Thanks to Nippertown, I won 2 tickets for the Saratoga Wine & Food and Fall Ferrari Festival at SPAC last Saturday. The Festival, presented in partnership with the Italian Trade Commission and the Saratoga Automobile Museum, offered three days of events showcasing fine wines, food and luxury automobiles. My friend Mikey and I spent an hour taking pictures of the many Ferrari’s and Alfa Romeo’s, then traded our cameras for an assortment of forks and toothpicks. I savored the samples as much as I enjoyed building my fantasy garage. This worked out pretty well actually; once we were done devouring Italian specialties we headed even further North to the SunKiss Balloon Festival to finish that glorious afternoon.
More photos below. Click on any of the thumbnails to open a larger view, or check the full-screen Flickr slideshow if you have Flash installed.
Chef and restaurateur Lidia Bastianich and auto designer Andrea Zagato were the Honorary Chairs of the Wine and Food and Ferrari Festival. Bastianich is the host of three PBS cooking shows. She is also the chef/owner of four NYC restaurants – Felidia, Becco, Esca and Del Posto, as well as Lidia’s in Pittsburgh and Kansas City. She has authored several cookbooks and did some signing at the venue. Andrea Zagato is the current head of the Zagato design house founded by his grandfather Ugo Zagato in 1919. Zagato originated the use of aircraft techniques in the design and construction of lightweight automobile bodies, applying knowledge acquired in the aeronautical industry to Grand Touring cars built for Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Fiat, Abarth, Maserati and Lancia, as well as Aston Martin and Bentley.
Above, a Ferrari 575 GTZ (GT Zagato), recently featured on the cover of Cavallino magazine (you naughty, naughty car). A one-off built by Zagato for Japanese Ferrari collector Yoshiyuki Hayashi and announced in 2006 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 250 range. Endorsed by Ferrari, it features this interesting double-bubble roofline, seen also on the Fiat Abarth 750 Zagato Coupe below (source: Wikipedia).
What about the wine & food? Both abundant and delicious. A lot of local restaurants and vendors were represented and the venue was jam-packed. I didn’t take any pictures of the tasting, there was barely any room to walk with a glass of wine, a plate and a camera bag. The light was terrible under the tents, it was pretty much guaranteed to be a photo disaster. I wanted to taste the food too, damn’ it :) Head over to Albany Eats for more information, food blogger and friend Albany Jane covered the festival in no less than 3 posts (part 1, 2, and 3).
I really wanted to pocket this tiny Fiat Abarth 750 Zagato above, featuring the trademark double-bubble roofline. I doubt I can even step in it though. Actually my step-dad used to own a Fiat 500 and I managed to pack my 6’3″ inside that matchbox. Small sports racing cars were very popular in 1950s Italy. Many started as production cars and were turned into circuit car by specialist companies. Abarth approached Zagato in 1955 and suggested to construct a Fiat 600 based machine with his mechanical modifications and a Zagato two-seater coupe coachwork. It was unveiled during the Geneva Motor Show in March of 1956 (source: ultimatecarpage.com).
Seen above, a Ferrari Dino. Dino was a brand for mid-engined, rear-drive sports cars produced by Ferrari from 1968 to 1976. The Dino brand was meant to be used for cars with engines that had fewer than 12 cylinders, reserving the Ferrari name for the V-12 and flat 12 models. The Dino name was retired after that point, in favor of conventional Ferrari branding. The Dino brand was an attempt by Ferrari to produce a relatively low cost sports car (source: Wikipedia).
One of these 2 toys is not for grown-ups. Rejoice, the real Barbie Ferrari (not this model by the way) can be yours for only $189 on Amazon, wohoo. It was quite the looker. I leave you with your choice of: the 1987 Barbie Ferrari (red) commercial, or 30 seconds from John Hiatt’s The Wreck Of The Barbie Ferrari. Both may cause slight discomfort and potential brain injury.
The Ferrari F430 (above) was a sports car produced by Ferrari from 2004 to 2009, as a successor to the 360. It debuted at the 2004 Paris Motor Show. Its replacement, the Ferrari 458 Italia, was unveiled on 28 July 2009 and is on sale now (source: Wikipedia). The MSRP for a Ferrari F430 is $168,005 to $227,000 in the United States, so that’s probably about €25 back in France. What am I waiting for? I need a bigger garage.
The grill of the Alfa Romeo 8C Spider. The 8C Spider is Alfa Romeo’s latest supercar, paying homage to the eight-cylinder Alfa Romeo’s of the pre-war period. The 8C Competizione was first introduced as a coupe released for sale in 2007. The Spider was introduced in 2009 with a commitment to limit production to only 500 cars, just 35 for the U.S. market. I take it it’s pretty zippy and could have been yours for US$241,000. I took grill pictures of many other sweet cars, including a Ferrari F40 and some Alfa Romeo’s; click on any of the thumbnails to view larger versions.
Most of the cars featured in this post are familiar to anybody who has ever spent quality time in a doctor’s waiting room. Or fans of Magnum, P.I. They turn heads. What I didn’t have the opportunity to see in details before were the gorgeous car interiors. I took many shots through the windows (see thumbnails) and had to resist the urge to partake in the leather love fest. Check these knobs, if I may say.
I know, WTF. The Alfa Romeo BAT 11 Design Study is a contemporary interpretation of the original series of BAT concepts constructed on Alfa Romeo 6C 1900 chassis. Although BAT stood for Berlinetta Aerodinamica Tecnica—aerodynamic studies—each of the automobiles showed a strong resemblance to a winged bat with its exaggerated tailfins. The idea was to create vehicles with the lowest possible drag coefficient. Of the successful project came three cars at the time: the BAT 5 in 1953, the BAT 7 in 1954, and finally the BAT 9 in 1955.
My photo tips. I don’t have much experience with car photography. I took some photos of a Cadillac Eldorado last year on a parking lot and that’s about it. I was looking forward the opportunity to practice but I’m not coming back much more confident. I’ve the feeling this is as technical as food photography, actually. A lot of effort is put in designing these surfaces and polishing these chromes, but that doesn’t make my job any easier. I looked online for inspiration, tried a few different angles, squatted down to shoot from below, but there is nothing I brought back that is a killer shot. Side photos, shot from the back, were particularly elusive.
With so much reflection you can’t afford a bad light; at 1PM, we couldn’t get worse from the Day Star unfortunately. Intense highlights, harsh shadows, no thanks. What I do know however is that I can leave my wide angle at home. I was hoping to emphasize some curves with my Canon 16-35mm, but the distortions ended up destroying what fancy Italian designers had spent years working on. Most of the pictures in this post were taken with a Canon 24-105mm instead. What I should have packed (and studied) is a flash though, to bring my own light and counter-act the sun. High-speed flash on a bright day is fun but I need more practice first. I think I’ll be ready next year and hopefully bring back better photos. Coincidentally, here is a nice one I saw this morning. Food for thought.
The Saratoga Wine & Food and Fall Ferrari Festival took place at SPAC, 108 Avenue of the Pines, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866.
Mikey took photos of the event as well. I’ll post a link as soon as they show up online.
In the meantime, here are a few great Ferrari photos randomly found on Flickr: