It is a unique experience, riding along in a Ferrari GTO. Unique because if you could figure out a way to ride in every one every made, you'd only get 36 chances.
"It embodies, it combines, everything about beauty and strength. So it's very difficult to combine beauty and strength. Sometimes it's the strength of body building, sometimes it's the beauty of being thin. But this car does both. It's perfect." So says Jean Berchon, Vice President of French champagne maker Moet & Chandon.
He and I are standing on the lawn of the Domain Chandon winery in Napa California. We are surrounded by nearly a half billion dollars worth of vintage automobiles. All the same make, all Ferrari GTO's.
"They were driven by all the champions of their time. Graham Hill, Jackie Stewart, Pedro Rodriguez, Sterling Moss, all drove GTOs." Berchon's French accent is thick and his smile is wide as he speaks. How could you not smile at the 45th anniversary of the first Ferrari GTO coming off the production line in Italy? In production only from 1962 to 1964, the GTO won the World Manufacturers Championship each of those years.
For vintage car collectors, particularly those interested in race cars, the GTO is the ultimate. Just ask Peter Sachs, retired partner in Goldman Sachs. "It is a superbly balanced race car, compared to anything today. I've driven modern race cars for years and it's right up there, and it's 45 years old. And you won't find a better balanced car anywhere."
Sachs is one of the 21 owners that have brought their GTOs here from all over the world. Starting 25 years ago, Moet & Chandon has sponsored a gathering of these cars every five years.
The first four were in France, but with more owners living in the United States than anywhere else, the 45th is being held here. It is quite a sight. Nearly all red in color, and each valued somewhere near 18 or 20 million dollars. The interesting thing is that looking at them on the lawn is only part of the fun. The other part is actually racing them, which they do. Lawrence Stroll, CEO of the fashion house Michael Kors, can't wait.
"I've been pretty lucky racing mine. I have a large collection of cars, and I've bought them for passion. It's just coincidence that their investment value has risen significantly." he says. Surrounded by passion and surrounded by one of the great cars of the world. Some job huh?
MOA is in Alaska and South Dakota the rest of this week. You can see the GTO story and other MOA offerings on "Power Lunch" on CNBC-TV. See you along the road.
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