Race Through The Decades: 1954-2014. The 60th Anniversary of Ferrari in the USA
I almost missed this event, having been focused on several client’s websites in the last few weeks. A chance mention in a Peterson Museum post on Facebook had me asking my wife if I could skip her birthday brunch that Sunday. Since we had already celebrated with dinner a few days ago, she kindly let me off the hook to attend.
Having attended several car events on Rodeo Drive over the years, I arrived early to secure a parking space close to the event as they are at a premium if you get there later in the morning.
1963 Ferrari 250 GTO – 4293 GT. © 2014 Victor Varela
As I walked along Rodeo, the street was already busy with a crowd of enthusiast and visitors ogling the Italian steeds parked along the palm tree lined street. I took several images in between the folks admiring and taking pictures as I headed south towards the corner of Wilshire and Rodeo. The level of rarity and historic significance of the cars I photographed was astounding. Le Mans, Mille Miglia and other race winners, custom one-offs and rare examples made this a truly unique automotive gathering in the history of the marquee.
I made my way to the press check-in and although securing a pass was not to difficult, the significance of having and using one here was more of a souvenir item as I witnessed several folks, including teens, obtaining one quite easily. I gathered the information I needed from the PR person and continued to circulate and capture images as best I could as the crowds had grown exponentially.
Piero Ferrari, Vice Chairman of Ferrari, arrives in a 250 GT SWB California. © 2014 Victor Varela
I headed to the stage area before mid-day, to view and capture images of the F60 unveiling. I was planning on meeting Luca di Montezemolo and maybe getting his autograph, but as he announced his “forced” retirement as President and Chairman of Ferrari S.p.A. – effective the following day, it did not surprise me that he was absent from today’s event.
2013 Ferrari F138 Formula One race car. © 2014 Victor Varela
The Ferrari executives were all driven up to the staging area in Ferraris with the California namesake ranging from the 250 GT California to the new California T. They included John Elkann, Chairman of FCA, Sergio Marchionne, CEO of FCA and Chairman of Ferrari, Amedeo Felisa, CEO of Ferrari, and Piero Ferrari, Vice Chairman of Ferrari.
Bruce Meyer, Sergio Marchionne, Piero Ferrari and John Elkann. along with other VIPs during the unveiling of the 2015 F60 America. © 2014 Victor Varela
With Bruce Meyer and TV personality, Mario Lopez, serving as MC’s, the F60 America was unveiled with applause and cheers from the crowd. With the absence of Montezemolo from the celebration, I focused my attention on meeting and hopefully having Piero Ferrari autograph my press card. As I waited at the foot of the stairs leading to the stage, I found my opportunity and asked him for his autograph. We spoke briefly and shook hands before he retreated from the crowd that started to gather around him. A momentous occasion for me as I have been a fan and admirer of the Scuderia, his father and Ferrari in general since the late 70’s.
Piero Ferrari, Vice Chairman of Ferrari S.p.A. © 2014 Victor Varela
I continued to capture images, still under the euphoria of meeting Piero Ferrari and left the event knowing I attended a truly unique automotive celebration.
A report with images have been submitted to Sports Car Digest and will hopefully be published before week’s end.
If you would like a print for your wall at home, office or race shop, I offer quality prints of the images you see here and others that were captured during this event. You can purchase them here: Photo Store
UPDATE 10/16/2014: My report and images of the Ferrari celebration, have been published online at Sports Car Digest: Ferrari 60th Anniversary Gathering
My press pass, autographed by Piero Lardi Ferrari at the “Race Through The Decades”: 1954-2014. © 2014 Victor Varela
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