Palm Springs, Calif.—Inaugural car shows often have difficulty garnering much attention from the car collecting masses, but the organizers of the very first Desert Classic Concours d’Elegance set for March 1 have two distinct things in their favor: the location and an appearance by the first race car built by Ferrari.
Ferrari chassis No. 01C is sure to draw crowds to the historic O’Donnell Golf Club in sunny Palm Springs.
“This is the first time in 20 years this pristine automobile has made a public appearance,” said Paul Merrigan, event organizer. Ferrari has a unique history in Palm Springs, by recording its first Western U.S. win here in 1951, and we’re bringing that excitement back with another historic Ferrari.”
According to show organizers, this historic car was the first of three Ferrari single-seat race cars built in Maranello in March 1947.
The first two cars, 01C and 02C competed for the first time in a race at Piacenza on May 11. Franco Cortese drove 01C and, after leading the race, retired with a broken fuel pump.
The car was rebodied in 1948 and sold to a doctor in New York who was not aware that his car had been used for racing. A legal battle later ensued to recover his $8,000 purchase price. Eventually the car was raced in sports-car events on the East Coast for several years and then disappeared from the racing circut. The present owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, found the car in a warehouse in 1968.
The car has reportedly not been restored, although the engine was rebuilt in 1990. The 2.0-liter engine produces about 120 hp and pushes the car to a top speed of 120 mph.
Event organizer, Paul Merrigan, a first-prize winner at the world-famous Pebble Beach Concous d’Elegance in 1998 in the Post-war GT Italian Coachwork Class, expects only the world’s finest automobiles to attend this event. The featured marque for the inaugural event is Maserati, with participants confirmed from Ferrari, Austin-Healey, Alfa Romeo clubs, as well as Maserati and Packard clubs, and the Classic Car Club of America.
Another entry of importance is a custom-designed Howard "Dutch" Darrin Packard. One of just a limited few built, this automobile is considered to be a perfect match for the event, because of its association with Darrin, who crafted many of his cars for the same celebrities that brought worldwide notoriety to Palm Springs in the early 1940’s. "Our event will focus attention to the unique history Palm Springs has in relation to these historically significant cars, as well as the celebrities and drivers that made them famous," Merrigan stated.
For details and other information call 1 760-346-1810, or visit: www.DesertConcours.com.