GTO 3987 on Mulholland

GTO 3987 on Mulholland

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Cannes: Day 4

This should read Nice/Monaco: Day 1 as the business of Cannes--my business--took place in these two locations on Day 4.

Thanks to Nath Van Doren, who introduced me to Serge Dermanian, I was able to meet and spend an afternoon with the man who looked after my Ferrari GTO along with all the other cars in the Ralph Lauren collection. Serge drove these cars every day and performed mechanical repairs and maintenance on them continually during the years he looked after them. Though we had been communicating via the Internet, it was a real pleasure to speak with Serge and his wife in person in their home which overlooks the Mediterranean from a seaside perch in Nice.

Serge was able to clear up one piece of mis-information that I had been guilty of assuming true and passing along. That is that Ralph Lauren had removed the orange 'Le Mans' lights on the roof that distinguished 3987 for all other GTOs. According to Serge, these were already absent by the time the car entered the collection. Mea culpa.

Speaking at length over glasses of Champagne, I was treated to some fascinating insights and hilarious anecdotes regarding everything you would imagine I wanted to know about Serge's involvement with cars. We then went on the record as I shouldered the camera and began an interview with Serge that will appear in my documentary about the Ferrari GTO. Though we focused on the GTO, I learned that Serge especially loved driving the Ferrari 250 LM, the 375 Plus and the blower Bentley. He says that the Ferrari P2/3 was less comfortable to drive than the LM and that if he could have taken one car away with him from the collection, it would be the Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 B MM which he once drove in pouring rain--no top, no windshield, just pure joy.

Serge is an expert of long standing with a deep appreciation for the fineness of these cars. He cares about these cars in a way that many owners regrettably do not. It was a real privilege to spend time with him and I look forward to our next meeting.

As if the conversation, the Champagne and the interview with Serge weren't enough, I drove south to Monaco where I did three laps of the grand prix circuit and then enjoyed an incredible dinner at Le Grill atop the Hôtel de Paris that was too delicious for me to put into words.

1 comment:

Vic said...

Another great addition to your GTO documentary! It must have been a truly special experience to have met and talked to Mr. Dermanian in person. I'm sure you must have felt a great sense of relief and pride to know that the 3987 was well taken care of by Serge and that it is in what is quite possibly, the finest automobile collection in the world.