by Gunnar Heinrich ::: img via eBay ::: 1990 Ferrari Testarossa B12
THERE is a quality to 80s Ferraris – those low, wide, angular, and temperamental thoroughbreds – that just staggers the imagination and weakens the knees. I’m glad that Ferrari rediscovered much of that magic with the 458 Italia because for far too many years – really the entire last decade – Ferrari styling became soft and lardy and much too round for our viewing pleasure. Ferrari aesthetics became almost, almost… it’s hard to write this… conventional. Consider the 599 GTB as a case-in-point.
But let’s focus on this completely unconventional hot head red head. Like Cindy Crawford in her prime, the Testarossa was the pinup girl for the 1980s and now she has aged with eminent grace. By 1990 the Testarossa may have been starting to show a little grey in engineering terms, but that hardly matters now. Indeed, the buyer of this barely driven (5K mi) 1990 Testarossa B12 can enjoy all the little modifications that made a great car superb.
Apparently, this Arizona-based Testarossa has had its major service and comes with all the appropriate paperwork. And it’s no accident that the seller bothered to position the car that made side-straked air intakes a fashion statement in front of an avant-garde office structure with horizontal lines.
Built For Tourism In The Name of He Who Made The Horseless Carriage Prance, The Enzo Ferrari Museum Is Open For Business
by Gunnar Heinrich ::: img Museo Casa Enzo Ferrari ::: The Enzo Ferrari Museum in Modena
ACCORDING to the New York Times, Ferrari’s people in Maranello aren’t too keen on the new museum that’s just this week opened in Modena. The museum – Museo Casa Enzo Ferrari – is independent from Ferrari and it commemorates the exact spot where their company’s founder Enzo was born. Ferrari has its own factory tours and museum – the latter of which looks to be roundly upstaged by this latest homage to the king of Italian sports cars.
Back in 2003, a consortium of municipal and business interests came together to spearhead the museum project as a way to bring tourist cash into Modena. So they scraped together €18 million ($26 million) for a vanguard project that would preserve Sr Ferrari’s original tile roofed, brick-sided home and workplace by nearly enveloping it with a gigantic, bright yellow, aluminum bonnet. The amazing structure is even punctuated with slits that are meant to remind us of the air intakes of a pre-War Alfa Grand Prix car. But anyone who’s seen a manta ray’s fleshy gills up close can draw an aquatic reference, too.
This stunning bit of contemporary architecture is the posthumous work of respected Czech architect Jan Kaplicky. Inside resembles an air hangar and it allows for some 54,000 square feet of exhibition space that currently includes an array of classic production and race cars from the likes of Alfa Romeo, DeTomaso, Maserati, and, yes, Ferrari. A reminder, then, that Enzo’s career encompassed marques besides the one that bore his own name.
For €13 ($17), you too can gain admittance. In fact if you’re anywhere near Modena this weekend, it’s probably a good idea to drop in.
by Gunnar Heinrich ::: img Ferrari ::: Ferrari F12berlinetta
YESTERDAY, I talked briefly about the idea that a super car should have super car looks to match super car performance. The Ferrari F12berlinetta may be Ferrari’s fastest machine yet, but on the outside it looks as ordinary as a Fiat Barchetta. And that’s a problem.
If you’re going to spend gobs and gobs on a car it might as well give you a thrill each time you walk up to it. Consider, then, the Porsche Carrera GT. With a 0-60 time of 3.9 seconds, the Ferrari’s V12 would sally away from the Porsche’s V10 in no time at all. But that’s not really the point.
Anyone who’s ever seen the Porsche Carrera GT in the real, has likely gotten shivers and tingly sensations up his leg (apologies to Chris Matthews). That’s just not going to happen when you look at the F12berlinetta. It does happen with the 458 Italia, mercifully.
So this then begs the question, why did Ferrari make this car super duper fast and give it a so-so body? Because they could. Consider the last decade’s two cars that upset that status quo.
There was the Subaru WRX. When it came out in 2003, it brought five second 0-60 times at a price range that started well below $30K. And that was big news because it was like putting assault rifles in the hands of a lot of teenagers and telling them to go play.
A year later and on the other end of the price spectrum, there was the Bentley Continental GT which while weighing north of five thousand pounds and being stuffed to the ascot with luxurious abundance was capable of reaching 200 mph. For a price of about a $1,000 per mph that the re-badged Phaeton was capable of reaching, the portly Bentley gave us the top speed of an anorexic exotic at anywhere between one-half and one-third the price. To a multimillionaire or billionaire, the Bentley’s value-for-dollar surely counted as a freebee.
And I think that’s the point that Ferrari might be making. They’re out to upset how we visualize superior performance.
