The 32nd annual Palm Beach Cavallino Classic took place in late January, and the assemblage of machinery looked like a blooming flower bed of Ferrari red, yellow, blue, and silver.
Only the very best examples of Enzo’s machines from the brand’s racing and road car history get to attend the Cavallino Classic. This year’s event included 125 Ferraris competing for three major awards: Overall Outstanding Ferrari Granturismo, Overall Outstanding Ferrari Competition Car, and Overall Outstanding Ferrari with “Red Book” Certification. The latter award is for cars with Ferrari’s official certification they’re original and have the same specs as when they left the factory. The rest of the field is gunning for a Platinum Award, which is given to any Ferrari that scores 97 or more from the event’s diligent judges.
This year’s Cavallino Classic began with a track day on Thursday at The Concours Club in Miami. Any owner that wished could “stretch the wheels” of their classic, incredibly valuable Ferrari on the challenging track and watch others do the same. On Friday, the field reassembled for a Tour d’Eleganza around the area’s best driving roads.
The weekend was reserved for the concours d’elegance where all 125 Ferraris gathered on the grounds of The Breakers resort in Palm Beach, Florida for judging. The three best of show winners are truly stunning examples from the brand’s history.
Overall Outstanding Ferrari Granturismo went to a 1956 Ferrari 410 Superamerica owned by Anne Brockinton Lee (above, top), making her the first woman to achieve this at a Cavallino Classic. Meanwhile, a 1953 Ferrari 250 MM Berlinetta Pinin Farina (above, lower left) was chosen as the Overall Outstanding Ferrari Competition car and Overall Outstanding Ferrari with the “Red Book” certification was given to a 1971 Ferrari 512 M (above, lower right).
1949 Ferrari 166 MM Barchetta Touring driven to victory at the 1949 24 Hours of Le Mans by Luigi Chinetti
Guests of the event were also treated to a “Great Ferraris at Le Mans” symposium. During the panel, Luigi Chinetti Jr. recounted how, as a child, he had personally witnessed his father’s victory at the 1949 24 Hours of Le Mans, which was the first international success for the then young house of Maranello. Chinetti Jr. stood just a few meters from that race’s winning car, the 1949 Ferrari 166 MM Barchetta Touring, while he told his story.
The biggest winners of the weekend, though, were the charities supported by the event. Last year’s Cavallino Classic raised a total of $120,000 for charity, and this year’s will hopefully meet or exceed that amount when everything’s counted. The Cavallino Classic Foundation will continue its tradition of supporting the American Council of the Blind; the A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach, whose students sang the National Anthem at the start of the show; and the Piston Foundation, in this case to fund Motor Valley internships for young people wanting to learn how to restore cars. The organizers also supported the local community in the form of a donation to the Palm Beach Police and Fire Department Foundation.
Motor1.com was lucky enough to spend time with Luigi Orlandini, the Chairman and CEO of Canossa Events, who led the effort to put on this year’s amazing show, and ask him anything we wanted.
Disclaimer: Orlandini is also a colleague of ours, as Motorsport Network is the parent company of both Canossa, which owns Cavallino Classic, duPont REGISTRY and Motor1.com.
Motor1.com: How important is the Palm Beach Cavallino Classic within the Ferrari community, particularly among American owners?
Luigi Orlandini: For 32 years, the Cavallino Classic has been the most famous and reputable concours d’elegance exclusively for Ferraris.
Our concours follows the guidelines established by the International Advisory Council for the Preservation of Ferrari Automobiles (IAC/PFA), which is the best approach to evaluate the restoration or preservation of a car and objectively determine our Platinum Award winners.
But Cavallino is also a great occasion to gather in sunny Florida during a great time of the year with people who share a love for Ferrari.
As we say, Cavallino is all about “the greatest of automobiles, the finest of people, the most beautiful of settings, and the best time of year.”
