I went down to Palm Beach Florida last week to attend Cavallino. The weather was certainly nice, though a little windy. I certainly wasn’t complaining when the temperature back home was below freezing!
This event seems to be contracting as there seems to be less and less to do. The Jet Center party is gone and although it’s blamed on security concerns because of Donald Trump’s security at the airport, the replacement venue at the beach just doesn’t seem to elicit the same excitement. There were more than just rumors that the track event held at Palm Beach International Racetrack may not return next year due to declining track participation.
With the rising cost of ticket prices ($200 for just a show ticket), I wonder if there is value left in this show? Ticket prices to all the shows around the country seem to rising, so I don’t blame Cavallino to following that trend, but many of these shows offer other things to do while in town. Monterey has dozens of options during the week at varying price points, so if a car enthusiast doesn’t want to pay $600 dollars to the Quail Event, they can have just as much fun going to the track for a $50 ticket. Other car shows partner with auction houses to offer another event in conjunction with the main event. With less and less things to do at Cavallino, I wonder what the future will bring?
Despite the lack of show activities to attend, my friends and I did not have trouble finding cars to look at! Just 4 miles from the Breakers lived a Ferrari 250GTE!
Frank has owned this car for many years, and does all his own mechanical work. We all had a great time poking around the Ferrari, and discussing the various methods to repair and maintain the old girl. 40 years ago, this was what many Ferrari owners did, and the network of owners through the clubs helped own and keep the cars running. It really brought home to me the changing landscape of Vintage Ferrari ownership. Just miles away at The Breakers, Ferraris built in the same era of this GTE were being polished, restored, and maintained by shops like mine, and the owners talked more about investment than how to fix a broken overdrive. I am very fortunate to have a network of enthusiasts like Frank and the gang I hung out with at Cavallino, but I’m worried the changing times may be leaving us behind.
Don’t get me wrong, the attendees to Cavallino and my customers are still very passionate about Ferrari ownership, but the rising cost and price of this membership seems to squeezing out a certain “hands on” group of enthusiasts.
Recently, prices of 2+2 Ferraris have softened, and although it sounds strange, I feel it may help bring some of the hands-on enthusiasts back into the hobby. I don’t believe Ferrari 2+2 prices will go back to 5 figure prices, but the 20% correction in prices may allow dreamers to finally buy that Vintage Ferrari that was always just out of reach.
I arrived early in the morning of the Concours to see the cars line up. There is an air of excitement as months and years of hard work culminate in this show day. I couldn’t help but feel a little melancholic because we were supposed to be showing the 275GTS we’ve been working on. We plan on revealing the car at the next major Ferrari event, but I certainly felt I was watching this show from the sidelines!
My concerns for the future of Cavallino were alleviated when I saw the spectacular line up of cars. Cavallino still manages to draw the largest collection of significant Vintage Ferraris from all over the world.
Although I’m surrounded by Ferraris at work, I was still impressed by the line up. Seeing all these great cars lined up together, I was reminded this is why we head down to Palm Beach in January. I hope John Barnes and his family manage to keep this show going by changing with the times. I want to support the Barnes’ enthusiasm for the Marque and dedication they have had for Vintage Ferraris through the years, so I’ll see you all next year!