Concorso Italiano is, indeed, the largest gathering of Italian cars in north America. But don’t be surprised if you see a Cadillac or BMW amongst the 800+ cars on Black Horse Golf course. With several talented Italian designers and coachbuilders, especially during 50’s and 60’s, almost every gorgeous car you knew, might as well have an Italian breed.
At Concorso, you’d better be ready to be surprised any way, even if you are one of those who thinks “I have seen them all”. Chances are you’d be stunned with another amazing Italian artwork almost any minute. So, it is probably the most rewarding place to be early morning on that last Saturday before the Concours Sunday at Pebble Beach. Here you can get the closest to your dream cars, talk to their charming and most of the time super knowledgeable owners and custodians, while on top of that, be constantly educated by what you hear from the speakers all day long, introducing living legends from the main stage. This most likely will take all your day however, If you were not blown away for the whole day, we’d recommend to pay a visit to Laguna Seca or rush to pebble beach for the set up afterwards.
Last year, we were honored to have a good number of our 2016 photos been published by the wonderful team of Concorso in their 2017 official event book however as I had lost my SD card until very recently, I thought let’s make it a comprehensive report of 2017 Concorso Italiano and take advantage of the fact that later is better than never, two weeks before the 2018 event. So Enjoy Concorso Italiano 2017 almost one year later and hope to see you there on August 25th, The only show that we include non-Ferraris as well.
First things first! Let’s look at the Ferraris on the lawn with a little basic alphabets about them
Mid-Engine entry level Ferraris
Let’s start with the usual suspects. The Mid-Engine entry level Ferraris whose design and technology, over the past 50 years, have written the rulebook of Super Sports. Ferrari targeted the broader market of more affordable sport cars with the Dino brand first. In honor of his young gone son, Enzo started the slowest and cheapest line of his cars for masses with the avant-garde and stylish 206/246GT V6 Dino in the late sixties. Then in 1973 Bertone designed the Dino 308 GT4 (who later in 1976 was knighted as Ferrari) which is still the most compact 2+2 Ferrari and with introduction of the 208 GT4 in 1975 (to avoid 35% VAT on higher than 2.0 liter engines) literally with the smallest V8 on a road car to this day. Although the 2+2 GT4 and its successor, Mondial, were the cheapest Ferraris ever, they never really succeeded in the market. So there came the 308 which was the true successor to the V6 Dino. A magnificent design penned by Leonardo Fioravanti at Pininfarina, in line with the wedge shape of its bigger brother BB. 308 became the first image of a Ferrari or better say any super sport car that would come to anyone’s mind for many years. 308 started the success story of modern era Ferrari. Its ground breaking style with a little tweak turned to the iconic 288 GTO in 1984, The first road going super car. 308 remained in production until 1986 when it was replaced by the 328 which was more like a facelift. Later, it was replaced by Testarossa looking 348 in 1989. These two were never as successful as 308 either. Ferrari lost Enzo in 1988 and was in trouble with quality and performance of their cars in late 80’s. Until a well trained, experienced and a noble businessman named Luca di Montezemolo was assigned in 1991 as the commander in chief by Fiat CEO, Mr. Agnelli. His first creation, was an amazing refined successor to the 348. The 355 with its award winning 5 valve per cylinder engine was crowned car of the year by most critics and opened an ongoing fruitful chapter in Ferrari life with more desirable and delightfully drivable cars that just got better over time. 360, 430 and 458 were all new cars and now with the turbocharged 488, this breed of cars, are the pride and joy of Ferrari sales and benchmark of performance and technology for others.
250 remains the most epic of all Ferrari numbers. The first one with a “S” following that number appeared at 1952 Mille Miglia and by 1964 that they were replaced by the 275, at least 22 other tags followed the 250, creating the most desirable cars in the world. Typically equipped with a V12 Colombo engine and came in two size chassis, SWB with 2400mm wheelbase and 2600mm for the LWB. Except for the early 250 Export and Europa which used a Lampredi engine and the Europa also had a 2800mm wheelbase. Their success stories are definitely the chief reason in making the prancing horse the ultimate legend in automotive history. We spotted four of them at Concorso as follows. No wonder the 61 GT SWB of Mark Haddaway won the title for the best Ferrari present at the show and the black SII PF Spyder of Kevin Cogan placed 3rd.
