Cavallino Lecture Series 2016
One of my favorite weeks each year is spent at the regal Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, FL for the Cavallino Classic, an all Ferrari Concours. For this car enthusiast, it is second only to Pebble Beach Week in California.
A special feature at Cavallino is the Thursday morning Cavallino Lecture Series. It features several Concours entries and their owners or restorers giving a hands-on talk about each car’s history and restoration. The lecture starts inside the Breakers Hotel in one of the grand meeting rooms with some general information about each car.
Then we move outside (ocean side) onto the Ponce Promenade at The Breakers Hotel for more details and a close-up inspection of the Ferraris, and a question and answer segment.
This year’s first Lecture Series car is known as The Admiral’s Ferrari. In 1960 Rear Admiral Robert A. Phillips, USN (Ret.) and his wife HelenAnn purchased the 1955 Ferrari 500 Mondial Series II Scaglietti (s/n 0556MD) for$2,225. The Spyder had just completed a competitive life as a Ferrari team car and was sitting, unremarkable, in a car lot. Admiral Phillips has researched, fixed and raced the 4-cylinder race car until it underwent a full restoration beginning in 2000. The car has won top awards at Ferrari Club, Cavallino and Pebble Beach Concourses.
The Admiral is the quintessential Ferrari owner, driver and enthusiast.
Watch a beautiful film by Petrolicious of Admiral Phillips driving in Monterey, CA The Admiral”s Ferrari
The second car discussed at the Cavallino Lecture Series was the 2015 Ferrari Club Concours Best in Show; a 1963 Ferrari 400 SuperAmerica Pinin Farina Coupe Aerodinamico Prototipo (s/n 2207SA). Fourteen 400 SuperAmerica aerodynamic coupes were built by Ferrari and Pininfarina (Battista Pinin Farina legally changed his name to Pininfarina in 1961) between 1960 and 1962.
Lee Herrington discussed the essentially four transformations of this Superfast II as master stylist Aldo Brovarone and Battista Pinin Farina himself changed and recreated the car. SN 2207 was first shown at the Turin Auto Show in November, 1960 though without a motor. The Superfast was shown in white with a black stripe along the length under the side molding, had rear fender skirts, no rear view mirrors (inside or out), and a black leather interior with a white headliner.
The car then went to the Brussels Motor Show in January, 1961. For this showing it picked up a 4L V12 motor, small air vents on the fenders, a chrome trimmed hood scoop, mirrors, and other bits. In May, 1961 the car was sold to and used by Battista Pinin Farina himself. Minor changes included vent windows and wind deflectors. In late 1961 Weber carbs replaced the Solex carbs and the interior was reupholstered in white, a la Coco Channel. This is how the car was presented at Pebble Beach and the Ferrari Club Concours in 2015 by Lee and Joan Herrington.
After this version the car was painted metallic green with a red/green two-tone interior. Then the B-pillars were removed, various other bits were changed, an unfortunate four headlights replaced the innovative pair of retractable headlights, then replaced by a single mounted pair, and the nose was changed.
In its life the car was painted blue, then gold, then blue again. In 2005 s/n 2207 was rescued in France by Herrington. Motion Products Inc. in Wisconsin restored the SuperFast to its current beautiful condition.
The third car discussed at the Cavallino Lecture Series has not had a ‘restoration’. Three time Pebble Beach Best-in-Show Winner and numerous awards recipient restorer Paul Russell of Paul Russell & Co., shared his insights on this gem. This was the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider from the rural France ‘barn find’ Baillon Collection. This was a collection of nearly 100 cars saved from the crusher by Roger Baillon, a French transport magnate who intended to one day put the cars on display in a museum. 59 of the cars, including the 250 Cal Spider, went to auction at Salon Retro Mobile in Paris in 2015. This Cal spider has the highly desirable covered headlights, one of just 37 made, and sold for a record-breaking and higher-than-expected $18.5M.
When it was found in the barn the car was under a pile of old magazines and boxes. Thus the delicate rear lid is badly dented. The bumpers are wrong. The windows can not be rolled down as there is no block or frame left due to corrosion to stop them. The car has been painted 5 or 6 times. It did not come with tools or books. And yet, so what?
The question Paul Russell posed to the listening enthusiasts, including Marcel Massini – noted Ferrari historian; Should the owner restore this car? Yes. I heard it from n”ere everyone, including noted restorer Patrick Otis. Although the chassis, engine and drive train are original to the car, the other bits on the 1961 Cal spider are not (paint, chrome, and wheels, for example). I suspect we will be seeing this car in a much different condition in some years.
There is no charge for this event; yet the cars, the knowledge shared by the restorers and owners, and the enthusiasm of the crowd, is incalculable.