cs brought by David MacNeil.

    330 GTCs, 365 GT 2+2s, Daytonas and Dinos were all represented. One of the interesting trends I like is the celebration of Ferraris in non-red colors. There is no doubt that Italian cars and Ferraris, especially Ferraris, look best in red, but not all were made that way.

    Bill Muno had his white 330 GTC. Dennis Pobiak brought a 275 GTB/4 in fly yellow which is a great color for that body shape. Pobiak also had a Daytona Spyder painted in Giallo Solare which is a pale yellow. It really was an unusual color and I would bet the only one made in that color and it must be seen to be appreciated.

    Since I am on unusual colors, there was a 512 BBi brought by Scott Oshry that was painted in Verde Germoglio. Before you go to Google to see what it looks like, it translates to sprout green. I would call it closer to an electric lime green. Probably a typical Lamborghini color but it works on this Boxer. It certainly stood out among the other Boxers on the field.

    There was a 599 GTB in Rosso Mugello that was striking in the bright sunshine. Another 599 GTO was in Argento Nürburgring with a yellow stripe across the hood, reminiscent of a Francorchamps 250 GTO.

    The Tailor Made program allows for incredible personalization and there was a Grigio Silverstone 488 Spider on the field. While the exterior color is pretty tame the interior was yellow. The yellow was not bright in-your-face yellow but more of a subtle mustard yellow. Yellow seats with door panels and all the other interior accents in grigio. I know it sounds hideous but the simplicity of two colors allows Eduardo Venegas to own a unique Ferrari.

    While the Tailor Made program allows a wide variety of colors there was one F12tdf that stood out. The aluminum bodywork was devoid of any color. The body was clear coated directly over the aluminum creating an interesting look into what every modern Ferrari looks like just before it heads to the paint booth.

    There was much to see; I’ve only hit the highlights as I saw them. There were judges inspecting, conversations with owners and other enthusiasts; I believe I can easily say a good time was had by all.

    The evening activity was cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at the Penske Museum. What better place to enjoy the company of other Ferraristi? Located in the Penske Ferrari dealership, racecars from many of Penske’s successes were displayed. While the open bar was popular the promise of morsels to eat was not. Small trays of tidbits did not make it far from the kitchen doors before vanishing.

    Afterward we headed to a steakhouse for dinner which was the plan for most I talked to.

    Friday was track day. Apex Motor Club is a private track located just outside Maricopa, Arizona. About 20 miles southwest of Phoenix proper it is definitely in desert country.

    Apex Motor Club offers future garages with clubhouse. The track will be built in several phases as memberships are sold. Ultimately it will offer a helipad to quickly get from the big city and a karting track to keep driving skills honed.

    The first phase track is complete and features a challenging 2.27 miles of asphalt with wide runoff areas and gravel traps. The grid area is shaded and is pleasant under the warm sun.

    We arrive to find a large number of Ferraris ready to tackle the well-thought-out twisty track. Since the track is new there is uncertainty because no one has had the opportunity to drive on it. It was a great equalizer.

    There were instructors available to show the correct lines though the twelve turns. The front straight was plenty fast, even with the chicane. The turns are very technical with many late apexes. Turn seven is a ‘fishhook’ with the apex so late you might think it would never appear.

    The Ferrari participants were mainly 348s and newer. Clearly the sounds of 458s and 488s are different at full song but both were magical to hear shifting throughout each lap.

    They were very different sounds from the two old cars present. One was Daytona S/N 14235 that was soldiering through the turns. Clearly it was being driven at about 8/10ths and the owner was having a ball. Watching the handling difference between the modern cars and the Daytona makes one realize how far technology has evolved.

    The other was Tefft Smith in his replica 250 TR, created from a 250 GTE. While not a real Testa Rossa it is still a real Ferrari with Ferrari components. You may remember my ride in Smith’s replica GTO at Watkins Glens last year so this year he offered a ride in the TR.

    What a great way to experience this track. While the TR is fast it is no modern car. Through several laps  modern Ferraris pass us and smoothly negotiate the turns. The TR provides a different driving experience with old world slides and cross-correction through the turns. Skinny tires and soft suspension necessitate a different type of driving style.

    Friday evening dinner was Western theme with everyone encouraged to wear their finest cowboy attire. Hats were provided; I wore my boots.

    The group was bused out to the ranch where rows of picnic tables and stations with southwest appetizers awaited.

Quesadillas and chips with salsa and guacamole along with an open bar created friendly lines as we talked about the concours and track. A country band with the requisite fiddle serenaded the crowd.

    Dinner was served with some of the best beef ribs I’ve ever tasted. They were meaty and fell off the bone. Add some potatoes, vegetables and cornbread; it was even better than it sounds.

    As dinner was winding down it was time to do a little dancing. It was fun to be in a group learning line dancing. Andy Fish and Debbie Renolds (yes, her real name) were cutting the rug with some Texas two-step.

    Prior to the Saturday evening banquet a new SF90 Stradale was unveiled. Livered in bright yellow it shows the direction Ferrari is moving with its latest plugin hybrid.

    In 2020 the annual meet will be in Canada. The Canada East Region will host the event in Mont-Tremblant. November in Phoenix was perfect; I imagine July in Canada will be just as nice. See you there.


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