Ferrari Club of America
1-Could you please make a brief retrospect of the Club's history and past and current activities?
Founded in 1962, the Ferrari Club of America (the largest Ferrari Club in the world) and its 4,800 members enjoy exciting track events, internationally recognized concours d'elegance, and a variety of social activities. Regions and chapters throughout the U.S. and Canada maintain a full calendar of events, and the Annual Meeting with hundreds of Ferraris and people draws participants from around the world. Members receive the monthly News Bulletin as well as the quarterly magazine PRANCING HORSE, containing in-depth features on particular Ferrari types and coverage of Ferrari gatherings both here and abroad, all thoroughly illustrated with colorful photos and drawings.
The Ferrari Club of America is comprised of sixteen regions throughout North America and Canada. Depending on the geographic scope of the region there may also be chapters within those regions. The FCA national Board of Directors consists of eighteen officers, of which ten comprise the Executive Committee in addition to sixteen regional directors and the chapter presidents.
2-What are the Club's membership requirements?
Our only membership requirement is enthusiasm. We do not require Ferrari ownership to be a member or to partake in our events. Having said that, approximately 84% of our membership owns at least one Ferrari.
3-What is the general profile and geographical situation of Club members?
Generally the typical FCA member is an affluent, well-educated, 52 year old male executive. However, we have enthusiastic members of all ages, backgrounds both male and female. Our geographical expanse is large, with 3,000 plus miles from coast to coast, which requires us to separate into sixteen Regions, which also encompass twenty-five Chapters. We began adding the Chapters to service Tifosi in geographically isolated areas of the country. The chapters typically have fewer members, but are very active groups, each planning many events in their area.
4-Do you pay a particular attention to the geographical situation of Club members when setting up the meetings?
We have essentially two annual "national" gatherings every year, one of which is our Annual Meeting, which rotates to a different location around the United States and the other being at the Formula One race at Indianapolis. Our Annual Meetings are located at various tracks, and this year we are going to the famous Sebring International Raceway. In 2004, we will be heading to Laguna Seca in California, which we expect to attract many hundreds of Ferraris. Every 10 years Ferraris are honored as the featured manufacturer at the Monterey Historic Races and at the Pebble Beach Concours. In 1994, we held the largest ever gathering of Ferraris with approximately 800-1,000 cars on the Monterey Peninsula for the week. By moving the annual meeting around the United States, it allows our members to experience many different tracks and parts of the country.
In addition, with our many regions and chapters, members have the ability to partake in events throughout the country. It's safe to say that there is probably a Ferrari Club of America event happening virtually every weekend somewhere throughout the country.
5-How do you take the landscape into account when setting up the meetings?
There are numerous factors that determine the location of our meetings such as time of the year, climate and proximity to other major events. We are very cautious about not scheduling an event too close to another racing, rally or concours event.
6-What is the percentage of members' classic and modern Ferraris?
We estimate 70% of the club member's Ferraris are modern Ferraris (1972 and newer). This is probably due to the simple fact that there are many more new cars that have been produced to date. With the club's mission statement including furthering the preservation of the Ferrari automobile, we have a serious desire to ensure the future of these classics.
7-Do your meetings gather all Club members?
Approximately 65% of our membership has attended an annual meeting at some time which speaks volumes, particularly with a group as large as 4,800 members. Regional events are very well attended including rallys, street and track events and vintage racing.
8-Do you work in partnership with other Ferrari clubs in Europe for special events?
We have very good relationships with many Ferrari Clubs around the world and have provided judging guidelines from the IAC/PFA (International Advisory Council for the Preservation of the Ferrari Automobile) for several European concours.
9-Do Ferrari Club of America members keep an eye on (or even come to) Ferrari events worldwide (i.e. Ferrari/Maserati Challenge, Classic Mille Miglia, etc)?
Absolutely, many FCA members participate in the many great European events such as the Mille Miglia, the Le Mans Classic, Goodwood, Monaco Historics and the Ferrari / Maserati Historic Challenge.
10-What are the most exclusive and rarest cars owned by Club members?
We are blessed with many great cars, both in GT and race form. Starting with the early cars, the first Ferrari to win a race, a type 125/166 S/N 001/010I, 250 Testarossa Prototype S/N 0666TR, 375 MM Scaglietti Berlinetta Speciale 0402AM (Rossellini gullwing car), 375 MM Speciale Coupe PF "Bergman Coupe" 0456AM, 410 "Superfast I" PF Speciale PF SWB S/N 0483SA, 315S S/N 0684 (your feature car fall 2002), 340MM/375 MM Vignale Spyder (Carrera Panamerica car) s/n 0286AM, 340 Mexico Vignale Coupe S/N 0224AT, 290 MM S/N 0616 (1st place 1956 Mille Miglia), 196 SP S/N 790 (1st place at 61 Targa Florio and '62 1000km Nuerburgring, 330 GTO S/N 3765LM, 250 LM S/N 6025 ('65 Pininfarina Geneva Show Car), 365 P Guida Centrale 3-posti S/N 8971, 412 P P3/P4 S/N 0850, 312 P S/N 0872 (The Flying Shingle) and F50GT S/N 001 to name a few.
