A feast of Ferrari models has been on public display this week in one of central London's most prestigious squares, promoting the opening of a new flagship showroom of H.R. Owen, the city's official Ferrari dealer. Mayfair's Berkeley Square, situated between Piccadilly and Regent Street at the heart of the city's West End, is the location for what will be H.R. Owen's third London showroom, and the dealership really pushed the boat out to mark the occasion.
The Public Gardens in the middle of the square are famous for their traditional English lawns and red telephone boxes, with the location being immortalised by the romantic 1930s song 'A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square'. Instead this week the eighteenth century square hosted a unique Ferrari event when H.R. Owen were granted special permission to 'park on the grass', displaying rare icons of the brand such as a 750 Monza, 250 California Spider, 250 GTO, as well as an example of the brand new Monza SP1 model. The sight of so many rare models all together thrilled Londoners and summer tourists alike.
The oldest of the iconic models on show was the Ferrari 750 Monza, dating from 1954, boasting a Scaglietti coachwork and Dino Ferrari design. The 250 California Spider was one of only 106 examples ever made, dating from 1961, when it aimed at emulating the open 250 GT Berlinetta, its open top designed especially for exploiting the West Coast sunshine. The 250 GTO from 1962, with its V12 engine, was regarded as the pinnacle of development of the 250 GT series in competition form, whilst still remaining a road car.
The astonishingly elegant Ferrari Monza SP1, launched just nine months ago, harks back to the 1950s 'barchetta' shape of the Gentleman Driver era. History says that it was Italian motoring patriarch Giovanni Agnelli who first nominated the boat-shaped model a 'barchetta' - referring to a small Italian speed boat - when he first came across one at the 1948 Turin Motor Show. The name stuck, and the Ferrari 166 MM barchetta won Italy's Mille Miglia road race, as well as the Le Mans 24 Hours event in 1949.