Ferrari Club Australia

Ferrari Club Australia
Ferrari Club Australia

Monday, 19 October 2015

On the Ferry

Imagine 8 Ferraris on a ferry on the Hawkesbury! This was something very different, and a step back in time.

The 8 Ferraris covered many eras: 458 Speciale, 458, California, 430, 360, 365 Boxer and 330. A concourse display on a ferry?


The Monday started with breakfast at historic Windsor. First stop was Wisemans Ferry, where all cars were loaded onto the cable ferry for a quick trip across the 366 metre wide river. On the other side there was no civilisation for miles.

In 1827, 188 years ago, a ferry crossing was established over the Hawkesbury River to provide logistical assistance for the Great North Road being laid to Newcastle. Today, the ferries still operate regularly and provide a free service for pedestrians and drivers. That makes Wisemans Ferry the oldest continuously running service in NSW (and possibly in Australia). It feels like you're taking a step back in time during the crossing, and when you reach the other side.

We followed the winding road along the Hawkesbury River for about 1 hour with continually amazing waterviews, some lush countryside, and with the thrilling echo of the Ferraris exhausts.

At Peats Ridge we regrouped, headed south to Calga & Brooklyn, along the Old Pacific Highway to the Pie in the Sky for lunch.

This was a very scenic drive, coupled with brilliant weather, and no traffic.


Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Trip Report - Pebble Beach & Monterey Car Week - August 2015



Mid August about 60 people with the Ferrari Club of Australia & NZ & Qld joined car collectors, connoisseurs and enthusiasts from around the globe at the picturesque Monterey Peninsula, California, for the world's best car show week. This year, and once every decade, Ferrari was the feature marque for Monterey Car Week.

It was amazing to attend a variety of different events over one week. There were 4 golf courses that held different events, as well as the Jet Center, and other interesting venues. Most people attended the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance event, while others attended some or all of the events below. Some stayed on for a further few days for the Ferrari Club of America Meet.

Carmel-by-the-Sea Concours on The Avenue (Tuesday)

The week began with this appetizer, various marques 1940 to 1973, and Ferraris (the featured marque) through to 1989, on display with associated festivities. Late in day, classics arrived in town from the 1,500 mile trip from Kirkland, Washington for the Pebble Beach Motoring Classic.

McCall's Motorwork Revival (Wednesday evening)

This kick-off was an "intimate" evening with 3,000 people at Gordon McCall’s 25th red carpet gala party (aka. luxury lifestyle bash) with gourmet food and wines at the Monterey Jet Center. Surrounded by beautiful old cars, the latest exotic cars, helicopters, and private jets, together with their proud owners who readily spoke to anyone present. You could dream of living life in the fast lane, while the sun went down on a beautiful Californian summer evening. Price was US$350 a ticket and a lot went to charity.


Pebble Beach Tour d'Elegance (Thursday morning)

"Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!" Easy to do on a modern car, but for a very old car there's a long procedure of about 15 items to go through. Arriving at 6am at the Equestrian Center, many watched the old cars being unloaded from semi-trailer car transporters. The cars were then started (no easy feat), and were driven (also not that easy for some) into position. There was close up access to each car, walking around it, studying it's marvels from yesteryears and conversing with owners.

By 7am all the cars were in position and many watched the spectacle start of the "17-Mile Drive", the original Pebble Beach motoring racing circuit, through nearby hills and valleys. Many streets were closed so that these cars had right of way, especially since many cars could not stop quickly given front brakes were absent in old cars. Thousands of people on route viewed these cars in action.

The cars did a lap at the Laguna Seca Raceway Track, and stopped in Carmel-by-the-Sea for a midday display. Historic cars that complete the drive received extra points that helped if 2 cars tied at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance static display competition on the Sunday.


