Invitational La Carrera Panamericana Concours

Unexpected Pleasure

By  Andrew Levy

Photos by Tex Otto

I'm no expert, not yet at least, however I can't help but think that at the Invitational La Carrera Panamericana Concours we witnessed a collection of multi-decade Ferrari's unparalleled....  And unexpected maybe. Just like attending a party in a tired,  cranky mood and eventually having ball, this show just blew me away, as I'm sure many others.  From gut instinct I believe this assembly of automobiles, the size of the show coupled with its rarities and verdant surroundings, will be remembered and reminisced for some time.  The first 1957 250 Testarossa ever made - aptly numbered 0666, the 1951 212 Export Spyder - one of four with this body style, the 1953 342 America - one of only two of its body style and a '99 "Best of Show" at Concorso Italiano, the "First in Class" 1996 Pebble Beach 1956 250 TDF Zagato, and the demonic-looking 1959 246 Sport Spyder Dino - one of two produced with 4-cams, to name just a handful of Ferraris for now.  It seemed this show could have gone the whole weekend with worthy attendance, which on this day was dense from beginning to end.

  My day actually started very early given that I volunteered to spot cars at 7:30 AM.  Enroute, still a bit adrift from an unexpected late night, Charles "Skeets" Dunn stopped along side of me at a light on Crenshaw Boulevard in his beautifully-blue 1964 500 SuperFast.  He smiled and gave me a wave; now I know a signal to dive down.  On green, he opened the throttle and we both gathered to full song for a nice stretch.  I positioned my 328 GTS at his bonnet and listened to our duet, reminding me of the Flower Duet from the opera Lakme that woke me that morning.  A pleasant irony considering the show took place at the delightfully appropriate Botanic Gardens.

My intention was to help Don West with the line-up of vehicles as they arrived at the South Coast Botanica Gardens, however the Ferraris already present attracted my attention like lint on a freshly pressed suit.  Since it was overcast, which I figured would burn off by 11:00, I took the time to examine the cars in their true colors and contrast, direct sun altering hue and shape.  I still helped spot a few on the grass as they arrived. Their unmistakable throat being audible at the gate, but one moment took me like I had never been taken before.

As I finished lining up a 60's classic, I turned around and suddenly lost the air in my lungs.  The breath just left me and I floated eastbound.  Probably a function of my age, like a magnet I was drawn to John Kiland's black 1984 512 BBi staring at me with wide awake orange lenses as if it were hypnotizing me.  The closer I got to it, the more I fought for air and at one moment practically shed a tear.  I couldn't help but think I was looking at the teenage ghost of the father that brought the 308 and 328 flanking it into the world.  If it could have spoken, it would have beamed like a proud parent introducing its young boys.

  The show filled quickly and steadily throughout the day.  The green of the grass making a wholesome stage playing off the reds, yellows and blues.  All ages attended the Concours with some touring the whole garden complex.  My guests and I found a nice quiet veranda a bit away from the show for lunch and found it quite lovely.  Once again, the food was very nice and filled the gap well, just like all other Fer