Following the success story of the 250, Ferrari built 970 of the 275s between 1964 and 1968, with much less variety. In fact, almost all of them were designed and built by Pininfarina in GTB coupe’ version and GTS convertibles plus the ultra rare NART Spyders that only 10 of them were made by Scaglietti by the order of Mr. Chinetti, who literally gave Mr. Ferrari wings. They are now labeled by some as the “Most satisfying car of all time”. In last year Concorso we captured two 275s. A beautiful early short nose GTB from Kevin Cogan collection in Louisville, KY and a gorgeous GTS owned by Tazio De Nicolo.
Ferrari 330 started life even before the 275s in 1963 with the 330 America which was basically a 250 GT/E 2+2. They were all 2+2s until 1966 when the 2-seater 330 GTC was introduced on the 275 chassis as well as sharing its independent rear suspension. they made 500 of these refined coupes followed by 100 convertible GTSs until 1968 when they were replaced by 365.
365 Introduced in 66 with 365 California was in fact the 500 Superfast replacement, inheriting its chassis and later in 68, 365 GTC and GTS replaced the 330 with almost no change in their looks except for the side vents that moved up on the [hood]bonnet and of course the engine upgrade from 4.0 to 4.4 liter, resulting in 320 hp vs. 300. The most important 365 was for sure the GTB/4 Daytona with its radical design that replaced the 275 GTB in 1968 and is regarded as the first front engine road-going super car capable of 174mph (280km/h)
BB & Testarossa
Daytona replacement had a Boxer 12 engine. First Ferrari mid-engined road car. The 365GT/4 Berlinetta Boxer came in 1973 as an answer to Lamborghini’s radical Countach and literally ended the era of the front engine V12 Ferraris. Although the number suggests a closer relation with Daytona but it was totally a different beast that started of flat mid-mount 12s that continued for 23 years. 365 BBs are of the rarest boxers. with 380hp and top speed of 188mph, they were faster than their 360hp 512BB successor that came out in 1976 or even the fuel injected 512 BBi of 1981 [company manuals]. BBs were replaced by Testarossa in 1984 which was also designed by Pininfarina’s maestro Leonardo Fioravanti who had designed, almost, every Ferrari since the Daytona. Testarossa became a global success and with 10,000 cars produced along with it’s 2 later versions, the gorgeous 512 TR & the rarer 512 M by 1996 were the first mass produced Ferraris.
Modern Era Front Engine V12
With Luca di Montezemolo as the president, Ferrari started development of more drivable cars in the 90’s. In 96 they introduced the 478hp 550 Maranello, capable of 200mph. This was the return to Daytona tradition of front V12 that continues to this day, leaving the mid-mount V12 solely for the hyper car society. later in 2002 more refined 575M showed up. In 06 replaced by the 599 series that raised the bar with the 612hp GTB and, not so GTO, 661hp GTO. Third generation of modern front V12s started with the F12. Designed by Flavio Manzoni and introduced at 2012 Geneva Motor show, pushing the horsepower battle to 740hp. A beautiful Tour de France version with 769hp was the last of the F12s from which 799 were made within 2 years until the 812 Superfast was born.
Ferrari Super Cars
Ferraris started life as race horses and if Enzo ever started producing road cars, was solely to provide financial means to support their racing program. This inherently brought the epitome of hyper Cars to life, however the first Ferrari supercar developed for the roads was born in 1984 and was named 288GTO, reviving the spirit of the legendary 250 GTO and taking road cars to another level. Followed by F40, F40, Enzo and LaFerrari or in other words, the most desirable modern cars.
The Special & The Replicas!
The special was the 599 Spyder. So well done, that it looked authentic like it was made by the factory. In fact that is brainchild of Seiichiro Kita who was fascinated by the original design yet felt the empty space of a Spyder like the Daytona. I talked to him and he explained how invisible tricks like replacing the windshield with the one from California helped with this beautiful conversion.
There were two replicas that drew my attention last year, as well. One was from the usual suspects, GTO Engineering, who enjoy building chassis of ill-fated [usually] GTEs to their customers’ dream cars. This time it was 2963GT chassis was turned to a 250 Testarossa with pontoon fenders. Although purists argue that is a crime, yet the gentleman who ordered this nice 250TR could not agree less when that precious chassis can serve on such an exciting toy. To me it was a good job overall but it just didn’t sit right and to some, that means every thing. The other replica had a 550 Maranello powerplant and was apparently far from the P4 that it was probably trying to resemble. It was in fact more like one of early prototypes Piero Drogo made when he was developing the actual 330P4. I feel, if your mind could stop comparing her to the real thing all the time, She was a looker. Either way, replicas are made by those who risk, going the extra mile from simply adoring to reliving & recreating those stunning lines and shapes. Way to go to them all!
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See you all at Concorso Italiano in two weeks!