CConcours Capsule: Ferrari FCA Meet 2008

Or, how the wrong clothes contributed to a missed opportunity.

The Ferrari Club of America (FCA) hosted a Concours d’Elegance in Toronto during 2008. Like most of us here at CC my automotive interests are broad enough to encompass many different types of vehicles. My Ferrari interest unsurprisingly lies with pre-modern Ferraris, and I follow the excellent website of Tom Yang who owns a 1963 330 America. Through Tom’s site I found that the FCA meet was indeed coming to the Eagles Nest Golf and Country Club in Toronto. I was able to inquire of him whether non members were permitted to attend or not. The answer came back that yes civilians were allowed entry (for a fee) and I was put in touch with the owner of a 330 GTC to look up should I go.  Admittance was restricted to a particular day and time period, so I left work before lunch and headed over to the golf club and lined up at the entrance tent.

Here I discovered that I had worn the wrong clothes.  Having come from work I was dressed in my normal engineer outfit, casual oxford shoes, tan chinos and a collared blue shirt.  The rest of the non Ferrari owners in the line were dripping with red Ferrari swag.  Ferrari hats, Ferrari sunglasses, Ferrari shirts, Ferrari jackets and Ferrari running shoes were the uniform of the day, with a couple of DSLR cameras around the neck to accessorize.  Clearly I was doing this wrong.

The line began moving, my fee was collected and I was free to roam the grounds.  Most of the Ferrari geeks scampered off to see the latest and fastest from Maranello, while I strolled toward the vintage display.  First I examined the 1959 Testa Rossa racer parked in a place of honor near the entrance.

This was a magnificent car.  Not only was it fast (this particular one raced at Sebring, Riverside and Mosport) but it was beautiful.  Not only that but every part of it was beautiful, from the steering wheel to the knock off hubs, to the insides of the doors.  What a treat to look, and look was all I did, figuring that the event was going to be adequately photographed by others.

I located the 330 GTC owner, a charming gentleman who took the time to speak with me for a few minutes and allowed me a closer look at his car.  The details of hand built cars are so interesting and different from mass produced vehicles.  Oddly what really sticks out in my memory was the inside of the trunk lid, no big stamping as on American production cars.

I thanked the owner and moved down the course, examining the detail on gems like this silver Lusso.

A woman with a clipboard approached:  “Excuse me, the meeting is about to start.”

“The meeting?”

Yes, the pre-judging meeting, it’s starting in that tent.”

“Oh, I’m not a judge, thank you.”

I kicked myself for not pressing the opportunity.  She had mistaken me for a concours judge, how interesting would that have been to receive the final instructions with the judges?  They might have had some good snacks in that tent as well.

Later I got to see the judges at work, they were easy to spot because they were dressed much like myself but carried clipboards.  They were very thorough, and the pride of the car owners was obvious as was the tension that hung in the air during the judging process.  I found that the Ferrari Colombo V-12 makes a curious rustling noise when idling, must be all those valve train parts.  One car’s horn failed to sound when tested, and the owner looked about ready to have a heart attack.

Luckily I was free from such concerns, and before two hours were up I was headed back to work, never having looked at the modern Ferraris, taken a picture, or attended the pre-judging meeting.  It was quite a good experience for a one-off, you should attend a high end concours if you have the opportunity.

But if you want to be invited to the pre-judging meeting stay away from the swag, and carry a clipboard.