RetroAuto at The Inn at Spanish Bay (Thursday midday)

This 3 day display in the ballrooms of The Inn at Spanish Bay, showcased rare collectables, historic automobilia, motoring art and literature, luxury items and technological tools all for sale. Parked outside were several historic cars, and a dozen new exotic cars, including several LaFerraris. The hotel was a wonderful place for a group lunch with the Ferrari Club, looking out over the ocean.

Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion (Thursday afternoon)

Many made a number of trips to the nearby Laguna Seca Raceway Track over the week. The track featured approximately 550 legendary pre- and postwar race and sports cars that represented the pinnacle of their classes. Fun to walk the pits and see all these race cars, and then watch them on the track, especially down the reknown "corkscrew" (more below).

Baja Cantinas Gilmore Filing Station (Thursday night)

In the middle of almost nowhere (but near the Quail Lodge) is an old petrol filling station that is now a bar and Mexican style canteen. Every Thursday night, hot rods, exotics, muscle cars and others, come, display, and go, like ships in the night. Imagine "Cars & Coffee" but with jazz music, Mexican food indoors, BBQ outdoors, lots of people drinking, eating, and watching in the twilight atmosphere. The place was really buzzing!


Bonhams Auctions (Thursday)

At the Quail Lodge, the 17th annual Bonhams Auction was one of the first auctions of the week. Like other auctions, it was held over several nights. It featured many exclusive collector cars, with prices to match. For those that love car auctions, this was the start of 4 nights of auctions at various venues in Monterey.

The Quail - A Motorsports Gathering (Friday)

Imagine a day at the horse races in Australia, well dressed people, gourmet food, champagne, wine, picnic style settings with sun umbrellas, tents, outdoor tables and chairs, but instead of horses just horsepower and historic and exotic cars, situated on the golf course greens at the Quail Lodge. About 4,000 people attended this 13th Quail Gathering. It was like no other car show. It was prestigious, fun, exclusive, entertaining, like a picnic party, yet also peaceful. US$600 a ticket and a lot went to charity.

Russo & Steele Auctions (Friday night)

Near Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey, this was one of the lower end auctions in terms of prices. More like what we are used to in Australia. Still there were many nice cars and it was very entertaining. Several large car parks were fenced off for the pre auction display, and a huge marque constructed for the bidding area.


Concorso Italiano (Saturday)

About 1,000 Italian cars were on display for the 30th annual Concorso Italiano on the greens of the Black Horse Golf Course in Seaside. A stunning, colourful spectrum of such beautiful cars with the backdrop of the lush manicured green fairways. Many Ferraris of all eras, and other Italian car brands old and new, as well as merchandise, art, entertainment, food, fashion, and friendly people.

RM Sotheby's Auctions (Saturday night)

Downtown Monterey, RM Sotheby's Auctions took over the Portola Hotel, and fenced of much of the small side streets to display their cars being auctioned. For 3 nights this very formal international auction featured magnificent blue chip "best of category" cars. The highly sophisticated, suave, auctioneer spoke at least 3 languages, and would frequently switch from English to French to Italian and back to English during the bidding depending on the nationality of the current bidder, some of whom were from Europe or Middle East and others who had phone bids. The auctioneer seemed to know who had deep pockets vs the tyre kickers!

Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance (Sunday)

At last the highlight of the week, although for many of us everything else so far was a highlight too. Once again many arrived at 6am to watch cars being driven into their display positions, this time on the Pebble Beach foreshore. Spectators gawked at 200 of the most prized collector historic cars on the greens of Pebble Beach Golf Course with the backdrop of the ocean. These cars were the best of the best, and nicely represented cars made from all over the world (versus an American focus).


It’s all about elegance as automobiles are judged for historical accuracy, technical merit and style. Ferrari was featured this year as the key marque. People dressed very well for the occasion, with smiles all day long. Such a friendly atmosphere where you could easily talk with other spectators and owners. US$300 a ticket and more than US$1 million went to charity.