On this point, Ferrari could’ve stopped with the FF; an AWD “versatile” wagon that enables you to take your Prancing Horse with wild stallion performance into the Alps with a weekend’s worth of luggage. Yes, your 458 Spider would be faster and more fun to drive, but your FF was a “small” compromise for practicality’s sake.
But no. Maranello had to say that they were capable of doing the anti-F40; the F40 remember was a mid-engined V8 brute that was stripped to floorboards of any nicety and about as raw as gravel so that it in the late 80s it could hit 196 mph.
So while the guy in the F40 is stewing in a tight cabin with no AC and going deaf from body rattles and engine noise, the guy in the F12 berlinetta (oops sorry, I misspelled) F12berlinetta is comfortable and mildly excited by the V12 that’s making good time.
The F12berlinetta undermines Ferrari’s essence the same way a Bentley SUV undermines everything we love about Bentley; the grand impracticality of it all. Ferrari, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Lamborghini are all specific marques filling specific needs. The moment that Bentley and Ferrari builds cars that do everything, they promise to become the Honda Accord – or on the upper end – an AMG Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Which means that in no way will they stand out and worse they’ll be competing with far more efficient, mass-market rivals in Germany and Japan.
Sometimes, you really don’t want to have it all.
by Gunnar Heinrich ::: IMG Ferrari ::: Ferrari F12berlinetta
AS a general rule of thumb, the fastest, most powerful supercar from an Italian automaker has in the past three decades been packaged in such a way that it looked like a gravity-bound fighter jet made from recycled Coke cans. That’s not so of the F12berlinetta (what’s up with name, BTW?) the plump looking GT that Ferrari’s billing as a car faster than the Enzo, FXX, F50, F40 and all the other wildly styled flagships of Ferrari’s glorious past.
Perhaps it’s the fact that the F12berlinetta features a “mid-front engine” and as such the engine placement calls for architecture that’s more traditional. Mundane, even. But, c’mon. You can point to any front engined, long-bowed Aston Martin and even any Maserati and instantly see that they’re far more compelling to look at than this egg crate-faced FF-simile.
Thank God for the 458 Italia and Spider because everything else in Ferrari’s lineup has missed the memo on the essence of Italian exotica – visual excitement and beauty goes hand-in-hand with superlative performance.
by Gunnar Heinrich ::: img via eBay ::: 2002 Ferrari 360 Spider
WHEN viewed from the front, there are better looking Ferraris. When behind the helm, it’s clear that there are faster Ferraris. But with the average sticker price now below $100K and a sublime tail when viewed either from the rear three quarters or directly behind, the 360 Spider has a lot going for it. Those twin sets of circular tail lamps make us wonder why Ferrari only settled with two in the latest 458 Italia.
No, at the end of the day the 360 Spider won’t be as vaunted as the 458 Italia. But then again, who cares? It’s still a Ferrari.
by Gunnar Heinrich ::: img Pawel Litwinski via BaT ::: 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB
“AFTER many years parked… it runs!” So proclaimeth the seller, who upon finding this mostly unfooled-around-with “barn find” in southern California claims to have had her up and running in a matter of days.
Time capsules like this ’66 silver on black Ferrari 275 GTB are indeed precious as they were loved and driven and unpampered. It likely won’t be long before some collector plops down seven figures on the table, takes it off to have his people restore it to better-than-new condition, and parks it in a garage full of other no-touch princesses for another three decades.
Ferraris are meant to be driven!
by Gunnar Heinrich ::: img via eBay ::: 1991 Ferrari Testarossa
GRAY on a Ferrari seems a paradox. On a Testarossa (remember: Testarossa = “red head” in Italian), a sacrilege. At least in theory. This Flo-Rida based, Euro-spec, slightly modified, grigio metalizzato sul rosso (metallic grey on red) 1991 Ferrari Testarossa has us rethinking our preconceptions. Challenging the rosso corsa norm, if you like. Having seen 57 kM over the course of its two decades, the gray Testarossa looks remarkably well preserved… okay, it’s actually stunning! Who’d have thunk it? But then, with a flat-12 powered prancing horse so singular, so sublimely unique, to have this Ferrari in anything less than aesthetically prime condition would be the real paradox.
by Gunnar Heinrich ::: YouTube ::: Ferrari 458 Italia Ride Through Canyon Country
IMAGINE if this were your car and your daily, morning commute. Pas mal, non?
But who are you kidding? For even if your ride were a 2012 Ferrari 458 Italia and your commute wound through some sparsely trafficked Californian canyon, you’d likely get jaded. Yes, you’d pine for the easy comfort of something more practical like a Lexus and get to wondering what the weather’s like in Ireland this time of year. The grass is always greener, you know.