Our members take great pride in the presentation of their cars and all our concours events are keenly contested but our real emphasis is on driving, with regular track events being a long-standing club tradition. We publish several, quality club journals and interstate friendships, formed over many years of attendance at our much-loved annual rally, are an important part of our culture.
In a clear case of history repeating itself, we are just starting to see a trickle of older competition cars coming into Australia (F40LM, F50LM, F333SP, Challenge cars of all models etc.) and hope this continues to boost the numbers of important, later cars at our events.
Australians are great followers of F1 and just like everywhere else around the globe, Ferrari is the favourite team. Whenever our club gathers, the recognition and respect our cars receive from the general public is very heart-warming and reminds us how lucky we are to be the custodians of these wonderful pieces of automotive history.
It all started with an idea.
It is said that a thing of beauty is a joy forever – and this applies particularly to that mobile work of art – THE FERRARI. Fired with enthusiasm for all things Ferrari since my acquisition of a 250 GT Coupe in January 1969, I noticed a very small advertisement in the Classified pages of the English magazine “MOTOR SPORT”, inviting Ferrari owners to join the UK Ferrari Owners’ Club. Contact was established with Godfrey Eaton, Secretary of the F.D.C. in England, and the idea of forming an Australian club grew and grew, until it became unmanageable, forcing me to depart our shores in search for the “Holy Grail!”
Thus in early 1971, I found myself walking the streets of Modena with my head in the clouds – this had to be paradise! I wandered in on Tom Meade (an American enthusiast trying to improve on Enzo’s work), and Piero Drogo (coach builder and ex-racing driver) who had some incredible machinery at his works. The ‘Breadvan’, built on a 250 GTO chassis, is one of his creations.
Finally, introducing myself at the main Ferrari Office in Modena, I had the good fortune to meet Dott. MANICARDI (Ferrari General Manager) who was hosting Col. Ronnie HOARE (Chairman of Maranello Concessionaires UK). In our discussion, the formation of an Australian F.D.C. was warmly supported, and resulted in a good relationship with Maranello Concessionaires, who were soon to have the Ferrari agency for the whole of the R.H.D. world.
After Modena, I drove to Switzerland, and met Rob de la Rive Box, an enthusiast, author and part time dealer in Ferraris, who was quite enthusiastic about my plans. Subsequently I organized a meeting with Godfrey Eaton in the U.K. and we became serious plotters: it was quite amazing, but in his involvement with Bugatti Owners’ Club, Godfrey knew Bob King from Melbourne, who was thinking on similar lines, writing in the Bugatti Newsletter of August 1971 as follows :
“I feel I do not need to apologise for mentioning Ferraris in this newsletter. Most Buggatisti feel an affinity with the creations of Enzo Ferrari and a number of our members now own cars of that make. It has often been said that these are the type of car that Bugatti would design if he were alive today.”
The Bugatti Owners Club, in England, has taken on the task of creating a Ferrari Club and this greatly benefited the owners of both marques. It has been suggested that we should form a Ferrari section within our register. I view this with mixed feelings. It would, of course, be marvellous to have Ferraris competing in our events. However, it would be a great pity if owners of both marques were to use their Ferrari in preference to their Bugatti, in these events. Also, this is an informal club, and is not equipped to cater for large numbers of people. In other words, I do not think we would be wise to establish a comprehensive Ferrari Register or Club. Rather, I would imagine that a Ferrari section could cater for owners of these cars who also had an interest in Bugatti matters. This matter should be discussed amongst members and possibly a decision could be reached at the Bugatti Rally next year. Any letters on this subject would be greatly appreciated by the editor.
Ian Ferguson has now added a second Ferrari to his stable. This car is the very exciting 212 coupe, reputedly ex Carrera Pan Americana of 1951. It is, according to Peter Menere, not unlike a Grand Prix Bugatti to drive. On looking at “the office” I can quite believe this. There is no trim, one being surround by polished aluminium with a (5 speed) crash gear box situated where Bugatti placed his gear boxes at the left knee. The performance (and the noises) are said to be shattering”.
On my return to Australia, I called Bob and met him for dinner at Molina’s Imperial Hotel in Spring St., in November 1971. After discussion we decided to invite Ferrari’s to the 4th Great Australian Bugatti Rally at Griffith, NSW in June 1972. At that rally my words fell on fertile ground as I reported in the August 1972 Bugatti Newsletter
A proposal for the formation of a Ferrari Owners’ Association was made at the opening of the 4th Great Australian Bugatti Rally at Griffith by the writer thanks to courtesy of the organisers.
As apparently the need for such an association had been felt before, the words fell fertile ground, and after many words over even more glasses, the inaugural meeting the Ferrari Owners present was scheduled for the evening of the Presentation Dinner The owners present at Griffith were Lou Molina with his 250 GTE 2+2, Geoff Stubb his 330 GT 2+2, Noel Thomas with his Dino 246 GT, and the writer with a 250 GT coupe. Other owners, but alas without cars, were Stuart Murdoch, Peter Menere, lan Ferguson, about whose ill fortune more should be written.
At the presentation Dinner, and informal meeting – the first on record took place and it was pronounced desirable that we exist, and a more formal meeting was prop to be held at the Central Hotel, Church Street, Brighton on Wednesday 12th July, 1972 at 7 pm.