Cavallino 08: Maryland to Florida
The first leg of the trip was to leave Mark Dempsey’s house in Huntingtown, MD on Wednesday morning and head 524 miles south to Savannah, Georgia where my sister lives. Although Linda was out of town, I had a key, so it was a perfect stop after nine hours of driving.
Mark offered me to drive some of the way, but I knew he was enjoying the drive, so I let him cruise the car down I95. The car drove fantastically. Mark had a modern high torque starter installed, and it had changed the reliability of his car. The original starter was in need of a rebuild, but a more reliable replacement is now available for old V-12s. Rebuilding the old one would not change the high current drain the Italian starters require, so Mark decided to go with the more efficient Japanese unit. Without the need for so much current to turn the starter, more voltage can be used for the ignition giving very reliable starts. The only downside to this modern starter is the loss of the original sound. Vintage Ferraris have this laboring groan (the inefficient starter motor) before the the sound of the fabulous V-12 fires up. I recorded the sound so you can decide if you can live with it! Click on the photo below.
There was almost nothing to complain about Mark’s car. The paint was very nice, the interior was freshly re-done, the Ansa exhaust sounded great, and the suspension was firm, yet supple enough to absorb the bumps of the Interstate Highway. We averaged 13 miles a gallon all the way down, and didn’t burn a single quart of oil! The only minor complaint I had was the seats were a little high compared to stock seats. The upholsterer did a great job for a great price, and the height did not bother Mark nor his wife when they drove it this past summer, but I always felt I was sitting a little high in the passenger compartment. Perhaps with time, these cushions will settle into a better height. In fact, after this trip, I felt the seats were a little lower than when we started.
We arrived in Palm Beach Gardens, the location of our hosts, the Tracys. Bill Tracy offered his house as a home base for Mark and I for the Cavallino Weekend. Not only did we have a spacious and safe garage to prep the car for the show on Saturday, he also offered a room above the garage to stay! I was overwhelmed by the generosity of the Tracys, and could not thank Bill, his wife Lisa, and three daughters enough for sharing their home and meals with us.
Bill is pretty active on F-chat, a Ferrari forum that caters to all sorts of Ferrari owners, fans, and antagonists. Two Boxer F-chatters also took advantage of Tracy’s hospitality to have their cars prepped for the show. Bill brought in a very reputable local detailer to work on the Boxers, and we were very impressed with their work. Although Mark’s car looked great, it wasn’t long before the detailers showed him how much better they could make his car look with about 12 man-hours of detailing. Without the stress of detailing the car for the big show, we had more time to enjoy our stay, and absorb the warmth of the Florida sun.
In the foreground was Bill’s Ginetta that he bought a few months ago, It’s basically a bare bones English built fiberglass roadster with a Miata drive train. Its free flowing exhaust was a little loud, but made for a very quick and thrilling car that makes an Elise seem civilized. We took this car to Moroso instead of Bill’s 348 so the guys could detail all the cars well into the night!
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