Concours d' Elegance
date : 9th May 2004
Southern Equatorial Ferrari Automobile Club held its annual
Concours d' Elegance at the Italian Club in Bedfordview in
This is the competition to see who has the fairest Ferrari in
all the land. And as a Ferrari is drop-dead gorgeous by
definition, it goes without saying that the competition was
The cars are judged in terms of presentation, cleanliness and
originality. So, a perfectly restored Ferrari may lose to an
original unrestored car in the overall contest, depending on
the judging criteria.
The Ferrari 308 is probably most people's idea of a typical
Ferrari. This was the car that Thomas Magnum - or rather actor
Tom Selleck - made a household word in the private eye TV
series a couple of years ago.
The 308 comes in closed, GTB form or as an open GTS model. The
"B" stands for Berlinetta, which means it is a
closed-top model. The "S" designates that it is a
Spider, or open-topped model.
Interestingly, the 308 was produced with both a metal and a
fibreglass body by the factory and this red car is in fact one
of the rare fibreglass 308s. Only one hundred of these were
built, while some three and a half thousand metal-bodied 308s
were built between 1976 and 1985. The model then evolved to
the 328 model with deeper airdams and a more powerful motor.
Ferrari nomenclature is confusing to even the cogniscenti. To
understand the basic modelling system, the numerals refer to
the cylinder capacity of a single cylinder. Thus a 308 has a
single cylinder capacity of three hundred and eight cubic
centimetres. And as it has eight cylinders, the size of the
engine is three hundred and eight, multiplied by eight. Thus
the overall engine size is two thousand, four hundred and
sixty four cubic centimetres.
But Ferrari, being Ferrari, didn't stick to this format all
the time. For instance, this red 365 Berlinetta Boxer has a
horizontally-opposed twelve-cylinder engine. And it is a
four-point four litre. Many feel that this is one of the most
beautiful Ferraris ever made.
The blue Berlinetta Boxer, however is known as a five-one-two.
In this case Ferrari employed a system of overall capacity and
number of cylinders. So this denotes that its twelve-cylinder
engine was increased to five litres.
The addition of airdams in the nose is one of the few ways of
visually identifying the two different models. Incidentally,
the Berlinetta Boxer was an indecently fast motorcar in its
lifetime, produced between 1975 and 1983. It had a top speed
of about two hundred and eighty kilometres per hour, heady
stuff for those days!
The Berlinetta Boxer would evolve into the Ferrari Testarossa
in 1985, perhaps one of the most fitting names for a car that
is all about male aggression.
Actually the name Testarossa does not refer to an overdose of
testosterone, but to the red colour of the car's cylinder
heads. The original Testarossa was actually a sports racing
model from the late nineteen fifties.
For those who appreciate the litheness of a 308, they will
also love the 246 Dino. This silver example has some very
special Campangnola wheels and is powered by a two- point
-four-litre, Vee Six engine. It was considered an
"entry-level" Ferrari back in the late 1960s when it
was introduced. A number of examples made it to South Africa
but an increasing number have recently been sold to collectors
overseas, as demand for these beauties is high.
At the other end of the Ferrari spectrum is this F40. The F40
is powered by a twin turbocharged V8 motor producing over
three hundred and seventy kilowatts. It is one of the last
Ferraris to employ a classic tubular chassis and the name is
derived to celebrate forty years of Ferrari, launched as it
was in nineteen eighty seven.
The car is said to accelerate to one hundred kilometers per
hour in three point eight seconds, and has a top speed of over
three hundred and twenty.
The three-litre V8 engine is based on the unit used in the
308, but the power output from the turbochargers makes this a
completely different animal. Ferraris' wild child, indeed.
The smooth svelte lines of the Ferrari Daytona, on the other
hand, speak of a more genteel era. The Daytona was built
between 1969 and 1973. This is a classic front-engined V12
machine, meant for covering vast distances at great speed in
The mid-engined 308s and 328s evolved into the 348 by 1990.
The 348 then gave way to the F355, like this Spyder prepared
for the Concours by Theresa van der Merwe.
The F355 was a much-loved model, and by the start of the
twenty first century it had given way to the F360 Modena. Also
mid-engined, also a V8, the F360 is considered to be the most
successful production Ferrari ever. It has become more of an
every-day driving car than any Ferrari before it, although
these machines are still not as user-friendly as cars like the
The Southern Equatorial Ferrari Automobile Club is one of the
oldest Ferrari clubs in the world. It was established way back
in 1967 with a lunch at Zoo Lake.
Its members include the flamboyant club chairman Giorgio
Cavalieri, and honorary president Libero Pardini. As a special
treat for club members, the organising committee flew Sergio
Vezzali out for the Concours.
A master mechanic from the golden era of the Ferrari Formula
One team between 1962 and the mid-nineteen eighties, Signor
Vezzali did chassis set-up for the likes of nineteen sixty
four world champion John Surtees, Niki Lauda who took the
world title for Ferrari in nineteen seventy five and seventy
seven and Jody Scheckter who became world champion in 1979.
Jody was of course, the only South African ever to win a world
Formula One championship. And he did it in a Ferrari.
Sergio Vezzali remembers the fantastic long straight at the
original Kyalami with affection and loved his stay in South
And win or lose, the 2004 Concours was a special moment for
Ferrari fans that will long be remembered.
Car Torque is