I first saw Sergio Scaglietti in person in 1998 when he was honored at Pebble Beach, automotive's most prestigious event.
It was the first time Mr. Scaglietti had visited the United States. That afternoon at Pebble Beach, my father and I watched in awe the "Maestro from Modena" as he was honored by hundreds of enthusiasts from all over the world while surrounded by his best creations. It became immediately clear to me that I would have to be content with just watching this man from a distance, as he was constantly surrounded by event organizers and reporters.
On Tuesday May 29, 2001 my uncle and I arrived in Dallas after driving two days in our Ferrari from Los Angeles for the Ferrari Club of America Annual Meet. We decided to stay at a hotel across the street from the event host hotel. Our original plan was to drive the 1600 miles in three days, but ended up getting there in two. This was a problem: what we were going to do in Dallas in May for a whole day? We wanted to drive and see cars.
Early the next day we decided to go to the host hotel for registration. We did an L.A. thing and drove across the street and proceeded to park in the parking structure. We were surprised to see only a few Ferraris, and it was extremely quiet considering the "importance" of this event. As we exited the garage towards the hotel main entrance, I saw a man standing outside smoking a cigarette. He was wearing a tie and a blue jacket with a Ferrari Scuderia emblem. His face looked familiar. As we got closer I told my uncle, "this is Sergio Scaglietti." Silence. Then I asked, "Signore Scaglietti?" He immediately acknowledged us and said, "yes, join me," and shook our hands. It was around 10:00 a.m. What came after is a Ferrari enthusiast's dream come true: Mr. Scaglietti was there alone, just killing time, with nothing else to do and no one around. Just for us....
Scaglietti had traveled from Modena as a special event guest with his grandson Stefano who later joined us for part of our gathering. The reality of the situation still had not sunk in. For an 82-year-old man, he immediately struck me as an extremely animated person, and in very good health.
He asked where we were from, and my uncle, who speaks fluent Italian, said he was from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and I said Los Angeles. I had been carrying with me a map of our route from L.A. to Dallas. He looked at the map on which we had annotated the total mileage (2700 kilometers) and total driving time (22 hours) and said to us, "You drove your Ferrari 2700 kilometers from Los Angeles to come here? Bravo, Bravo!!" He gestured and grabbed me by the shoulders. "Bravo!" He turned and told his grandson who had just arrived what we had done.
We started talking about his trip and he told us this was his third time in America. He was scheduled to meet Forza writer Winston Goodfellow later in the day. After lighting up another cigarette the conversation began. "....I started working with Enzo Ferrari in 1937 when he was working at Alfa Romeo....., we were together until he died in 1998. We used to go to lunch with a small close group of friends every Saturday, for 29 years...." He told us about Ferrari's funeral, and how he buried his old friend on a Sunday, the day after he died, in Modena, at the family cemetery, as his eyes got a bit glassy.
Reality was slowly sinking in: we were talking to the man who had designed and built the