My Car Quest

February 24, 2024

Enzo Ferrari’s Birthday Ferrari Cruise-In At The Petersen Museum

A good show squeezed between rainstorms.

by Wallace Wyss –

Used to be you planned a car show in Los Angeles, it almost always went on. Rain was what, one week a year?

Npt any more. As Enzo’s birthday approached, the events people with the Ferrari Club of America Southwest Region were worried they would get rained out in their annual birthday celebration for Enzo Ferrari at the famed Petersen Automotive Museum, a museum started originally by magazine publisher (Motor Trend, HOT ROD et al) Robert E. Petersen.

But on the morning of the 17th the sun rose and not a cloud was in the sky. But rain was predicted so the idea was to get there, show your car and split.

The event actually started the evening before with a VIP reception for those in the Petersen VIP group. That reception, held on the fourth floor of the parking structure, which has a great view of Hollywood and the Hollywood Hills, had three guest speakers, Derek Hill, the son of race pilot Phil Hill, Michael Leventhal, a significant Ferrari collector for 50 years and Bruce Meyer, who is on the Museum board and a significant collector of many brands.

Ferrari Testa Rossa Bruce Meyer

The speeches were more of a panel discussion and I heard more about subjects you rarely hear about, like how Phil Hill was taking more pictures as a race driver than some photographers. His son, Derek, also a race driver, has made it a labor of love to put these into a series of splendidly produced hardbound books. What is charming about the books is that fellow drivers and crew of those long ago racing teams were not tensed up when Phil was taking pictures because, hey he was part of the scene (Le Mans winner, in fact). Derek’s mom was there too and she Is always good at making a wisecrack.

Mr. Leventhal told of the many significant cars he had that he mistakingly sold including a short wheelbase Berlinetta in alloy that he sold because someone in Europe was making a copy of it and had found the correct engine, which in a way invalidated his cars’ history though his was the real thing. (Not to worry, he does own a very early Barchetta that is a valuable artifact as well…) Bruce Meyer admitted a secret I had only heard before from author Hans Tanner, that Ferrari with their works cars and some private teams would switch chassis plate numbers before going through customs so they wouldn’t have to pay duties, which plays hell with historians decades later in trying to find out which car raced where.

Mr. Leventhal went on about his personal belief that all three of them have driven now-historic cars on many events and driven them hard and he is amazed that with some of the new modern day owners he meets, the idea of flogging the car on tours, hasn’t occurred to them. He gave the example of meeting someone bragging about owning a 288 GTO with “only 400 miles on it.” He thinks that the joy of these cars is driving them. Bruce Meyer, who later displayed his silver Testa Rossa, said he drives his cars on the street every chance he gets.

Ferrari F40

On show day, the weather was sunny and bright and easily 100 cars showed up, probably half of what would have come of the weather reports weren’t so foreboding. Not too many were “historical” like Bruce Meyer’s silver Testa Rossa, but there was also a Lusso and a Boxer and a Dino. Most of the rest were newer cars, including very new ones.

There was one Italian race car not in the family back then, a Lancia Stratos but I am sure many were glad to see it. And, hey, didn’t Enzo once manage a Lancia team?

One car that stood out as being dowdy and not even in the same family so to speak was a Dino coupe by Bertone, one of the front engine ones. These cars are a lot less desirable than the curvy Dino roadster by Pininfarina and it’s too bad no roadster was there to compare to see how two coachbuilders, given the same chassis, took such different routes.

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I enjoyed seeing the personalized styles worn by many, from the favorite leather jacket with Ferrari patch, to very shapely outfits by the ladies, of course favoring the color Rosso Corsa.

The Petersen had a little booth selling model cars and Mr. Hill’s book. I was amazed to see a die cast model of Mr. Meyer’s short wheelbase 250GT right down to the blue race stripes. These weren’t just models you’d find at Cosctco. I hope the Petersen Museum store strives even more to have “curated collectables, like the excellent Museum store in the Mullin Museum in Oxnard.

The crowd consisted mostly of FCA folk, though the Petersen should be lauded for being so generous in their policy of letting anybody come in off the street to their outdoor cruise-in shows, at no cost. Now if the off-the-street visitors want to go inside the Museum and see the displays, they have to trek down four floors to the ticket office and buy an admission ticket. Think of this event as about 1/10th the size of Ferraris on Colorado Blvd (held in Old Town Pasadena). Both shows are free to the public but this one even included free bagels and coffee…

Wallace Wyss

Wallace Wyss

THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss is a fine artist whose artwork can be found at Concorso Italiano in Monterey. For a list of available prints or to talk about a commission for your car’s portrait, write


Photos by Wallace Wyss.

More photos are in the slide show below.

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Enzo Ferrari's Birthday Ferrari Cruise-In At The Petersen Museum
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Enzo Ferrari's Birthday Ferrari Cruise-In At The Petersen Museum
But on the morning of the 17th the sun rose and not a cloud was in the sky. But rain was predicted so the idea was to get there, show your car and split.


  1. The post was really attractive and I really liked it. Thank you

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