Ferrari, 308, true six-speed, clutch life these words used to be non existent in my life. That is, until I married a Ferrari-osessed man with a passion for these European exotics. Suddenly, my world became flooded with a wide variety of terms I didn’t understand. A few years into my marriage, I decided to join my husband working with him at Merlin Auto Group, watching as he and his team sold everything from collectible Ferraris to the more common California. Never in a million years did I expect to not only understand the obsession, but actually come to appreciate the Ferrari on another level.
Observing the true Ferrari Fanatic was something that baffled me at first. I couldn’t comprehend the reaction people would have when a new Ferrari would hit our showroom for the first time. I would hear comments on everything from the color combination, to the rarity of the model in a particular year. The thing I found the funniest was that there are actually group of people who love a manual Ferrari and will choose it over an automatic every time. A stick shift….crazy, right? Lets just say I had a lot to learn about Ferraris, and boy did I.
One of the first things I learned is that Ferraris are not seen as just a car, it is so much more than that: They are a luxury item leaning heavily into the realm of collectibility. When I realized this, it was a concept I could finally wrap my head around, because I have experienced the same feelings before. It is like an amazing Louis Vuitton bag, a vintage Gucci piece, or the discontinued Chanel purse that has become collectible. The details and the stitching are precise and iconic. How about Hermes Birkin bag? This infamous purse starts at roughly $10,000 and can retail up to $150,000. Better yet, you cannot just go and buy one. You have to know someone or sometimes there can be waiting lists for years. Seems absurd to some, but I do love a great bag and can appreciate the process Hermes has set forth. Little did I know, Ferrari has a similar selection process with their cars. Not just anyone can go and buy a new Ferrari, Ferrari looks at a variety of criteria, such as the number of Ferraris you have owned, the length of time, etc. This really opened my eyes to take a second look at the world of Ferraris.
Looking at this 2003 Ferrari 360, it suddenly went from being just a used car, to a classic Ferrari 360 with a true six speed manual that was discontinued years ago, making it a rarity in the car world. The same way we see celebrities sporting their vintage Chanel dresses on the red carpet, you will find a true Ferrari enthusiast driving around in their 1987 Ferrari 328.
Oh, and color is a thing too. I once saw a customer refuse to buy a Ferrari in any color other than one in red because he wanted his first Ferrari to be Rossa Corsa, or Ferrari Red. Kind of rings a bell when it comes to closet staples, i.e. LBD, red-soled Christian Louboutins, certain things are a must.
Clearly, I started to realize all the parallels between my interest in fashion and his in Ferraris, but at this point, I had yet to experience what it was like to drive a Ferrari. I think it is difficult to really comprehend what 0-60 mph in 3.0 seconds feels like until you actually are the one with your foot on the gas. Forget the speed aspect, because I am not even one who cares to drive that fast, but having the power and accurate handling when you are driving day to day is really quite nice to have. Some of these exotics have a fit in finish that is spectacular with everything being hand-made and with all the options. Others, while still having the hefty price tag, will come stripped of all the options; and I mean cloth seats, not leather. Absurd right? Not when it comes to Ferraris, which are race cars that evolved to street cars, some of which are still built purely for speed and performance. Take the Ferrari F430 Scuderia for example. This is a car stripped of its leather and replaced with a carbon fiber interior just so it can be 220 lbs lighter, and in the world of racing, lighter=faster. Once again, Ferrari is staying true to its roots and producing an unbelievable car. In the world of fashion, I think of some of the outfits top designers will parade down the runway. Many of the over-the-top outfits are probably worn once, if at all, the same way I bet not everyone who purchases a Ferrari 488 drives it to its top speed of 205 mph. It still is one of the best, most sought after cars out there.
Evidently, I prejudged my Ferrari-crazed husband. Today, I understand that when he stares at his beloved 308, he sees a work of art that will never be produced quite the same way again. And he’s right. Never did I expect to uncover these truths as I set out snickering at the enthusiast who could find such love in a prancing Italian horse.
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