What a wonderful world. Lavender’s Blue were delighted to be invited to cover the exclusive launch of the Pininfarina Tribute Rally 2013 at the glorious Hurtwood Park Polo Club in Surrey. It got off to a flying start on a gorgeous sunny June weekend. The forthcoming September rally is in honour of the late great creative genius Sergio Pininfarina. It was an outing of the bold and beautiful, and that was just starting with the cars. Sergio’s dashing son Paolo, who has taken over as chairman of the company that carries his family’s name, unveiled for the first time in the UK the concept car made in honour of his father. A helicopter ride over the woodland, a quick spin across the grassland, and Paolo pulled up beside us. The view from the VIP marquee never looked so good.
“I’m sure my father is happy today,” he proudly announced. “This car expresses his spirit. It also represents the past, the present and the future of Pininfarina. History continues forth in the present tradition of excellence in designing, manufacturing and engineering. For the future, it shows the potential for securing new business for Pininfarina. So it is fitting that my father who created so many motoring masterpieces is honoured by this concept car named in his memory. I know he would like it.”
In polo, as we all know, players are rated on a handicap scale of -2 to 10, the higher the better. Talent shines through horsemanship, range of strokes and speed of play. A goal is a goal, whether by pony or rider. The Sergio is an equine athlete in crimson metal and grey leather. Ferrari’s pioneering wind tunnels were exploited to the max during the design process. The low front spoiler, the leading edge of the roll bar behind the cockpit and the passenger compartment are all shaped to enhance air flow. Instead of a windshield, driver and passenger wear helmets. The headrests appear to float as they are attached to the roll bar, not the seats. Holes atop the rear engine recall Pininfarina’s Ferrari 512S Modulo.
Event sponsors Brokersclub – “high speed online trading” according to founder Markus Böckmann – held the four matches of the Brokersclub Tribute Gold Cup Polo Tournament over the course of the launch weekend. A VIP marquee in front of the clubhouse allowed the glamorous crowd, handbags and glad rags and hot legs, to take in all things horse power, two and four legged, while Rod Stewart laid on the foreground music. Hurtwood is owned by Kenney Jones, legendary drummer with The Who. Kenney also serenaded the crowd with his own band The Jones Gang.
Ooh la la! The triumphant triumvirate of trophies, trips and tribunes kept going with a world record breaking gathering of over 200 Pininfarina designed cars. A lucky 100 owners were there to gear up for taking part in the rally. Among the cars on display were dozens of Ferraris from the past such as the 275 GTB Spider, the 250 GT SWB and the 365 Daytona. More recent Ferrari models included the 360 Modena and the 458 Spider.
Other newer brands represented at Hurtwood included the Alfa Romeo Duetto, the Lancia Aurelia B20 and the Lancia Monte Carlo. Also on display were rare models such as the Lancia Aurelia B24 Spider, first seen at the Brussels Motor Show of 1955. Eric Clapton popped over from his neighbouring estate in his one-of-a-kind SP12 EC Ferrari, designed by Pininfarina in collaboration with the Ferrari Design Centre. Some guys have all the luck.
- Day 1: the Pininfarina cavalcade departs from the Hilton on Park Lane crossing the English Channel at Dover and onwards to Dunkirk. Spend first night in Germany.
- Day 2: the Swiss mountains await; stop over close to the Italian border.
- Day 3: navigate God’s Highway aka the Stelvio Pass which has more hairpins than a Sixties beehive bouffant. After a rendezvous at the Pininfarina Design Building, onwards to Maranello, the home of Ferrari.
- Day 4: drive across Monaco where a party on aboard mega yacht provides a travel respite.
- Day 5: the party continues at Jimmy’z. This is Monte Carlo after all. Raise your champagne flutes to Sergio Pininfarina!