Goodings Auctions (Sunday night)

The last auction to conclude the week, and one of the best, was the 25th Goodings Auction held at Pebble Beach Equestrian Center, the place where the Tour d'Elegance commenced on Thursday early morning. Once again the bar was set for the collector car market worldwide.

Ferrari Club America - Cocktail Evening (Sunday night)

The kick-off to the 3 day Ferrari meet. The cocktail evening was held in a Mercato, vendor merchandise exhibition area, in the Hyatt Regency Ballroom. Food and wine and a chance to meet friendly people from all over North America.

Ferrari Club America - Concours (Monday)

An impressive display of about 300 Ferraris from all over North America on the golf course of Nicklaus Club. Present was the whole range of GT road cars, from old to new, with lots of interesting colours and options.

Frank Cavasinni, Ferrari Club of Australia Concours Judge, joined many USA based judges to help, and by the end of the day had impressed USA judges so much that he was judging the best of the best.

Ferrari Club America - Laguna Seca Raceway Track (Tuesday & Wednesday)


Laguna Seca is an amazing track, with a long fairly steep hill, and then suddenly at the crest of a hill the track drops the height of a 5 storey building over the course of numerous twisting corners. They call this the "corkscrew", fun to watch, and exhilarating to drive. Old and new Ferraris drove together around the track, which made a great sight and sound. Separate to the track activity were car control clinics on a dry skid pan.

The pits were filled with hundreds of Ferraris of every vintage with their friendly, caring, proud owners.

Each day there was a group lunch at the track, in a specially built outdoor marque, and Tuesday night was a BBQ dinner at the track with the friendly Americans.

Ferrari Club America - Pleasure Drive and Competitive Rally Drive (Tuesday & Wednesday)

Tuesday's Competitive Rally Drive on the roads was not about speed, but finding way points and items of interest. Wednesday's Pleasure Drive, had 2 routes, one via the countryside farming land, and the other through the coast following the "17 Mile Drive" and entry into the exclusive gated Pebble Beach estate. Many Ferraris partook in these leisurely scenic drives.


Dining out

When not at the events, it was either eating or sleeping. Our group enjoyed some great Monterey restaurants including: The Inn at Spanish Bay, Montrio Bristo, Domenico's and Old Fisherman's Grotto at Fisherman's Wharf.

Visits to Los Angeles & San Francisco car museums

Some of us flew via LA, others via San Francisco, and enjoyed some great automobile museums.

Those visiting San Francisco enjoyed the Central District and Fisherman's Wharf, and a visit to the excellent BlackHawk Automotive Museum 1 hour drive east.

In Pomona, 1 hour drive west of LA, is the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Motorsports Museum founded by Wally Parks. It features a very impressive array of vintage and historic racing vehicles, including hot rods, customs, dragsters, race cars and speed record cars, and highlights the evolution of the USA West Coast's motorsports history. Wally Parks established drag racing as a motorsport in the late 1940's, which he bought to Australia in 1966. Definitely worth the visit.

Nearby is the The Pomona Swap Meet, the biggest swap meet in the world. If you walk every display isle it's 24 km of car parts, accessories, automobilia, and a classic car show. It's held monthly on a Sunday and 30,000 revheads and enthusiasts attend. Whilst no Ferrari parts, there were a number of cheap books and automobilia.


Mullin & Peterson Automotive Museums

Have you done a 4 hour private tour of a car museum, only to want more? Well the privately owned Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, 1 hour drive north of LA, is decorated like a Paris salon and is one of the most spectacular car museums in the world. The story goes that Peter Mullin fell in love with an old Bugatti that was being filmed at his mansion, so subsequently has built a private collection of 265 French cars, mostly from the art deco era of the 1920's and 1930's. The museum also featured US$300 million of art and furniture. All the cars on display were "110%" concours condition, and left us breathless and speechless. They are so perfect the photos make them look like models, but they are very real and they can all be driven. This museum is a must see but only open once a week!

