A Daytona with a pair of matching Mounties. Click image to enlarge
Article and photos by Peter Bleakney
Ferrari Club of America Concours 2008
Vaughan, Ontario – Every year the Ferrari Club of America holds an international meet for the members of its 33 chapters, and recently Toronto played host to this annual gathering of the Ferrari faithful. Prancing Horses of all vintages (and their owners) migrated from far and wide to take part in the 2008 activities: a rally into the Niagara Wine Country, track events at Mosport International Raceway, and a concours held on the beautiful 18th fairway of the Eagles Nest Golf Club in Vaughan, Ontario. This location was somewhat appropriate as Vaughan has the highest concentration of Ferraris outside of Italy.
Strolling onto the fairway that bright morning, the row upon row of gleaming (and mostly red) Ferraris was a sight to behold. There were about 80 cars dotting the manicured grass, ranging in age from an exceedingly rare 1958 250 PF Cabriolet Series 1 to a pair of 2008 430 Scuderias.
1958 Ferrari 250 PF Cabriolet Series 1. Click image to enlarge
The 1958 250 PF was entered by Peter McCoy of Beverly Hills, who had recently bought the car from the former owner’s widow. It was the definitive fixer-upper, having been completely destroyed by a San Diego wildfire in 2002. McCoy showed me pictures of the charred husk as it lay in the collapsed garage.
We can all be grateful for collectors like McCoy for saving such gems – this being one of 36 made, and the only car painted gold. Motion Products of Wisconsin, McCoy’s “go-to guy for Ferrari restoration”, spent three years bringing it back to life, and the car had been just delivered from Motion Products the day before this event. I asked McCoy if he’d had a chance to drive it.
“No, but I will in about half an hour,” which he did – to collect his first-in-class trophy. The car will be at the Pebble Beach Concours later this year.
Other standouts here were the achingly gorgeous 1964 250 GT Lusso, a 1991 F40, an Enzo, a few 365 GTB/4s (Daytonas) and a rare 1985 288 GTO owned by David McNeil of Hinsdale, Illinois. Recognized as the first modern Ferrari supercar (predating the F40, F50 and Enzo), the 288 was homologated for Group B racing, Due to rule changes, none ever turned a wheel in anger, but 272 cars were built.
1985 Ferrari 288 GTO. Click image to enlarge
With a longitudinally and mid-mounted 2.8-litre twin-turbo V8 putting out 400 hp, and a curb weight of only 1160 kg, the 288 has a top speed of 305 km/h. Built before the days of ABS, traction control and stability control, McNeil says this car is a joy on the track, and offered to take me around Mosport “sideways” to prove his point. He also had a beautiful black 1959 cabriolet at the show, and both his cars won trophies.
The longer I stayed at this shindig, the more I realized that a) many of these people were beyond wealthy, b) they had more cars than I have shoes, and c) most of their shoes were worth more than my car.
It’s another world here in Ferrari collector-land.
Toronto collector Randolf Paisley showed a whole herd of Prancing Horses, and during the awards ceremony, it seemed almost every other car driving up to the podium was his.
The real bella of the ball was a 1959 250 TR59 race car, kindly brought by Seattle collector Bruce McCaw. With a body designed by Pininfarina, only five of these 300-hp 3-litre V12 Testa Rossas were built, and this car (No. 0768) is one of four remaining.
As a Ferrari Factory racer, it was entered in three events: the 1959 Sebring (2nd place), the 1959 Targa Florio (DNF) and the 1959 Nurburgring (3rd place). Following this, Ferrari sold No. 0768 and it was campaigned by privateers for a few years, racking up a number of successes including a first at the 1959 Riverside LA Times Grand Prix (driven by Phil Hill), third at the 1960 Sebring with Pete Lovely and Jack Nethercutt at the wheel, and of interest to Canadians, a 9th place finish at the 1962 Players 200 at Mosport.
Bruce McCaw with his 1959 250 TR59 race car. Click image to enlarge
By the mid-sixties, the Testa Rossa was no longer really competitive, and in that day, old race cars, like old horses, were unceremoniously put out to pasture. Through a series of unfortunate transactions and neglect the battered 250 TR59 was by 1970, languishing in a dirt alley next to an old shed in Seattle.
This is where fate stepped in. Incredibly, Pete Lovely (who had raced the car five times with owner Jack Nethercutt) lived not far from where No. 0768 lay. He had followed the demise of his old stallion (at one point the manifold and carbs were on a shelf at a local bar) and he decided it was time to make his move. He bought the incomplete car for $2,200 – the radiator and exhaust system were tracked to another locale, and he paid $300 for those.
Nearly twenty years later Lovely was approached by the relatively unknown restorer Butch Denison, who made him an offer: he’d restore No. 0768 for a small percentage of the sale price when Lovely decided to part with it. The pristine resurrection was completed in 1991, and after several years of driving and showing the 250 TR59, Lovely sold it for a cool $5 million.
How do I know all this? Because Lovely was at this 2008 International Meet of the Ferrari Club of America, and he told me the whole story in great detail as the sunlight bounced off the curvaceous flanks of this priceless piece rolling history.
The theme of this year’s FCA meet was “Gentlemen Racers”, paying tribute to the many who raced (and currently race) privately owned Ferraris. Needless to say, guests of honour Pete Lovely and 250 TR59 No. 0768 were the stars of the show.