Fuori Concorso took California with an avalanche of white collector cars
Glorious year-round sunshine, jaw-dropping vistas, striking mid-century architecture and an altogether more relaxed pace of life. Oh, and a liberal sprinkling of Hollywood glamour. As road trip destinations go, California ranks highly on the list. That’s why when the folks behind Fuori Concorso decided to stage a thematic road rally for white cars, the modernist mecca of Palm Springs was the perfect springboard from which to start.
For those of you who aren’t aware of Fuori Concorso, it’s a thematic automotive beauty pageant that’s the brainchild of Guglielmo Miani, the exuberant heir to the Larusmiani fashion dynasty. The inaugural event, an all-out celebration of the most opulent Bentley Continentals of the 1990s, took place at the Villa del Grumello on the shores of Lake Como in May of last year. That was followed by a glorious Grand Prix reunion at the Villa Necchi Campiglio near Monza during the Formula 1 weekend in September.
The decision to take Fuori Concorso on the road led Miani and some 20 of his friends to the luscious green Gene Autry lawn at the Parker Palm Springs hotel last Friday evening. Collectively, they own a wonderfully eclectic selection of white collector cars, ranging from a dainty and delectable Alfa Romeo Spider 1600 and a bewinged Lamborghini Countach to a classic drop-top Ford Mustang and a 1990s BMW M3 Cabriolet. There was one car that commanded our attention more than any other, though: Stuart Parr’s magnificent Iso Grifo, an American V8 thug in a crisp white Italian suit.
Following a wonderful evening beneath the palm trees and San Jacinto mountains that frame the retro-modern Parker Palm Springs hotel, Fuori Concorso officially hit the road on Saturday morning, the all-white convoy spearing through the Coachella Valley towards Joshua Tree National Park. The pace was suitably relaxed, those participants driving convertibles especially enjoying the warm and gentle breeze and panoramic view of the sparse yet staggeringly impressive landscape. Driving in this part of California really is like being on the surface of a far-flung planet.
After a scenic stop for photographs and an inadvertent run in with an ultra-cool classic Mercedes-Benz lorry-cum-camper complete with a Honda scrambler on the back, the last port of call for the day was The Thermal Club, a sort of private motorsport country club that surrounds three different racing circuits. A smattering of competition-spec Porsche 911s out on the track were promptly overshadowed by the Gulf-liveried McLaren P1 GTR ‘Longtail’ bellowing round. We imagine the owners of the Ferrari 430 Scuderia and 812 Superfast on the rally were itching for a go.
Another night at the Parker ensued, followed by a visit on Sunday to a mid-century marvel architected by William F. Cody (a man responsible for much of the town's most striking buildings), opened as part of Modernism Week in Palm Springs. To see the white Fuori Concorso cars casually dotted around the residence was a fitting end to what was a fantastic weekend of casual and stylish motoring among friends. We’re already anticipating the next Fuori Concorso at Lake Como in May and, fingers crossed, another Fuori Concorso On the Road before the year is out. Over to you, Guglielmo!
Photos: Andrea Luzardi for Classic Driver © 2020