Cavallino Florida, Enzo Cruise-In California Celebrate Our Love of Ferraris

enzo ferrari cruise in at the petersen
Cavallino, Enzo Cruise-In Cement Love for FerrarisMark Vaughn

You can buy any car made if all you want is a car. There are Toyota Camrys and Ford Edges galore that will get you, your family, and all your groceries safely to wherever you want to go. But this isn’t about those cars. This is about the car brand that makes fiscally conservative financial planners throw caution and their 401Ks to the wind, that makes young drivers swoon and old drivers weep. Why, can we say definitively, do we love Ferraris?

Everyone has a reason. Ed Gilbertson, retired chief class judge for Ferraris (and eventually all classes) at Pebble—and a guy lucky enough to have owned many of the greatest Ferraris in his lifetime—recalled when it happened for him.

“My first station when I was called to active duty in 1959 was March Air Force Base,” he told Ferrari Club Magazine Sempre Ferrari. “I loaded up my Healey with what few possessions I had and headed down to Riverside, only to very quickly discover that Riverside Raceway was right next to the base.

“I was in the officer barracks and another fella said, ‘Ed, big race over at the track, would you like to go?’ We went over to what wound up being the 1959 LA Times Grand Prix, and that’s where I saw and heard my first Ferrari.”

Not just any Ferrari. It was Phil Hill driving a 250 Testa Rossa—in the same race that featured Stirling Moss in a Maserati and Lance Reventlow in a Scarab.

“We’re standing down at the end of a straight and here comes this Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa and this thing just screamed by… It was just the most fantastic sound I’d ever heard and the car was absolutely beautiful…”

ferrari cavallino 2023
Ferrari Cavallino in Palm Beach, Florida is, perhaps, the ultimate celebration of all things Ferrari.Bill Makepeace

That did it for Ed. What followed was a lifetime of Ferraris: A Lusso first, then a 275 GTB, 166MM Barchetta, Spyder California, all the way up to an F355.

Jim Bindman is the president of the Ferrari Club of America Southwest Region, and his passion for the brand was stoked by a car in his SoCal neighborhood.

“In Westchester growing up, my neighbor, his daily driver was a GTO,” Bindman recalled. “One of the last three, with the different roofline, the ‘64. And I remember every afternoon hearing that car go by when he was going home from work. And since then I always wanted a Ferrari. Well, finally in 1990 I was in a position where I could buy the cheapest Ferrari, which, at the time, 20 years ago, 23 years ago, was a 308.”

Things were different then.

“I found a 308 in Malibu with its original owner—red/tan, for $30,000. So we drove to Malibu, we test drove it, and we bought the car.”

That led to a 348, then the 360 that he drives now. At one point he owned all three. But that didn’t last long, especially once his wife realized that he hadn’t sold the first two like he’d promised. But Bindman’s Ferrari condition all came from that first GTO, which is an excellent source.

enzo ferrari cruise in
Hearst Owned

Ferrari’s racing history does it for many tifosi. You could win a GP in a Vanwall, but when you win in a Ferrari you are more than likely piloting a thing of beauty.

At the Cavallino Classic held last month in Palm Beach, Florida, the lawn was carpeted with beautiful Ferraris. Cavallino is considered the premier Ferrari celebration in the US, maybe the world. There are Cavallinos held in the Middle East and in Modena, too. All of them are aimed at the heart of our collective Ferrari lust.

At the Petersen Automotive Museum’s annual Enzo Ferrari Cruise-In last Sunday, it was more of a local event, with 300 Ferraris of all years, from a 1952 Inter Spyder, to a couple Daytonas, a 275, two F40s, and a very limited-production Monza SP1. Collector Bruce Meyer drove to the Enzo Cruise-In in his 250 SWB, the same car that won its class at Le Mans in 1961.

“What it is about Ferrari depends on the person,” said Meyer, who also owns the very Testa Rossa Gilbertson saw at Riverside, part of his well-curated collection. “For me, I like the racing, the racing success, and the passion of the man (Enzo Ferrari). For others, if you own a Ferrari, you’ve arrived. It brings credibility to some people. It represents racing success to others, and engineering to still others. I just enjoy any marque that has enthusiasts, because I think that’s what drives the museum and drives the hobby.”

The financial status of ownership is certainly part of it.

“It’s aspirational,” Meyer said. “Almost every kid thinks, ‘I wish someday I’ll be able to afford a Ferrari.’ Other kids may say, ‘I want to drive a Porsche, I want to afford a Ferrari.’”

History also plays a part.

“In the early days of racing and, say, real car ownership, that started over here, all you heard about was Ferrari,” said Petersen Museum Director Terry Karges. “Enzo Ferrari had this mystique and seemed larger than life. I think all of that went together—the wins in Formula One, the wins at Le Mans, Phil Hill, our hero over here, first American champion, and in a Ferrari—that stuff all came together. It was a knowledge of product, but also a respect. If you saw red, it was a Ferrari. In fact, one of the best exhibits we’ve done in the Meyer Gallery (on the Petersen Museum’s second floor) was just called, ‘Seeing Red,’ all red Ferraris, but they were the best of the best Ferraris, too.”

enzo ferrari cruise in
Hearst Owned

The drive for Ferraris can be debated forever.

“A lot of Ferrari owners would say it’s the heritage from racing,” said Bindman. “That, Lamborghini doesn’t have. But I think it’s more for status. It’s the ultimate car and a lot of people strive for a Ferrari that have never heard of Michael Schumacher, or racing, especially a lot of younger people that gained some wealth. They want a Ferrari. I have some neighbors, young neighbors that are quite affluent, and they bought Ferraris. They have no clue about racing. It’s just the aura. It’s the ultimate car to have if you’ve gained some wealth.”

So, do you love Ferraris? Tell us why or why not in the comments. In the meantime, keep saving up. A 2022 Ferrari Roma is just $222,620.