The Concept of Passion
By Lou Ann Hammond, Fri, 5 May 2006 08:00:00 PDT
When you think of driving around a racetrack, going as fast as you can till you've scared yourself silly, you don't think of doing it in a 4-seater that you could take your kids to school in. When you think of buying a car that can seat four, most people don't consider a car that doesn't even have a cupholder. That is, unless you're buying a Ferrari 612 Scaglietti. Then, all bets are off; or they've just begun.
There is no manufacturer's nameplate that evokes more emotion when you tell someone that you're going to drive a Ferrari. A couple of months ago when some idiot that didn't know his limits wrapped a Ferrari around a lamppost the newscaster looked like someone had died. We were surprised it didn't come over as breaking news. In Italy it might have.
Ferrari has never strayed far from its core principles of racing. The joke, though not far from the truth, is that Ferrari is in the production business so that it can afford its racing habit. Ferrari holds hard and fast to the number of cars that it will produce and sell each year. If you think it is hard to buy a hybrid, don't even think of buying a Ferrari. The waiting list is long and unless you bring an appropriately sized suitcase filled with cash you may have to will your name in line to your prodigy.
Why? Because a production Ferrari is the closest you will get to owning a race car, and not just any race car, a living legend and a race car. Ferraris racing accolades are well documented, as is Roberto Rossellini creating a new color and naming it after Ingrid Bergman, Grigio Ingrid. The passion of the Ferrari goes beyond being able to bespoke the car, it goes to the heart of the horse, the mixture of beauty and refinement combined with the technological prowess of a stallion.
Ferrari calls their 4-seater sedan a 2+2. The four-seat 612 Scaglietti, features a paddle-shifted sequential transmission 6.0 liter and a 65 degree V-12 engine that's based on the 575 Maranello. The engine pounds out 540 horsepower at 7,250 rpm and 434 lb.-ft of torque at 5,250 rpm, making this the fastest 4-seater in the world. