Entries in Ferrari (68)
With all the recent talk about Ferrari, it is appropriate to end the month with thoughts from The Colonel on Ferrari. Although he already mentioned his opinion a few days ago.
Lets get going...
Q: Colonel Good Morning, how long have you been aware and experienced Ferrari's?
A: Its been a few decades.
Q: A few decades, what an understatement, the plate on that car is from 1965, its almost 50 years.
A: Told you it was a few decades...(sly grin).
Q: It was literally in the early days of Ferrari in Montreal.
A: Yes...the early days, George Wooley, Luigi (Luigi Della Grotta) and Nicola the official mechanics in Montreal.
Q: There must have been something magical about the cars back then.
A: Totally magical, being up close and getting the occasional ride in Ferrari's were memorable experiences that endure a life time.
Q: At one point Ferrari's moved away from the "artisanal" realm into a more structured dealer network.
A: Obvious...they did, and for some reason an element of the magic was gone, although the occasional visit to Luigi's shop in Ville St.Laurent would still fire up the magic.
Q: Luigi had a shop downtown?
A: Originally it was on Ste.Catherine on the second floor, a small place with a sliding fire door, then he moved to Ville St.Laurent...Luigi was a mythical figure in Montreal.
Q: You are still a Ferrari fan.
A: Absolutely...I still vividly remember a ride in a Daytona Spyder on a beautiful sunny day.
Q: What was it with the musica?
A: It was the 12 cylinders, mechanical lifters, Weber carbureters, today its the flat crank on the V8's.
Q: You saw Gilles Villeneuve win the first Grand Prix in Montreal.
A: Yes...on a cold blustery October day, a magical moment, Montreal, Ferrari, first Grand Prix.
Q: You had bumped into Villeneuve a few years earlier.
A: Yes...in the pits at Trois Rivieres in 1976 he was driving in Formula Atlantic, it stuck me that he was a physically small individual. But he was huge and fiery on the track, fearless.
Q: Perhaps a little too fearless.
A: Yes...you sort of knew how it was going to end, and surely Enzo Ferrari also knew.
Q: Lets fast forward to today and the dramatic changes at Ferrari.
A: Ferrari almost sold to Henry Ford, they had a gentlemen's agreement on the deal, which Enzo at the last minute reneged. Henry got pissed off, and beat Ferrai for a few years at LeMans, with the GT40's of the time. Then Gianni Agnelli bought Ferrari through Fiat. While Enzo remained the supreme ruler of Ferrari.
Q: The Agnelli sphere of influence and style is long gone at Fiat, and perhaps di Montezemolo was the last hold over at Ferrari.
A: Precisely...these folks were like Italian royalty, and automotive royalty.
Q: Today its the Elkann sphere of influence at Fiat, and Sergio Marchionne.
A: Yes...it is (lets not forget that Fiat was in trouble, Sergio got Wagoner of GM to pay 2 Billions to get out of the "put option" to acquire Fiat).
Q: The global luxury markets are shifting.
A: Absolutely, we all know where, or we should.
Q: Raising Ferrari production might not dilute the brand in established markets.
A: Ferrari is at the top of their game in established markets. Its the new markets that require additional production.
Q: You cannot be a global brand without a compelling presence in the emerging global luxury markets.
A: Precisely...you guys are good. There is an analogy between George Wooley, Luigi, Nicola from way back in the day, to Enzo, di Montezemolo, today, and 20 years from now.
Its Friday, its the Vroom Room, the cappuccino and biscotti are served, join the conversation, leave a comment.
Its always been part of the Ferrari history that if they do well on the track, they do not so well in the showroom, and vice versa. Its interesting to see Luca de Montezemolo leave Ferrari after over 2 decades, and replaced by Sergio Marchionne.
From our perspective de Montezemolo was part of the "old guard" under Gianni Agnelli, and Sergio is part of the "new guard" under John Elkann. Obvious the new guard is increasingly exerting its muscles and influence within the FCA empire.
Should we be worried about Luca de Montezemolo losing his job at Ferrari? What do you think?
Within the bowels of Daimler, AMG has become a jumping point for the career vector of individuals. A couple of days ago the AMG GT halo car was presented to the world. The car looks like it was done by someone on a career vector that lacks the passion, understanding, perspective of what they were trying to do. "Lets take the roof line and quarter window of a 300SL coupe, the back end of a 911, and graft it to the front of an SLS"...."As an encore we will come up with a black edition with a carbon fiber spoiler".
Fascinating to see Mercedes win on the track with a superb F1 power unit, while Ferrari philosophically never got their heads around the F1 power unit concept.
If you are of the opinion that a Corvette Z06 is an abosolute steal for the level of performance, we agree with you.
A cool video on the new Jaguar XE...Click.
We call it the Pontiac Saga, the ongoing court case of GM Dealers vs GM that is developing in Toronto. Its always fascinating when folks start washing their laundry in public.
Tomorrow is the start of the Cobble Beach Concours d'Elegance.
Our usual old race cars from the US Vintage Grand Prix at Watkins Glenn.