Hedonistic millionaire Jay Gatsby from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel of the same name would have been right at home there. Private jets, luxury yachts, five-star hotels and cars among the most celebrated in the world. These are the trappings of the jet-set crowd in attendance at the automotive event of the year, the Cavallino Classic, which took place in late January. This unparalleled gathering has been held every spring for the past 23 years, in Palm Beach, Florida, the most exclusive seaside resort in America. Mixte Magazine was there, as were some 400 owners of the most beautiful Ferraris ever made.
50th ANNIVERSARY OF THE 275
Among these, the prestigious 275 series was the guest of honour, and rightly so, as it celebrates its 50th anniversary. The Pininfarina GT coupe was marketed in 7 versions, for a total of 804 vehicles from 1964 until 1968.
The memorable weekend began on a Friday evening with a cocktail reception in a hangar of the local airport, where it wasn’t clear which was the bigger draw: the custom made private planes or the collectable cars. One thing is certain: the rarest Ferraris at auction could command prices comparable to the cost of a private jet.
The second part of the Cavallino Classic was held at the Palm Beach International Raceway, where Ferraris were in their element, competing for honours in a series of races said to be ‘friendly’, but where some drivers don’t fear pushing their cars to the limit, sometimes with outcomes resulting in costly repairs.
The grand finale was the exhibition of the finest specimens of the Italian brand on the lawns of The Breakers, the legendary Palm Beach seafront hotel in the Italian Renaissance style, recreating the atmosphere of the luxurious hotels of Saint-Tropez. This year, no fewer than 24 Ferrari 275 GTB owners (including a first-time Quebec participant) responded to the invitation of the organizers to showcase their prized possession.
We even crossed paths with the owner of the famous flea market in Fort Lauderdale, Preston Henn, who some years ago, for $ 7,000, acquired one of the rarest models in this series, a 275 Corsa – only 4 models were built at the request of importer Luigi Chinetti. Rumour has it that Henn refused an offer of $53.7 million from the Ferrari Factory, eager to secure for the Museum one of only four cars made.
To put the 275 GTB in context, I refer the reader to a piece I wrote on the subject in the 1970 Guide de l’auto. I’m very proud to have predicted at that time that the car was destined to become an automobile classic. “Driving in its most beautiful expression” was another of the sentiments in the article that recalled the Colombo V12 300 horsepower 3.3 liter, manual 5-speed gearbox, and a lightweight 1200 kg alloy frame accounting for speeds of 265 km/h and 0-100 km/h acceleration in 5.9 seconds, which even fifty years later, are still very respectable numbers.
In paying tribute to this iconic automobile, the 2014 edition of the Cavallino Classic assumed its proper vocation and role: to showcase the finest examples of the automobile through time. And so much the better if it’s Ferrari as standard bearer.
with the collaboration of Richard Petit