Cavallino 26: Thursday @ Palm Beach International Raceway

Every January Ferrari owners and enthusiasts from around the world head to Palm Beach, FL, for one reason – the Cavallino Classic.

For the last 26 years this Ferrari quasi-convention has made the Palm Beach area its home for what is considered to be one of the premiere automotive gatherings in the world.  The 5 day event is a must for any automotive enthusiast with every year celebrating a different model.

Although I have attended Cavallino for many years, I had the privilege of attending as a member of the media for the very first time this year.  This is the first of a four-part series of short articles that will showcase the week’s main events; the track days on Thursday and Friday at Palm Beach International Raceway, the Concorso d’Eleganza on the front lawn of the Breakers Hotel on Saturday, and finally the Classic Sports Sunday concours at Mar-a-Lago.

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Thursday morning was filled with great anticipation as I drove up to Palm Beach from my home in Miami.  Since one never really knows what’s going to show up from year to year, your mind really wonders.  I drove straight to the Breakers Hotel to register and retrieve my passes for the events of the next few days.  With passes in hand I promptly headed to PBIR for a day filled with awesome cars, music from V12 engines and the scent of high octane fuel.

The event passes themselves were like mini works of art; nicely detailed postcards depicting past issues of Cavallino Magazine.  It’s a shame that most of these ended up being torn in half when presented at the entrance to the events.

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Upon arriving at PBIR and entering the paddock area of the track, I was pleasantly surprised to see the array of cars present.  There was a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO (s/n 3455GT) in its now classic Swedish national livery sitting right next to a 1958 Ferrari 412 MI (Monza Indianapolis) (s/n 0744MI), both incredibly rare.

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As I walked around I also spotted a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB #22 (s/n 2291GT), a 1958 Ferrari 250 GT LWB TdF #50 (s/n 0881GT), a 1959 Ferrari 250 GT TdF #11 (s/n 1321GT) and even a 1960 Maserati TIPO Bird Cage.  I’m still in awe of the astonishing condition of these cars, truly one of a kind examples.

As the morning progressed, cars started hitting the track and stretching their legs.  There really is nothing like hearing a vintage Ferrari V12 at full song as it bolts through the track. Seeing the forces of inertia at work through the suspensions as the cars go through tight corners really puts into perspective how far automotive technology has come.  A 1966 Ferrari 206 SP Dino (s/n 026) made its way around effortlessly around the track with a couple of the 250’s in chase.


Later in the day there were a few other groups that went out on the track.  There were a couple of BB512’s tearing up the asphalt that were joined by a 365 GTB/4 Daytona Competizione, the Maserati Bird Cage and even a 1934 Alfa Romeo Tipo B P3, one of the earliest cars to wear the prancing horse badge.

On top of seeing vintage Ferraris race around in all their glory, I also had a chance to see a couple of the ‘Super Ferraris’ from the modern era share the track with them.  Being an 80s kid the F40 really sealed the deal for me as a young kid so seeing it is always a treat…

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…but seeing the F50 for the very first time in magazines when I was 15 really turned my world upside down.  In my opinion, it’s the most beautiful of the modern Ferraris, including its younger brothers, and I am in awe every time I see it.

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While it was a real treat to see the F50 thunder around the track as well as all those magnificent 250’s, as the day went by there were more and more special cars making their way through.  There were a couple of Dino’s rolling around the grounds as well as a few 348’s, 360’s and 328’s (one of which was painted in a gorgeous shade of blue), and there was also a gorgeous 365 GTB/4 Daytona in an immaculate shade of red.

Even though the Thursday track day wasn’t replete with cars as in years past.  It was nevertheless an exciting first day.  As I headed home for the day accompanied by the setting sun, I wondered what the next day would bring…stay tuned for Friday’s recap!!!

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