It’s not surprising on any given weekend to see a variety of exotic cars parked along the main drags in Calistoga, St. Helena, or Yountville in the Napa Valley.
What is surprising is to see 40 Ferrari sportscars in a resort parking lot.
The occasion was an event put on by the Italian sports car maker to give its loyal and select clientele a chance to view its new vehicles, and enjoy each others’ camaraderie.
To participate in one of these annual events, you have own a Ferrari and also be invited by the company.
Ferrari’s start at $200,000, as with the new 2017 California T a six-speed coupe with a manual drivetrain. The carmaker’s limited-edition 2017 La Ferrari Aperta sells for $2.2 million. Only 209 of those cars are being made.
They were sold by invitation only. Of the 209 invitations that were sent out, all 209 recipients purchased the car, according to Krista Florin, a company spokesperson.
Jordan Melville was one such person to receive an invitation.
“They emailed me the announcement that it was out and within two days I was down at the dealership putting my money down. With the California model, when I go home I’ll unpack and whip on down to the dealership and put some money down on that as well,” he said.
The West Coast of the U.S. is the top market for Ferraris, followed by the Northeast and south Florida, Florin said.
The company recently brought 70 of its classic cars, one for each year of company’s history, to the Concours D’Elegance in Pebble Beach. The cars, owned by the company, private owners and museums, were valued at $500 million.
From there, about 40 privately owned cars wound their way up the scenic coast, where owners wined and dined at various wineries, and finally landed at Solage in Calistoga.
“It is a bit of a marketing play for them for sure,” Melville said. “They bring very limited and very old and historical cars, but they also bring cars going into production now.”
Melville owns Brandlive Management Group, which puts on corporate conferences for companies like Honda. He also serves as president of T&M Management, a company with a diverse portfolio that includes Boston Pizza International.
Despite the attention grabbing appearance of its vehicles, the way the Ferrari company operates and markets the cars is low key.
If you hadn’t walked through the parking lot of Solage Resort and Spa the second to last week of August, you might not have known about the 70th anniversary event at all.
Ferrari doesn’t make an SUV, like other high-end cars like Lamborghini or Bentley, or sell an entry-level sports car, like Aston Martin or Maserati. Last year, the company said it shipped only 8,014 cars worldwide, but reported net revenue of $3.4 billion from sales of cars, car components and other sources. In other words, Ferrari can afford to be choosy about who gets its best cars.
“If you are not a current or previous Ferrari owner, you have no chance at all (to purchase a limited-edition car),” said collector David Christian, who for decades has raced and owned elite Italian cars. “I don’t care how much money you have,” the Los Angeles Times reported in June.