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August 1st, 2007

Editor's Note

David Seielstad, shown above working on his Ferrari 166MM, is a longtime contributor to Cavallino magazine, has served as a judge in many shows and concours,(he is a member of the IAC/PFA council and Senior Judge) and is one of America's finest automotive historians. He was recently invited to Maranello by Piero Ferrari to participate as a judge in the first Concours d'Elegance to be hosted by the Ferrari factory. Below is his story of that event.

Story by David Seielstad
Photos by Carol Seielstad except as noted.

Scroll down for Concours Results

In honor of reaching 60, the Ferrari factory decided to throw itself a party, and this time with good reason. It is amazing when any firm survives for 60 years, especially in the automobile industry. There have been more than 5000 automobile companies. Only a handful survive, and a few of those are hanging on for dear life.

Ferrari has achieved something that few companies manage to do. Its cars engender style and passion like no other automobile manufacturer. Ferrari owners and non owners alike revere the company and its product. Not bad for a small artisan shop in Northern Italy that got started in the devastation of WW II.

Owners of more than 100 significant Ferrari were invited to bring their cars to Italy for the first ever factory sponsored concours. In April I received a FedEx package with "Via Abetone Inf. 4, Maranello" return address containing an invitation to come to Maranello (along with one companion) as a concours judge. It was signed by Piero Ferrari. I was more than surprised and shocked. I quickly realized that this was a great honor and a chance of a lifetime.

Judging 0042M. Left to right Jess Pourret, Giorgio Schoen, Seielstad, Jean-Jacques His.

There were 45 judges, 15 from the US, and Adolfo Orsi was the chief judge. Jean Todt made the final selection after Ed Gilbertson and Adolfo submitted names. The factory included 15 of its own on the team. The judging guidelines used were those of the International Advisory Council for the Preservation of the Ferrari Automobile, or IAC/PFA modified to allow points for elegance or race history to break a tie. These guidelines were developed by Gilbertson who was honorary chief judge of the concours.

We took the airport bus from Bologna to Modena as we arrived at the roundabout on the edge of Modena, a red F40 was entering from the other side. The F40 roared through a round about and shot off toward Maranello upshifting as it went. It was a nice welcome to Ferrari’s hometown.

Enzo Ferrari's retreat at Fiorano. Now used as guest house for team drivers while they are in Maranello.

The factory has been located in a nearby town of Maranello since 1943. Modena is an ancient Italian city while Maranello was a small farming community. Modena is located in the Emilia Romagna region about 25 miles SW of Bologna and 100 miles SE of Milano. Besides Ferrari, Modena is famous for its balsamic vinegar, hams and Luciano Pavarotti.

Modena is a fairly small town, with many leafy parks and squares. It appears prosperous. The countryside is still agricultural with thriving villages. The population was friendly and welcoming despite the fact that 1000 additional Ferraris converged on the town. The people of Modena are well aware that Enzo Ferrari was born there and proud that his automobiles are famous world wide.

We were hosted at the Real Fini on Via Emilia in downtown Modena. The Fini was founded in 1912, but today it is a modern luxury hotel with lifts, dark wood paneling, and air conditioning. We were on the 7th floor with a panoramic view to the south. While we were there the normally foggy and misty atmosphere was clear as a bell and we could see the Apennine Mountains in the distance.

Parking garage built on site of original Suderia Ferrari building in downtown Modena.

The Fini once was the hotel where the Ferrari team members lived and where customers waiting to collect their new Ferrari cooled their heels. The new Ferraris were delivered at customer service in the old Scuderia Ferrari building on Trento Trieste 11, as it was just a few blocks away from the hotel. This is where Ferrari maintained the Alfa Romeos from 1930 to 1939 and perhaps should have been saved, but was demolished in 1988 and replaced with a parking garage. Fortunately, the old Scaglietti plant, at the south edge of Modena, where two of our Ferrari were built, still stands and looks like it will be preserved.

Gabriele Artom driving Signora Mariangela Grosoli, co owner Balsamico del Duca, in 0696 into Piazza Grande, Modena on Friday evening.

One can reach all the sites in Maranello on foot and it is easy to see most of Modena by walking around. Like many of the today’s cities, cars are banned in the old precinct. Wandering around Modena I went past a garage where there was a silver haired gentleman sitting in the shop. The walls were plastered with photos so I went in. Way at the top was a photo of the original Scuderia Ferrari building that was about three blocks away from where we were standing. I identified it and the old man seemed happy. It turned out that I was talking to Giulio Borsari, who was Fangio's mechanic, who later came to work for Ferrari as head of the race team in the late 1950s and 1960s.

