It’s Enzo’s Birthday! Ferrari Club gathers at the Petersen to celebrate


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Enzo Ferrari was born during a snowstorm on February 18th 1898 in Modena, Italy. One week and 120 years later, under beautiful sunny skies, the Ferrari Club of America Southwest Region celebrated.

You may recall some big Ferrari festivities last year. Those were for the 70th anniversary of Ferrari the race team and car company and went on all year, most notably with celebrations at Pebble Beach, New York and, of course, Maranello.

This gathering was somewhat smaller than those, and neither Sebastian Vettel nor Piero Ferrari showed up. But there were 200 Ferraris gathered on the third and fourth floors of the parking garage outside the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.

Officially, the club calls it “Enzo’s Birthday Cruise In” and they’ve been doing it in partnership with the Petersen Museum for about ten years. The event has always been held on the last Sunday in February, which is just off the actual Feb. 18 date of Il Grande Vecchio’s arrival in Modena.

There were some lovely old cars this year, including, most notably, a:

1962 250 GT Series II PF Cabriolet brought by Eric Sander of GTO Engineering, which is just a few blocks away from the museum

A striking red 275 GTB/4 (might have been a GTB/2)

Bruce Meyer’s superb 250 GT SWB

Another 250 GT, two Daytonas and no fewer than four F40s.

I ran into real, live racer Cort Wagner, past winner of the Porsche Cup, who is currently campaigning a 488 in the Ferrari Challenge, and asked him whether he’d ever driven an F40. Of course he had. Was there turbo lag, I asked, trying to sound like I myself could just as easily pilot an F40 and was just wondering, you know, how it was and all?

“You just have to keep on it,” Wagner said, grabbing the imaginary steering wheel and stepping on the imaginary gas pedal that all race car drivers use when talking. “You don’t want to be getting on and off the throttle in these.”

I’ll remember that.

The gathering drew maybe a thousand people into the museum that day, with a line reportedly stretching to Wilshire Blvd. Inside was the museum’s amazing Ferrari exhibit, “Seeing Red: 70 Years of Ferrari” which, if you haven’t seen yet, you really have to. 

But out in the parking lot, there were a few oddball cars among the Ferraris, including an incongruous silver Mazda3 right about in pole position. Imagine that on the lawn at Amelia Island or Villa d’Este. Apparently, the Ferrari Club used to handle parking assignments in past years but this year the museum insisted on doing it themselves, essentially leaving Concours selection to a bunch of guys in blue blazers.

“Obviously they don’t know a Ferrari from a Toyota pickup,” grumbled one tifosi, pointing to an offending Toyota.

Indeed, while the third floor was in past years a sea of red Ferraris, this year it was more like a salad bowl that included a couple Mercedes, a Corvette, some Minis, and whatever else the museum let in. But you can’t really complain.

“The weather was great and everyone had a good time,” said events chairman Jim Bindman. “We do it to support the museum, and the museum was packed.”

Next month is the club’s “Ortega Run,” up and over Ortega Highway for lunch in Temecula then back over the hills. You still have time to buy a Ferrari and join the club. Till then, Buon Compleanno Enzo!