You might wonder how Ferrari has become the most profitable automaker and here’s one clue–they have some of the world’s most astute marketers, who have worked out which of the world’s car events to tie in with. In North America they have zoomed in on the Pebble Beach Concours, an event that goes back to 1950, and created their own concours right next door, with their own buildings adjoining a golf green and just a 5-minute walk from the legendary Pebble Beach Concours.
The mind blower is that, unbelievably, unlike the PB concours it’s free, yes FREE! It starts with a parade on Saturday at 2pm where the Ferraris bound for the Casa are going slow enough to photograph and then they park cheek by jowl on the green and the public is allowed to peruse the cars as much as they wish.
No rope around the cars but alas no signs to tell what model they are or what races they ran. We even saw a real 250GTO, worth more than at least 60 cars in the Concours a few feet away. Alas the car’s owners are all dining and imbibing in the private event so there’s no chance to ask owners their car’s history.
To be invited inside you have to be a very special friend of your Ferrari dealer. I would say if you’ve bought two or three Ferraris that’s enough to qualify. There were many production cars there, but also race cars from the ’50s, 60’s,70s right up to the SP-2. Several other Speciales custom tailored for owners but models not publicized much are there as well. If you think you are a Ferrari expert, you aren’t once you see this show.
So it’s a concours of Ferraris with no judge. Ironically this free show has more rare Ferraris than Concorso Italiano–Ferrari is quite selective as to who gets to show their car. I, as a mere giornalista, wasn’t allowed inside the Casa but from last year when I breached the perimeter, I remember a nice restaurant, outdoor dining and the selling of some very special Ferrari memorabilia like purses, etc. All bearing the ubiquitous prancing horse.
I would say if you are a Ferrari fan, this free show makes the PB gate fee negligible ($14?) They waved me right by, overwhelmed by entrants. Even if the sandwiches are highly expensive at a cafe mere feet away, it wouldn’t be bad to spend a full day there. I could have shot each car as a candidate for my paintings but the reporter in me kept me roving.
Nonetheless if you think Pebble (and certainly the Quail) cost too much, you could go to this show for the price of the gate fee. Parking though, is a challenge—on Sundays there are shuttles picking up people along 17-mile Drive, you just park your car along the seaside venue and wait in line later for the ride back. I’d check if those run Saturdays.But if you stay too long and some event, the shuttles might disappear, and it’s a long long walk (17 Mile Drive is indeed 17 miles…)
THE AUTHOR Wallace Wyss, on commission, paints oil portraits of Ferraris for owners. For a list of finished work, write firstname.lastname@example.org