11-Did Ferrari's present racing record have any influence on membership applications over the past few years?
The Ferrari Club of America certainly enjoyed a rise in membership beginning in 1999 just as the team was getting close to their ultimate goal. In addition, 1999 marked the return of Formula One to the United States, which also increased our membership.
12-Is Ferrari's image in the US linked to street cars or racing activities?
Good question, but I would tend to lean more toward the GT cars. Our members truly use their cars for daily driving or "moving" events and have probably had more exposure to the street cars. Unfortunately, up until 1999 the United States had not hosted a Formula One race for many years, and during that period only the most enthusiastic Tifosi followed F1. Even results and coverage was difficult to receive in the states during this time.
13-What is the general opinion of Club members regarding Ferrari's present situation in Formula 1?
We are very proud of the accomplishments that Ferrari has attained. It has worked very hard to combine the best talent with the best technology. With the technical knowledge, backing and material engineering wherewithal it's hard to imagine Ferrari not being as strong while the existing team is in place. With Todt, Brawn and Schumacher's contracts nearing their end we can only imagine a very strong team through this period. There is some question about the 2003 regulation initiatives and their place in this series. Attempting to equalize the strong and weak teams will always be an issue, and looking back to similar attempts in the past, which have typically proved ineffective, I question the motives.
14-How did you get your own passion for Ferrari?
I've always been a "car guy', restoring classic cars before I could legally drive. I restored domestic sedans, pickups and the like, but my first drive in a "sporty car" was a 1948 MC TC, which I earned by repairing the car for a good friend. I began craving more which was difficult growing up in a small community far away from any interesting racing or European cars. Indy Car and stock car racing was the norm in the states, but I searched out any publications with Ferraris and fell in love with Daytonas and Boxers. My insatiable reading was ultimately my downfall as I purchased my first Ferrari - a 308 GTS 4V. In that first drive from the dealer to home, I knew there would be no cure for this infliction. I was officially diagnosed with the Ferrari "disease".
15-What are your all-time favorite models?
I would have to say that the pontoon-fendered 250 TR is my all-time favorite. Certainly the 312 PB, 330 P3/4, 340 Mexico, 375MM, 14-louver 250 GT Berlinetta, Daytona, any 250 or 330 and the awesome 412 MI are among my favorites.
16-Classic Ferraris are often seen today as works of art. Do you feel that this dimension is still alive regarding the modern ones?
True aerodynamics play a very large role in today's designs. Certainly this was true in the past, but it wasn't based on much scientific fact. Designers assumed that if you took the "breaks" out of the car's fluid design you would be able to cheat the wind. In some cases, these classics ended up looking more like bulbous eggs. As I look at today's Pininfarina designs, I see breathtaking, purposeful designs. I recently had the chance to view the Enzo 'in the flesh' and while I immediately liked it in print, it was wonderful to see in person. The Enzo appeared to be much smaller in person than in print and is visually stunning. Pininfarina designs are timeless sculpture; its beauty will never fade.
17-Do you have Club members among the Enzo's future owners?
Yes, we do, in fact we have several anticipated to attend our April 1, 2003 FCA Annual Meet in Sebring.
18-What are the major events planned by the Club in 2003?
First, our Annual Meet at Sebring in April 1-6, the Rodeo Drive Concours along Beverly Hills' Rodeo Drive on June 15, the Hartford Concorso Ferrari on Jun 22, the 19th Annual Reading Ferrari Concours, Art & Memorabilia Show on May 18th, the annual Vintage Ferrari Concours in Monterey, CA held in conjunction with the Monterey Historics and Pebble Beach on August 15, a Three-Day Watkins Glen Track Event on Aug 29-31, and "The Gathering" at the US Grand Prix on Sept 26.
Your personal biography
Paul Gilpatrick, the Ferrari Club of America President, has been a FCA member since 1990 and has always had a passion for Ferraris. Paul and his wife Theresa reside in Colorado with their 7-year-old son Blair, where Paul owns HostWorks, a web development and hosting firm. In addition to serving as the Rocky Mountain Region Regional Director for eight years, Paul has also served as national Membership Chairman, Secretary and Internet Chair. Most recently Paul served as the co-chairman of the 2000 Ferrari Club of America Annual Meet in Colorado Springs. Paul is a national senior class judge, a board member of the Colorado Grand and has operated the 330 Register since 1990. Paul has owned a 308 GTS QV, Testarossa, 348 TS, 250 GT Speciale, 330 GT, 250 PF Cabriolet Series II, 250 PF Coupe and 246 GT.