Fans really love their Ferraris Enthusiasts gather at Laurel restaurant.

March 30, 1992|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff Writer

LAUREL -- Like other car buffs, Ferrari owners have their stories.

Take Carl and Betty Cantera of Earleville. The Cecil County couple's 1985 Ferrari GTU -- one of 60 or fewer such cars in the United States -- won a "significant" Ferrari award, presented on the steps of the U.S. Capitol not long ago.

"People came to tour the Capitol but were looking at our car instead," recalled Mrs. Cantera, one of about 70 owners and enthusiasts of the Italian-made car who attended a Ferrari meet yesterday at a restaurant off U.S. 1.

Then there's Barry Tillman of Owings Mills.

His 1963 250 GTL Lusso has won some 40 "best of show" trophies, but, of going to car shows, he says, "Enough is enough. You stand around all day and look at cars. Racing is more fun."

For racing, Mr. Tillman, the owner of an insurance brokerage, sits behind the wheel of his 1958 Testarossa or that of his 1988 Testarossa.

"It's a thrill you can't imagine," Mr. Tillman said.

Barbara Roza, a long-time Ferrari fan but only recently an owner, recalled running into Morley Safer, a "60 Minutes" correspondent, at a Ferrari-something-or-other. Another time she crossed paths with Bill Marriott of the hotel chain.

"All kinds of people own Ferraris," said Ms. Roza, a personnel officer for the U.S. Department of Defense. "There's this mystique about people who own them. But really, we're just a nice group of people with different occupations. We're not all doctors or lawyers."

People who drive Ferraris are different from those who drive Fords, Hondas and Chryslers, however. They spend more money for their two-seat coupes and convertibles. Used Ferraris range in price from $50,000 to several million.

"A lot of people think this is an elitist, snobbish thing," said Walt Cunningham, the owner of a gray, 1983 Ferrari 308GTS. "It's not. It's just a group of people who share the same love for this car."

With a glass of wine in hand, Dr. Cunningham, an Annapolis dentist, kicked tires with other Ferrari enthusiasts from Virginia, Delaware, Maryland and the District of Columbia. They were all members of the Ferrari Club of America's Mid-Atlantic Region.

The buzz around the parking lot at C. J. Ferrari's (where else would Ferrari aficionados meet?) came not from the engines of their stunning cars, but from talk of car restorations and upcoming races and events.

The Ferraris were silent. Even so, the parking lot outside the Italian restaurant contained inventory that museums dream of. Some 30 blue, gray and mostly red Ferraris -- with a total value of about $5 million -- were on display for several hours.

"It's a lot of fun," David Born, a Ferrari owner from Laurel, said of yesterday's annual "spring thaw" event. "It's a great opportunity for people who own these cars to get together."

These people feel unabashed affection for their cars.

Ms. Roza finds the "sensuality of the car" appealing. "It's moving art, in a sense," she said. "Porsches and Corvettes are more common, and I still admire them, but it's the rarity of the Ferrari that I really like."

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