By Sean Bowes

By now, the Rosse Corsa red Ferraris have been tucked safely back into their garages, as have the Lamborghinis, Jaguars and Porsches; however the “Show of Speed,” the first exotic car show ever held at Ciccio’s Lodge in the City Plaza at Tampa Palms Shopping Center, was such a success that it looks like it these cars, along with some other exotics, may have the chance to be shown as often as every month.

In fact, Ciccio’s Lodge will host its second exotic car show on Saturday, November 19, 5 p.m.-9 p.m.

On October 22, an estimated 400 or more people came out to the Publix-anchored shopping plaza to check out some of the jaw-dropping rides, which included not only “common” supercars like a handful of Dodge Vipers, but rare exotics like a supercharged Lotus and a Ford GT40 supercar (winner of the show’s People’s Choice award) which boasts more than 550 horsepower to the rear wheels. Car enthusiasts of all ages enjoyed the four-hour show at Ciccio’s Lodge while local guitarist and photographer Bob Thompson played outside on the patio. The “Ciccio Girls” handed out some complimentary snacks and drink specials were available all night as well, including $1 Pacifico and Negro Modelo beers.

Jaguar of Tampa unveiled a Spyker C8, a Dutch sports car that ended up being another crowd favorite. The C8 is a 400-hp street-legal, all-aluminum sports car, complete with scissor doors (that open up, instead of out), carbon fiber body panels and race harnesses.

According to “Top Gear,” a popular British television series that regularly reviews cars like the Spyker, the most impressive feature of the car is its power-to-weight ratio, which makes driving the car like riding a rollercoaster, except you’re behind the wheel!

“It has the same horsepower as a Ferrari 360, but it weighs as much as a toaster,” quips “Top Gear” host Jeremy Clarkson. “You’ll go from 0-60mph in 4.3 seconds.”

Dr. Jim Norman, a New Tampa resident and professional race car driver when he isn’t performing consultations for parathyroid surgery at his Wesley Chapel office, helped put together the event with the help of Rob Garafano, the owner of Ciccio’s Lodge.

Norman is the owner of the aforementioned 2005 Ford GT40 and four other exotics (Porsche GT3, Lotus Exige S, Maserati Gran Turismo and a Jaguar XKR) that were featured at the “Show of Speed.” He says that the success of the show will hopefully get more residents in New Tampa excited about exotic cars.

“There are a ton of beautiful cars in the area,” said Norman. “This event is something different for car guys to come out and do. You have all of the exotic cars, plus some great food and live music. I would love to see this turn into a monthly thing.”

Hunter’s Green residents Angela and Bill Hensler came out to show off their bright red 1990 Ferrari Testarossa, which is Italian for “redhead.” The Henslers say they rarely get to show off their baby in New Tampa, which was among a group of three Ferraris that came out to the car show.

“It spends a lot of time in the garage,” said Bill. “When we do take it to car shows, it’s usually a bit of a drive. We were just in Lakeland for a show and after this, we’ll be in Daytona.”

The “Show of Speed” was different than most car shows because of the easy accessibility to Ciccio’s tasty food (most car shows featured food served from a hot dog vendor, if you’re lucky). When you add in the live music and having the event on a Saturday evening, it’s no wonder that it made for an excellent turn out, especially with the spectacularly cool fall weather.

The only other regularly scheduled meet up for exotic car enthusiasts in the area is DuPont Registry’s “Cars and Coffee” event at their St. Petersburg office, which regularly holds informal Saturday morning car shows where hundreds of exotic car owners get together once a month to show off their rides.

Dr. Norman says that by regularly hosting events on a Saturday night in New Tampa, it is likely that the shows at Ciccio’s could bring out just as many people, if not more, as well as provide great food and entertainment.

The event was made possible with the help of a number of sponsors, including Pepin Distributing, New Tampa Exotics, Ciccio’s Lodge, Reeves Import Motorcars, Jaguar of Tampa and Speed Starz.

Again, the next car show at Ciccio’s Lodge (16023 Tampa Palms Blvd.) is scheduled for Saturday, November 19. To register an exotic car, call Rob Garafano at 295-4663. For Ciccio’s Lodge, call 975-1222 or visit

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