Words: Robert Coucher
The 2017 event united some of Ferrari’s most revered cars on a Tuscan adventure
‘Ferrari clients who drive classic Ferraris are the special of the specials,’ says Piero Ferrari, son of Enzo and the Company’s Vice Chairman. So, you can be certain the Cavalcade Classiche, marking 70 years of Ferrari, is going to be something extraordinary – a celebration of the great marque’s DNA going back to its inception in 1947.
Seventy notable Ferraris from more than 20 countries have been invited to take part in the Cavalcade Classiche Regularity Rally from 5 to 9 May, promising three days of touring around beautiful Tuscany.
The Cavalcade is based at the Augustus Hotel, which includes the Villa Agnelli in the seaside town of Forte dei Marmi, a favourite among the Italian gentry. The Ferraris are checked and issued with rally numbers in the hotel car park, where the open Barchettas are parked under cover. Rosso Corsa is the predominant colour, and this selection of sports cars, many in silver, blue and giallo FLY, looks stunning in the evening light.
A 125 S – the very first Cavallino to leave the fabled factory gates – soon draws a crowd. Among the other assembled models is a 166 MM, a 212 Inter, a 340 MM, another 166 MM, a 250 GT Tour de France and a 250 GT SWB California, mixed in with numerous 275 GTBs, 330s, Daytonas, Dinos, a 288 GTO and the latest LaFerrari Aperta, finished in menacing black.
I’m co-driving in a 1956 Ferrari 860 Monza, a pure-bred race winner with an impeccable history. The next morning, we guide the still-warming car through the narrow streets to the centre of Forte dei Marmi and line up at the start, where we receive our regularity section time card and check the Tulip route book that directs us towards the walled city of Lucca. Our start time clicks up, a Ferrari flag is waved and we’re off. My co-driver can’t resist a bit of show-boating so he revs the 860, drops the clutch and the crowd erupts.
The morning route to our first coffee stop at the impressive Villa Reale is beautiful and the roads challenging, especially as the rain really starts to pelt down. No matter.
With “helpful” police motorcycle outriders in attendance clearing the traffic, the Cavalcade roars into Lucca for lunch at the magnificent baroque setting of the Palazzo Pfanner, before the Cavalcade returns to Forte dei Marmi via a 100km scenic route through the hills.
The second day sees the cars head along the coast to the seaside town of Lerici on the Gulf of La Spezia, where the sun shines and roads are perfect. The final day includes a spirited drive across the Apennines to Modena for lunch at the Museo Enzo Ferrari, followed by some laps at Ferrari’s Fiorano circuit, finishing at the factory in Maranello. Here the Cavalcade gets truly exciting and the cars can really get on cam.
Along the high-speed Via Abetone, which Ferrari used as its test track before Fiorano existed, with the police motorcycle sirens blaring and the “on-side” Carabinieri clearing civilians out of the way, the Ferraris start to sing. Where safe, the drivers indulge in a little overtaking and chasing along this magnificent road leading to Maranello.
The Cavalcade Classiche has proved to be more than just a thrilling experience. Celebrating the 70th anniversary of this great marque has provided some of its most important clients with something extra. Superb roads with five-star service all the way, certainly. But more than that, the Cavalcade Classiche provides unique access to “Ferrari’s Italy”.