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The Prancing Horses of Salon Privé

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Blenheim Palace, the ancestral home of the Duke of Marlborough, was the venue for this year's Salon Privé, and though this location may have shifted from London’s immediate outskirts, the standards remained the same, fantastic cars in a fantastic setting, a most agreeable way to spend a day or two signing off the summer.

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So applying my idiosyncratic test for evaluating the quality and success of a Concours, the question must be, How were the Ferraris?

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Absolutely Fabulous, to quote a well known phrase, would be an appropriate answer.

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From the very latest, most powerful Ferrari road car ever built to the classics of the early decades of the marque, there was a Ferrari to suit everyone’s taste. 

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In no particular order, what was on display at Blenheim? Well Ferrari naturally had a stand at Salon Privé with the latest cars to tempt the well-heeled folks with sporting pretentions.

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Perhaps the star of their show was the LaFerrari, at least until the FXX K turned up.

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If unique was the criteria of judging these fine cars then this Ferrari 365 GTB 4 “Shooting Brake” would certainly be on the top of many lists. Taking a standard 1972 Ferrari 365 GTB 4, more commonly known as the Daytona, Luigi Chinetti Jnr. and Gene Garfinkle answered the question posed by real estate developer Bob Gittleman, who went to the Chinetti Ferrari dealership looking for something a bit different. He certainly got his money’s worth, what could be more different than a Ferrari Daytona estate? To put this in context, in 1972 at the Le Mans 24 Hours no less than nine Ferrari 365 GTB 4 racers were entered and the Daytona won their class and finished fifth to ninth overall. This class winning performance was repeated in the following three editions of the great endurance classic.

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Panther Westwinds, a coach building outfit in England were given the task of realizing this great fantasy. They completed this show stopper in an amazing fashion as described by the current owners.

“Panther Westwinds modified the Daytona into a striking shooting brake, which retained very little of the original exterior save the broad bonnet. Unlike traditional shooting brakes — which were certainly not built on Ferrari chassis — this Daytona estate avoided a traditional rear tailgate by using gullwing-style rear side windows for access to the cargo deck. The interior was also substantially new, with the instruments mounted centrally in the opulent wooden trimmed dashboard. Even the cargo load floor featured wooden decking.”

Both Chinetti and Jankel are proud of the sleek aluminum-bodied two-seater. "It was a beautiful car," Jankel recalls. "The front was a lot like the Daytona, but was completely restyled. As far as I remember, only the windscreen, A-pillars and doors were kept."

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A hard act to follow for sure but this might be the car to do it. A Ferrari FXX that appears to be registered for the road. I have made enquiries to see if this is just a wind up.

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The FXX was based on the Enzo and only 30 examples were built. Customers had to stump up $3,000,000 but were only allowed to drive the car on special track days which were approved by Ferrari. Creating an air of mystery the FXX was alleged to have secret technology derived from the Formula One program, this was the Schumacher era after all. Indeed Michael was presented with a special edition of the FXX when he retired from Ferrari in 2006.

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There was an Enzo present as might be expected, still looking dramatic.

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A decade on and this car is still breathtaking, though it could have benefited from a bit more territory on the lawn to show off its sinuous curves.

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Going back in time a little is this F40 with evidence of the early morning rain.

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The silhouette exudes power and performance and has not, in my humble opinion, dated at all.

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Another timeless classic is the 250 GT SWB that ruled the racetracks in ’60-61. It has been described by none other than Sir Stirling Moss as such: “Without a doubt it is the greatest Ferrari road car – perhaps the greatest road car of any make. You really could drive it to a race, compete – and win – then drive it home.” He won seven major races in one and is said to have listened to the circuit commentary on the car’s radio while on his way to victory in the Tourist Trophy at Goodwood.

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This car, chassis 2209, was delivered to Jo Schlesser in October of 1960. He used it to finish third in that year’s 1000kms of Paris at the Autodrome de Linas-Montlhéry. It was acquired by the current owner in 2011 at auction for over $5,000,000 and would comfortably exceed that price if offered for sale today.

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A car that I did not recognize at first was this Ferrari 250 GT PF Competition Berlinetta Speciale but I asked a grown up and he gave me the right answer.

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It was a one off design from Pinin Farina, which accounts partly for my ignorance. The 250 GT was the first in a long line Ferraris that would dominate GT Racing for a decade.

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I was on safer ground with this 250 GT SWB California, one of just 56 produced in 1961-63. In fact one of these most elegant of cars was discovered in a barn last year; I looked at that car earlier HERE

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That 250 California had a famous owner in Alain Delon who would give other stars such as Jane Fonda and Shirley MacLaine rides in the car, there are photos to substantiate such claims. This example was owned by James Coburn who acquired the Ferrari just after making “The Great Escape” and, until recently, British TV presenter Chris Evans, who is scheduled to be the new face of Top Gear. Evans paid a then record amount of $10,000,000 for this Ferrari in 2008.

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My final Ferrari at Salon Privé is this 250 GT Cabriolet dating back to 1961.

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The present owner has just a total restoration job done on this handsome car. The Concours would be his first opportunity to drive the re-fettled Ferrari, as it was delivered straight from the workshop to the lawns.

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It was immaculate in every detail, most likely in a better condition than when it left Maranello some 55 years ago.

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The look on the face of the owner and his son as they drove round the Concours course at Blenheim was priceless, some things money can buy. That concludes my look at the Ferraris at the 2015 Salon Privé, well almost.


(Photos: by the author, and additional material copyright and courtesy of Max Earey)

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