Motor1.com: What can someone attending the weekend-long event expect in terms of living the Ferrari lifestyle?
Luigi Orlandini: The Cavallino Classic runs over four days and has so much to offer: rare and beautiful cars, great people, fine dining, good wines, some action, music (both from the engines and live performers), and more
And there is food for the senses of every type of Ferrari fan: elegant beauties and racing beasts from all eras.
It’s four days packed with passion and smiles in the beautiful town of Palm Beach, where the historic The Breakers resort offers a fantastic experience to all guests.
Motor1.com: How many people does it take to organize and execute an event of this magnitude, and when does planning start each year?
Luigi Orlandini: We had over 100 passionate people working the event and around 80 expert judges, plus the hundreds of people who tirelessly work at The Breakers.
Our team now combines many longtime collaborators of Cavallino with some from Canossa Events, which as you know is the world’s premier automotive event organizer for gentleman and lady drivers.
We have already started working on the next edition of Cavallino Classic for January 2024, with the aim of further elevating the event and providing a flawless experience to all our visitors and Ferrari owners.
Motor1.com: Can you estimate the combined value of all the Ferrari cars that attended this year’s event?
Luigi Orlandini: I’m not an expert in car valuation, but I would say we were well over $700 million.
Motor1.com: Why did the event decide to offer a third prize this year, and why was it for Overall Outstanding Ferrari with the “Red Book”?
Luigi Orlandini: All living things evolve, and our little horse has to evolve too. It is a matter of fact that the “red book” is becoming more and more important for a collector’s Ferrari, and so we felt this new award keeps pace with the times.
This doesn’t mean we are accepting only “certified” cars or that the red book will have an impact on the judges while selecting the two traditional Best of Show awards.
Motor1.com: For our readers who don’t know, what is the “Red Book”?
Luigi Orlandini: It is the certification, issued by Ferrari itself, that the car is original and has the same specs as when it left the factory.
It has become more and more popular in the last decade as it is basically a guarantee of authenticity.
Motor1.com: The event this year included track time, a grand tour rally, and a judged concours event. Which is your favorite part of the whole weekend?
Luigi Orlandini: I couldn’t pick one honestly. Every moment has its flavor and touches certain strings.
What really makes Cavallino unique is having all those elements in the same event.
If I have to answer, the best moment is everytime you meet someone who is happy to have attended. That’s the best reward for myself and my team!
Motor1.com: Besides the three winners, were there other exceptional Ferraris on display that deserve recognition?
Luigi Orlandini: The winners of the Cavallino Classic are all the cars that bring home a Platinum Award: those that scored 97 points or more in the meticulous judging process. All those cars are in perfect condition and are considered “winners.”
Among them the judges have to strive to choose the major awards. That’s a difficult job because they have to pick one among many really exceptional cars.
Having said that, all cars on the field deserve recognition even if the charm of like a 250 GTO is unquestionable.
And, beyond the cars, all the volunteers, judges, and staff members deserve recognition for their effort in making a great event.
Motor1.com: How has the Ferrari faithful responded to the brand’s most recent machines like the V6, hybrid-powered 296 GTB and the Purosangue SUV? Are they embracing change or has there been hesitance?
Luigi Orlandini: Looking at sales numbers, I would say the response is very positive!
Of course it’s a matter of taste. There are those who prefer the jewels from the ‘50s and the ‘60s, those who like the younger supercars, and those who enjoy driving a brand new 296 GTS. And those who like everything, like me.
All of them are “Ferrarista” and there isn’t a right or wrong way to be in love with Ferrari.
Motor1.com: What modern era Ferraris do you think will be winning prizes at future Palm Beach Cavallino Classic events?
Luigi Orlandini: The Cavallino Classic started in Palm Beach in 1992. Today we have cars on the field for judging that are younger than the event itself. And this process will continue as time passes, while the oldest works of art from the past will still be there witnessing the glorious days of this legendary brand.