Unfortunately the Peterson Automotive Museum (the chairman is also Peter Mullin), near Beverly Hills, was closed until December 2015 for a massive revamp. Time precluded a visit to the outstanding Nethercutt Museum. But we did visit The Getty Villa, which together with The Getty Museum, are fabulous for art and architecture lovers, and highly recommended.

Some of the cars from these museums were shipped to Monterey for display at the Concours and events.


Wow, what a trip. Multiple times every day we would be saying "wow" to ourselves and others .... so many beautiful cars from all over the world, in such outstanding condition.

Next year Monterey Car Week will be on Tuesday 16th to Sunday 21st August 2016 and there will be many Ferraris to see. It's best to arrive in Monterey Tuesday and leave the following Monday morning. You can hire a Ferrari or convertible red Mustang from Hertz and drive the amazing Pacific Coast Highway between LA, Monterey, and San Francisco. Visiting the museums in LA is highly recommended and contact Simon Maxwell for details on these. Planning the trip at 4 - 6 months ahead is recommended.

2015 Auction Highlights at Monterey for Ferraris:

Bonhams Auction Highlights:
1985 Ferrari 288 GTO US$2,365,000
1959 Ferrari 250 GT Competizione Alloy Berlinetta US$8,525,000
1971 Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spider US$2,640,000
1951 Ferrari 212 Inter Cabriolet US$2,200,000
1990 Ferrari F40 US$1,237,500

Goodings Auction Highlights:
1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Speciale US$16,500,000
1992 Ferrari F40 US$1,375,000
1965 Ferrari 500 Superfast US$3,025,000
1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 US$3,877,500
1966 Ferrari 206 S Dino Spider US$2,310,000
1965 Ferrari 250 GTS US$1,925,000
1965 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider US$16,830,000
1957 Ferrari 410 Superamerica Series II Coupe US$5,087,000
1998 Ferrari 333 SP US$2,090,000
1961 Ferrari 250 GT Series II Cabriolet US$1,842,500

RM Sotheby's Auction Highlights:
1964 Ferrari 250 LM US$17,600,000
2005 Ferrari Enzo US$6,050,000
1995 Ferrari F50 US$1,980,000
1956 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione Tour de France US$13,200,000
1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider US$8,500,000
1950 Ferrari 275S/340 America Barchetta US$7,975,000
1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/6C Alloy US$3,960,000
1994 Ferrari F40 LM $3,300,000
1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 US$3,300,000
1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Spider US$2,750,000
1985 Ferrari 288 GTO US$2,420,000
1995 Ferrari F50 US$1,980,000
1956 Ferrari 250 GT Couple Boano Prototype US$1,485,000
1959 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Series II Prototype US$1,320,000

Sunday, 11 October 2015

To the Hydro


The initial meeting point, the Armory Wharf Cafe, is a nice destination itself. The day began with coffee, and meeting old and new faces, in this open air cafe on Sydney Harbour at Newington / Sydney Olympic Park.

About 25 Ferraris started the run. Several splintered off half way due to midday commitments, whilst others joined at Richmond.

Our drive to the Hydro Majestic Hotel was deliberately the long way, via North Richmond, along Bells Line of Road, Darling Causeway, and through Mt Victoria.


At the Hydro we enjoyed brunch at The Boiler House Cafe, positioned on the edge of a sheer cliff, with magnificent aerial like views overlooking Megalong Valley. That day the only thing between our glass windows and the cliff were snakes and their trainer with his small show.

After brunch it was time to explore the rest of the hotel which spans over a kilometre atop this breathtaking escarpment in Australia’s World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains National Park.


The famously historic Hydro Majestic opened in 1904 and over recent decades fell into disrepair. It was reopened in October 2014 after a 6 year $30 million rennovation. Today it's absolutely impressive, with lots of floor-to-ceiling windows, and the main white building with its beguiling blend of Victoria, Edwardian and Belle Epoch design, and heritage preservation of much of it's original features internally and externally.

Overall a great early morning Sunday drive, and a fascinating destination.