None of us ever imagined that our "board meetings" would become major events - but they have. Following in the wake of such successful meetings as those at Ogner Motorcars and the Marconi Museum, the February event at Ferrari of Beverly Hills set a new standard.
While the dealership itself is always interesting, the big draws were the unveiling of the new 512 M and the attendance of World Champion race driver, Phil Hill, and his son Derek, an aspiring race driver. And what draws they were! Over 120 members showed up for the meeting, exceeding everyone?s expectations (including the caterer?s). Contrast this with the last meeting we held at this location where there were only about 20 of us and you can quickly recognize the value of star power.
Ferrari of Beverly Hills? Cris Vandagrif graciously provided not only the location and the 512 M, but also a fine spread of Italian cuisine which everyone was able to enjoy.
The meeting began with a lot of socializing and milling around the models on the showroom floor. In keeping with the professionalism of the fine Beverly Hills dealership, all of the current Ferrari models were there, including a 333 SP! Even all of the popular colors were present with a yellow 348 Spyder, a silver 456 GT, a black F355, a red 333 SP, and the 512 M which began the evening under a beautiful red car cover and later was unveiled in all its red splendor. Members were able to check out all the cars firsthand and many took the opportunity to try on the seats (except for the 333 SP which had none but is guaranteed to fit since it comes with a racing seat custom-molded for the new owner/driver).
After dinner, a series of introductions were made. Phil Hill and his lovely wife Alma were introduced, along with their son, Derek. Derek is just beginning a racing career and got his first Ferrari drive at the Ferrari Challenge in Moroso. His experience in carts paid off as he turned the third-fastest lap times of the weekend. Unfortunately, he experienced a brief off-road excursion during qualifying which placed him 24th for the race. Still, he was able to work his way back up to fifth before the race was over. Also in attendance was the only American involved in Formula 1 this season, Elton Julien, and his father Arman. Elton is a test driver for Larousse this year and hopes to work his way up to a Gran Prix ride. Both young men gave short speeches about what they?re doing. The Club is proud to have them in our Region and we wish them the best of luck.
After introductions a short meeting was held. The one downside of large meetings is that it becomes difficult to conduct business. Most of the meeting centered around events because we?ve got a number of interesting ones coming up. Tino Mingori from the Ferrari Owner?s Club talked about the Furnace Creek Ride and Drive that they?ve invited us to. This is a wonderful location which was first introduced to Ferrari owners by Tom Brockmiller about 10 years ago. Since then there have been many Ferrari excursions out there and this year?s promises to be a lot of fun. Mark Dees spoke about the resurrection of another long-time Ferrari favorite event - his Santa Paula Ride and Drive. This year he plans to have a big screen TV to watch the Indy 500 on and then we?ll have a ride on the old railroad in Fillmore after lunch.
After the formal portion of the meeting was over, Derek and Elton were recruited to roll the cover back on the 512 M while everyone watched. In my opinion, the car looks much better in real life than it does in pictures. Everyone had an opportunity to get a picture with Phil, the young drivers, and the car as the meeting wound down to a conclusion.
Many thanks to Cris Vandagrif, the Hills, the Juliens, and all the members who came out to make this our most successful meeting to date.