Educating Future Ferrari Specialists and the Palm Beach Cavallino Classic
Robert P. Minnick, founder and CEO of the Piston Foundation offers some compelling reasons for visiting the Palm Beach Cavallino Classic 2022, where the Florida sun shone on more examples of Ferrari than could be seen anywhere else in the world.
Why did the Piston Foundation attend the Palm Beach Cavallino Classic?
The team was there because our mission is at the heart of why people love a concours: we are privileged to be enjoying these cars today. Enzo Ferrari was thinking speed when he built his cars; he wasn’t planning for them to be in mint condition 75 years later. But, thanks to talented men and women who spend countless hours learning to work in metal, paint, engines, upholstery, and more, we can see, hear, and even smell these incredible pieces of history today.
If we’re going to enjoy this type of experience for generations to come, we need to have people who can maintain and restore these cars. Time will not stop. Neither should we. Given that the organizers and visitors to the Palm Beach Cavallino Classic want what the Piston Foundation wants to accomplish — educating future restoration specialists — the Foundation’s team should be at Cavallino to explain what we’re doing for car enthusiasts.
For those who aren’t familiar with this event, what is the Palm Beach Cavallino Classic?
It’s a concorso d’eleganza. Usually, we use the French, or concours d’elegance, for an event where the vehicles on display will be of high quality, rarity, and desirability. This particular event features Ferrari, and only Ferrari, so the Italian phrase is more appropriate.
For 30 years, the Palm Beach Cavallino Classic has been a premier and indispensable event for collectors from around the world. It’s up there with the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este or Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. A car that wins best in show at Cavallino is automatically eligible to participate alongside the best of the best in the world. That’s only a handful of cars so you get a sense of the opportunity that this event provides. It’s possible to see vehicles that really highlight the artistry we admire in collector cars, as well as the performance because, well, Ferrari.
The location translates to a wealthy audience. Many collectors winter in the area and this is the first appointment on their automotive calendar, a chance to show off their cars and renew or make friendships. Cars bring people together, not just literally as we found freedom to travel, but the bonding that takes place next to a bit of chrome is just phenomenal.
What happens during the Palm Beach Cavallino Classic?
It’s a long weekend and, as you can imagine, the private parties hosted by collectors have grown over the years because this is a great opportunity to have fun with friends.
There was a great combination of safety and fun as the engines warmed up at the exclusive track day at the Concours Club on Thursday. Friday included a symposium featuring special Ferraris and the Cavallino Classic Tour d’Eleganza, starting from the Royal Blues R&C in Deerfield Beach and ending three hours later at The Breakers, with cocktails and dinner. The front lawn of The Breakers was the site of the actual concours on Saturday. That’s when the Piston Foundation team was busiest, talking about our plans for the future such as scholarships for students and our Piston Academy, or how we’ll support apprentices who want to earn as they learn.
I looked forward to the competition on Saturday, with judging by some of the best from around the world. That, and the food were very good as awards were presented during the gala dinner. William, grandson of Enzo’s personal chef, featured handmade tortellini and other traditional food from Modena.
What was special about this particular Palm Beach Cavallino Classic?
As if seeing all this iron in the shadow of an old-style grand mansion hotel wasn’t enough, I’d say one of the most special aspects of this event was the charitable aspect. Sunday’s festivities at Mar A Lago would benefit the American Council of the Blind Scholarship Fund.
Anyone who’s spent time with me has heard me say that car people are generous people. We always give back; my point is that we should include our own passion in the list of charities. The concours organizers did just that. A portion of proceeds from the auction benefited the Piston Foundation.
In your opinion, was the charitable aspect of the Palm Beach Cavallino Classic the only special aspect?
Of course not! 2022 is a special year for Ferrari. This event kicked off a year-long celebration for the 75th anniversary of the marque. I spent a good amount of time at the special display featuring 75 cars. I thought of it as a walk through history.
The good news is that, while the concours was open to the public, there was a cap of 2,000 participants so everyone was assured of a good view of the cars, including the several 250 GTO that will were on site. That was part of the 60th anniversary celebration of the most valuable Ferrari of all time. Not to mention a bit of honoring the 30th anniversary of the Ferrari Challenge. There was much to look at and talk about.
The Piston Foundation is grateful for the opportunity to be part of such a great event!