Friday evening a sit down dinner was scheduled for Piazza Grande in front of the 1000 year old cathedral in Modena. About 40 of the concours Ferraris paraded through the square then were parked on a side street, out of sight. We wondered why they did not remain in the Piazza but it soon became evident that the Ferraris were but a sideshow to a medieval morality play scheduled as it got dark. The event is performed regularly and this year coincided with Ferrari’s 60th birthday celebrations.

Jacques Swaters' 166 MM Touring barchetta 0064M. Swaters is long time Ferrari dealer/racer (Ecurie Francorchamps), Brussels.

A troupe arrived on a giant cart pushed by five or six people on eight foot stilts. The narrator gave a prologue and costumed stilt walkers appeared and acted out a scene. The theme was a mythological plot from ancient Greece and its title was: "Proserpina: the Myth, the Woman, the Time". The play portrayed the classic theme of good verses evil, salvation and resurrection. The narrator appeared after each episode and explained the next episode while the course changed costume.

Amazing peformance included these dances, complete with fireworks. Courtesy

An amazing aspect of this was the actors were dancing and strutting around in the dark on eight foot stilts on an uneven cobble stone surface while swinging around flaming torches. Earlier in the day we had found walking on the uneven surface difficult. The whole thing concluded with a fireworks display that routed all the pigeons from the cathedral bell tower. (Click here for videos.)

We spent Saturday at the Fiorano test/race track near the factory in Maranello. The factory tour was interesting ( no photos allowed). Jean Todt, current president of Ferrari, rides around on a red motor scooter, which has its own parking space in front of the office.

Jean Todt's red scooter at the far end. The machining shop is behind the parked row of Ferrari. The large white building is the paint shop.

Carol managed a photo before the cameras were taken away. The machine shop is completely robot operated. It runs three shifts with 15 people per shift controlling everything. Castings arrive from the foundry nearby and are moved around, machined and deposited for human inspection. The facility is spotless and even has trees growing around inside the machine shop.

The factory is now a beautiful campus with mowed lawns, reflecting pools on the roof, plants growing inside. We also were taken through the assembly building, which was silent on this Saturday morning. Ferraris are still hand assembled, parts are marked with chassis numbers and stacked on carts that roll along from one work station to the next eventually being added to the chassis. There were about 40 Ferrari in various stages of completion. We ended up in the Classiche department which was full of old Ferraris being overhauled or rebuilt in factory approved manner.

The historic gate at the Ferrari factory Via Abetone Inferiore. Enzo Ferrari's office was just inside to the left. The yellow building inside was the original race shop.

The new factory is most impressive, even beautiful in many respects. But as I walked around to the original building, I was dismayed to see that it is being torn down. Fortunately, The historic gate, that famous backdrop to so many historical photos, remains, but the foundry and heat treating buildings, built in the 1960s along Via Abetone Inferiore, are being demolished to make way for a new building that will replace part of the factory. Walking through the rubble, Carol picked up a piece of brick with faded yellow paint on it...a remnant of a past that is giving way to the future. She placed it back on the foundations from which it has been torn.

The old makes way for the new.

Saturday evening there was another huge dinner. Getting started Todt introduced Piero Ferrari, son of Enzo, and the current team drivers Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen. Then Michael Schumacher and then a horde of former Ferrari race drivers dating back to the 1960s. Froilan Gonzales, who won the first World Championship F1 race for Ferrari in 1951, was supposed to come, but was too ill to travel.

Master of Ceremonies, Piero Ferrari, Jean Todt, Michael Schumacher, Felipe Massa and at far right, Kimi Raikkonen.

Phil Hill was also absent. Schumacher immediately slipped out and sped off in a 612 Scaglietti. Carol took photos with a digital camera amid countless others using cell phones, etc. to record this incredible group of drivers.

Dinner started late and ran later. Around 11 pm it was announced that, apologies for the slow service, but could we please go outside for a show. The show began with a mist of water onto which a movie was projected. The movie, black and white then color showed Ferrari winning races over the years. A mist of water makes a great movie screen. Then followed a breath-taking fireworks extravaganza that was the best that I have ever seen. Everyone else agreed that it was sensational. Accompanied by music, including Pavarotti. The show would build to a crescendo and we would turn to go back for dinner when it would begin again. Every time we thought it was over it would resume with a more spectacular sequence. It ended with a flaming Ferrari “60” logo.

Sunday was concours day. I judged in the morning then after lunch the first three cars in each class were brought by the grandstand. Things appeared to be running behind schedule, ah it's Italy, but the next two hours were to be broadcast live on TV so we all wondered if they would pull it off. Jon Shirley won best GT with his 375 Roberto Rossellini coupe (0402AM) and Lawrence Stroll's 330 P4 (0856)was best competition car.

