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LIFE ON THE CIRCUIT

Car Aficionado's Dream: An Evening in a Ferrari Dealer's Showroom, Lot

September 22, 1989|PAMELA MARIN

The Scene

Drinks and hors d'oeuvres for about 200 autophiles at Newport Imports on Coast Highway in Newport Beach. Cruising the showroom and car lot after work on Tuesday were patrons and exhibitors of the seventh annual Newport Beach Concours d'Elegance, an antique and classic car show to be held at UC Irvine on Oct. 1. Proceeds from the Concours help underwrite the Assessment and Treatment Services Center, a private, nonprofit juvenile counseling program serving Orange County. This year's Concours will be local Ferrari lovers' field of dreams--the daylong fete will include a "Friends of Ferrari" meeting and a host of Ferrari models of various vintages. (One of the ruby-colored cars is the show's poster prop.) Lee West, owner of Newport Imports, used Tuesday's thank-you party--hosted by ATSC--to unveil a new model 1990 Ferrari. For most of the two-hour get-together, the little red surprise was parked in the middle of the showroom, draped with a cloth cover, the object of many a sidelong glance.

The Buzz

Conspicuous consumption, with a smile. "We have Ferraris and Alfas," said Sandy Zide, who carried her 3-month-old daughter in a shoulder sling. While Sandy cooed at baby Amy, husband Sheldon, a doctor, clarified: three Ferraris, four Alfa Romeos. "I collect them and I restore them," he said of his four-wheel harem. Ed Awad, a chemical engineer, allowed as how he owned just two Ferraris, but added quickly, "I'm about to buy another one." Jolene Engle--who wore red leather pants, spike-heel boots and a sequined jacket with race-car patches buried in the shiny scales--said she drives Jaguars and her husband, Dick, drives Ferraris (that's plural, two apiece). "Ferraris are for driving fast, and he does," she said with a giggle, glancing at her husband. "Hit the freeway, up to 180-- wheee! "

The Food

Generous portions, as hors d'oeuvres go, and they did--quick as you could hiss Testarossa , the servers' silver trays were plucked clean. Luckily for the hungry after-work crowd, the trays were restocked almost as fast. Among the tasty offerings supplied by The Upper Crust caterers were Gargantuan prawns, veal piccata, spinach and feta cheese frittata, and filet mignon en baguette with lemon caper sauce. Champagne and the usual assortment of nonalcoholic and mixed drinks flowed at the hosted bars.

Dress Mode

The men looked bankerly, doctorly, lawyerly in power suits and still-crisp-at-dusk shirts; the distaff side was all over the boards. Floral cocktail dresses. Basic black ensembles. Leather. Sequins. Mink. What's the dress code for cocktails at a car lot, anyway?

Who Was There

William and Willa Dean Lyon, who left their classic car collection at home in their private museum, thank-you very much, and slid off Pacific Coast Highway to the waiting arms of the valets in a midnight blue Cadillac. Retired race car driver Dan Gurney, with his wife Evi. The Gurneys, who live in Newport Beach, said they haven't been able to make it to the Concours any of the past six years and won't make it this year either--love to, Dan said, but he'll be on the road with his race team. Television actor Barry Bostwick. Concours chairwoman Lynda Shea, and her husband, Peter, who owns Entrepreneur magazine. Sally and Norman Loats, who heads the board of the Assessment and Treatment Services Center.

Overheard

"He's not the kind of person who babies a car. He drove his Testarossa yesterday-- even in the rain! "

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