The Audis were under the trees, the Rollers & Bentleys were by the tents, right next to the Aston-Martins; Ferraris (Oh, God, the FERRARIS !!!) were grouped along the fence and the Lambo’s were lined up with mathematical precision along the path. The Germans had their own personal space.These beauties, and others were all presented by dealers from around the Florida area, pushing their prizes before the recession crashes in on them. . .
In the middle were the cars the people brought, all streetable and every one desirable as hell. There was everything from Isetta bug cars to Lambo’s that I’ve only seen in pictures. Some Nissans, but more on that later. Bikes were there, too–choppers, dressed Harleys, rice-bikes, and in the boat basin were the super boats, the 50, 60-footers with big basket-handles and twin, million-horsepower motors that roar like lions when they get switched to “ON”. Drug runners LOVE them. I didn’t get to see that stuff. I was transfixed with the auto-exotica scattered around the park on St Pete’s beautiful Downtown waterfront.
“Festival of Speed”, indeed. More like the “Festival of Unobtanium”. I need to start working overtime on winning the Lotto.
Here is some of what I saw:
Not one, but THREE Bugatti Veyrons, approximately 25% of the known supply of Bugattis in North America. A thousand horsepower. Rare as a Beatles’ reunion. They cost a million two. One of them was driven there by a private owner.
Two Saleen S-7s, displayed in their batwing glory, their twin turbos gleaming in the sun. They cost as much as a house. A nice, beachfront 4-bedroom-with-a-pool house. A gullwing Mercedes SLR sat next to a Saleen:another house. . . then, a classic 300SL Gullwing was next to THEM, just to provide contrast. A neighborhood.
A 605 HP, $450, 000 Porsche Carrera, a car so rare that seeing one is like a magic trick. I have only seen one other and that, interestingly, was right here in my little adopted hometown. Now I have seen two. I sat in a sparkly yellow GT3 and dreamed of the day. . .
Two stunning AUDI R-8s, one in silver with a black band, one in black with a silver band. I’ll take both.
I didn’t count all the Ford GTs, but some were the ORIGINAL GT-40s from the LeMans-winning ’60s generation, some were the newer reproduced ones. I talked at length with a guy who had an ’05 GTX-1 (it has a removable factory-installed hardtop–very rare). It is one of maybe thirty on the Planet.
Maybachs. $420, 000 Maybachs. Rollers that go for a cool half-mil, Bentleys with 600-HP V-10s. Who buys this stuff, anyway???
Enough Lambos to outfit a basketball team, including the guys on the bench.
Rarities included a number of pretty AC Cobras, a Beemer Z3–something I have NEVER seen up close–a Spyker, a Ruf RK Coupe, etc.
St Pete is hosting the Gran Prix Next week, so there were a lot of Formula cars scattered around.
There were also a pile of classics, too numerous to mention–street rods and restored bathtub Porsches, Olds 442s and Firebirds from each generation. Also, old dragsters, NASCAR runners, tricked-out Mustangs and other assorted desirables.
A lot of cars, all very interesting. . .
Among the 200-some cars there, I saw 6-7 Nissans. There was a sweet 350, clad with every carbon-fiber piece available, a very nice NISMO model and a couple private 350s. There was also a tricked G37 coupe in a blinding red custom suit. And, I met with and talked to a guy who had a cherry ’81 280ZX twin turbo that he rescued from a barn in Canada and brought back to life nicely. He thinks it’s one of four in the country, due mostly to the silver over black paintjob. It commemorated something, but I forgot exactly what.
And finally there were Ferraris. Sigh, the Ferraris.
There were maybe a dozen new ones, in candy colored oranges and yellows and reds, lined up like a buffet in a fancy Italian restaurant–every model currently available and a good supply of pre-owned ones. Then, out in the citizen’s section there were probably fifteen more. It was a feast of Ferraris. I wandered through their midst, hypnotized. My daughter said she got goose bumps. So did I.
I introduced my 6-month old granddaughter Zoe to Ferrari, let her touch them and feel them and maybe osmose some of the magic into her so she can carry the same longing that Grandpa has felt for fifty years.
Anyway, now I have to go buy some winning lottery tickets so I can go out and buy a Ferrari of some kind so I can leave it to Zoe when I pass. . .
Original article with pictures may be found here….. .
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