Jody Scheckter F1 World Driving Champion 1979 with Brenda Vernor. Vernor was Enzo Ferrari's secretary from around 1963 until 1988 then she became Pierro's secretary until she retired. She still lives in Modena.

Ferrari brought out an array of its old cars to be driven by drivers, past and present. (Click here to watch youtube videos.) Things went pretty well. Each car was to be driven three laps on a portion of the Fiorano track then parked. Current and previous drivers were given the driving assignments. The first was an Alfa Romeo P3, then the 1940 Tipo 815 that Ferrari built anonymously, a replica of the 1947 car and on up through the years. The little 1500 cc cars looked really slow. Ferrari came a long way very quickly. A 375 GP was driven vigorously just like it was in period with a lot of flying elbow work. Lauda was not present, but one of his old 312Ts was well driven by Felipe Massa, just as I remember it (it made the best sound of all the cars I thought). Scheckter was put into a T4 and almost lost it coming out of a turn, went into the grass where he finally got it under control and back on track, but he sure looked like a rookie, not an ex-World Champion.

Schumacher was put into his F2004. He did not lose it. In front of the grand stands he did about six doughnuts raising a huge cloud of smoke then shot off to park it with another series of donuts ending in a flourish as he backed it into a parking space.

The Italian Air Force, Frecce Tricolori, were circling in the distance. At the appointed moment they did a low pass trailing green white and red smoke, did a couple of loops and finished with a low level pass trailing red and yellow, the colors of Modena and Ferrari.

Italian Air Force, Frecce Tricolori makes final pass over Fiorano on Sunday afternoon trialing the colors of Modena (yellow) and Ferrari.

Another late dinner and we were off the next day. Weather was sunny, hot, in the 90s and sky was blue. The Italians were charming, and the staff very helpful. Ferrari put on a great show with only rare hiccups, we saw a lot of old friends, made some new friends and viewed an impressive collection of Ferrari.


Class 1 Le Prima GTs
250GT Boano Coupe 0697GT 1957 Bruno Mayer

Class 2 Le Granturismo Classiche
330GTC 10273 1967 Peter Schacke

Class 3 Le 250GT Aperta
250 California 2561 1961 Peter Kalikow

Class 4 Le Superamerica e le Speciale
375 AM Berlinetta Scaglietti 0402 AM 1954 Jon Shirley

Class 5 Le 275GTB
275 GTB 8577 1966 Carlo Incerti

Class 6 Le 275GTB4
275 GTB4 10017 1967 John Mayston-Taylor

Class 7 Le 275/345 GTS, 365 California
275 GTS 8005 1966 Robert Brower Sr.

Class 8 Le Ultime Berlinette a Motors Anteriore
365 GTB4 13873 1970 Fabrizio Camerini

Class 9 Le Serie Speciali
F40 86572 1990 Peter Wharton Hood

Class 10 Le Prime Vetture da Corsa
195 S Berlinetta LM Touring 0042M 1950 Umberto Camellini

Class 11 Le Sport 12 Cilindri
315 S 0684 1957 John McCaw

Class 12 Le Sport 4 Cilindri
500TRC 0696 MDTR 1957 Gabriele Artom

Class 13 Le 250 GT Berlinetta TDF
250 GT Berlinetta TDF 1385 1959 Pierre Mellinger

Class 14 Le Berlinette da Corsa
275 GTB/C 1966 9085 Anil Thadini

Class 15 Le Sport a Motore Posteriore
330P4 0856 1966 Lawrence Stroll

Best of Show, Racing
330P4 0856 Lawrence Stroll

Best of Show, Road cars
375 MM Berlinetta Scaglietti 0402 AM Jon Shirley

Past Issues



Shell Historics at Moroso

CCCA Tour Part I

Classic Adelaide 2007

Mugello 2007 Part 2

Malta Vintage GP

Mugello 2007

This is Hershey

Coppa d'Oro 2007

Pebble Beach Tour

Carmel Concours

Oldtimer sideshows at the Ring

35th Oldtimer GP Nurburgring

Ferrari Concours in Maranello

Sestriere Rally 2007

Turin Concorso

Ferrari Days GB

Greenwich Concours

Mille Miglia 2007

Italian bikes at Half Moon Bay

Shell Historics at VIR

Italian Auto Moto Festival

Alfa Day GB

California Mille

Villa d'Este 2007 part II

Villa d'Este 2007 part I

Shell Historics at Infineon

Geneva take Two

Geneva take One

Paris Pot Pourri

Retro Italia 2007

Paris and Retro 2007

Cavallino 2007

Shell Historics, Moroso 2007

Detroit 2007


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