The year was 1988, the month August and I was on my way to Monterey in my 1966 275 GTB. It had been only four months since the passing of Enzo Ferrari and with that the market was already climbing out of control. Ferrari Fever was everywhere with prices going up every week. Brokers were calling me all the time to see if I wanted to part with my car, they always had a buyer. My answer was always the same; I didn?t buy it for resale. Of course in hindsight, if I had sold it then I could have bought it back at a bargain today. But I am in love with my Ferrari and I?m glad I still own it today.
An impressive high quality car magazine called Car Graphic from Japan had contacted me and was doing a Ferrari special for their November issue. They would drive up to Monterey with me, write an article on my car and even do a video for their TV program shown in Japan. Sounded terrific and just what I needed on top of the excitement I could barely hide.
Driving my Ferrari to Monterey meant everything to me, just like it still does and, for that matter, does for everyone else who makes the yearly pilgrimage. After all, what?s the point of owning a Ferrari if you?re not going to drive it? It is the equivalent of having the best bottle of wine at its prime and not opening it or having an art masterpiece and keeping it in the cellar. Yet, driving an older Ferrari long distance is always a concern. You can never predict what?s going to happen. So, the best thing to do is to be prepared. Therefore, the car was packed with tools, fluids, car phone, and everything else that was needed for the weekend, including helmets and NOMEX paraphernalia. Never mind that if something were to happen, I probably wouldn?t know how to fix it or it would require the part or tool I didn?t have. But somehow it gives you piece of mind to have tools along for the trip. At least you could satisfy yourself that you tried.
The car was thoroughly checked and prepared by Bruno Borri and Luciano Fabbio of Modena Sportscars and was running like a top. Having the car tuned by the mechanics who won Daytona 24 Hours in 1979 gave me great confidence that the car would make it to Monterey and back. At least I had Bruno?s famous 50/50 warranty - 50 feet north or 50 feet south of his shop on La Brea.
Early Friday morning, Kato, the Car Graphic journalist, and I left Los Angeles. The car was packed to the gunwales with the aforementioned paraphernalia, luggage and his photo equipment. We had barely enough space left to squeeze in two Evian bottles. To make the trip worthy of a good article, I laid out a plan to include some of the best sports car roads leading up to Monterey. With that, we took the I-5 through the grapevine and down into the San Joaquin Valley. Already the temperature was hot and with no air conditioning the heat was unbearable. Added to the discomfort was the gas fumes always prevalent in these cars but, hey, we were driving a Ferrari and we were headed towards Monterey so we didn?t care. Conversations turned towards the excitement of owning a Ferrari to how fast I had driven the car, how many tickets I was awarded, and how the car attracts fans and bugs on the yellow paint. Being an enthusiast himself , he was not the type to ask about gas mileage, how much it costs for service, or the current market value of the car.
We turned onto Highway 166 West just after the 5/99 split before Bakersfield. For as far as we could see the road was straight for something like 24 miles - a great place to test the top end but we knew that smokeys were waiting so we cooled it, saving ourselves from becoming a notch in his conquest. After what seemed like eons, we got out of the desert and turned north on 33 and hit 58 in 15 minutes. Once we got onto 58 the two lanes turned into an area where much greenery appeared in the form of trees and bushes. The road was paved perfec