Cavallino 26: Classic Sports Sunday @ Mar-a-Lago

The final day of the 26th running of the Cavallino Classic had arrived – Classic Sports Sunday.  Unfortunately, it turned out to be the worst weather day of the five-day event.  The day was cold and dreary with temperatures in the high 40’s to low 50’s and the rain kept whipping the area on and off.  The weather kept some iconic cars away, but fortunately, many adventurous owners were not going to let a few rain drops get in the way of placing their cars on the lawn of the Mar-a-Lago estate.

I decided to seek shelter from the elements underneath the entry pass to the club.  This not only kept me dry, but also provided a great vantage point to capture the cars as they came in through the main driveway.  As the cars began to arrive, I was pleased to see an amazing variety of marques, everything from Ferraris to Rolls-Royces and classic American cars to muscle cars.

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I was especially pleased to see the big and brute classics from the likes of Rolls-Royce, Cadillac and Packard…these were the luxury cars in their heyday and many of their bodies were designed and constructed by private coach-builders.  One car that really caught my attention was a golden brown 1955 Chrysler GIA ST Special with a gorgeous chrome grille and bumpers.

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As it got closer to show time, there was an onslaught of cars coming in one after another.  In came the classic Ferraris, like the 250s, right alongside their younger brothers, like the 365 GTBs, Boxers and 360s.  Catching these cars with the backdrop of the Mar-a-Lago grounds made for some great composition.  I can only imagine what I would have been able to do with a bright sunny day.

I finally decided to move back to the lawn where the cars were being displayed after I realized the rain was not going to go away.  There was no point in playing it safe in the driveway anymore.  I had to challenge myself to shoot under difficult conditions with no protection for my gear other than my poncho and the occasional breaks in the rain.

While I was photographing the cars in the driveway, an amazing 1967 Shelby GT350 came in that I knew I had to see up close.  It was an amazing shade of blue with gorgeous chrome accents and replete with details in the bodywork.  Once on the lawn, I tried shooting it from under an awning with my zoom lens but I could not get the detail I wanted, so I had to play the waiting game.  FINALLY!, the rain stopped and I darted out on the field and was able to capture these shots:

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I wasn’t done reviewing the shots on my camera to make sure I had good images before it started to pour again.  As I waited out the rain, yet again, I was surveying the lawn to decide which cars to run to on the next opportunity.  I set my eyes on the Ford GT, which has not made very many public appearances.

As the day went by, there was no end to the rain in sight.  I congregated with fellow photographers to complain about the crappy day, but also to figure out what cars to shoot during the next break in the rain.  I decided to go for a gorgeous 1937 Cord 812SC Phaeton and a very ‘exotic’ 1953 Lancia Aurelia PF200C that looked like it had a jet engine in the middle.  I also spotted a very cool 1953 Siata 208CS Berlinetta in a blazing teal color, as well as a 1961 Maserati 5000GT Indy and a gorgeous 1959 Mercedes 300D Cabriolet.

As I was moving across the show grounds, I took special notice of a particularly well kept example of a 1958 Jaguar 150 DHC in a stunning red.  I happen to know the gentleman that owns this car and I can tell you this is one of THE finest examples of this car today.  This car has won many awards in all matter of shows and it is possible this is the lowest mileage 150 in existence.

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As the show drew to a close, and amidst the falling rain, the cars began to move out and headed back to the safety of their trailers.  I took cover right next to the valet and waited for the cars to come out for one last chance at shooting them in motion.  Kudos to all those folks that decided to bring their cars out amidst the bad weather, it was certainly appreciated.

I would like to give a big thanks to the Cavallino organization, and in particular to Mr. John Barnes, for giving me the opportunity to cover the event this year.  It is without doubt one of the finest automotive gatherings in the world.  I hope to be able to cover Cavallino 27 next year and bring all of you another recap series of this magnificent event.  Until then, ciao.

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