An unforeseen consequence of 2008’s global financial meltdown was a surge in interest in “tangible assets”, as high net worth individuals sought out alternative investment opportunities.
Certain classic cars, a great many of them Ferraris, were now revered as art – only this was art you could drive, race, or simply show off. Much more fun than a share certificate.
California’s balmy climate, epic scenery and wonderful roads meant that its denizens were early adopters when it came to exotic European sports cars and, for one week every August, the Sunshine State holds a series of events that attracts owners, historians and fans from around the world.
The crux, of course, remains the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The first of these was held in 1950, an off-shoot of the motor racing events the nascent Sports Car Club of America had been running on the roads around the famous golf course (future Ferrari Formula One world champion Phil Hill won the inaugural road race).
Nowadays, this crown jewel of historic automobile gatherings is surrounded on all sides by so many other events that the calendar has expanded to fill a full seven days.
It’s known as Monterey Week, and you really can take your pick, according to automotive predilection or peccadillo (all sorts of things are catered for here).
Ferrari enthusiasts have long flocked to the Concorso Italiano, held on the grounds of the Black Horse Golf Club every Saturday of this special week, and actually a celebration of all things Italian on four wheels.
Although one could argue long and passionately about it, Italy’s contribution to the idea of the automobile as art is perhaps the greatest of any nation, and there’s no better place to road-test this thesis than the Concorso Italiano.
Or to see enough Ferraris, of all ages, in one place to last a lifetime.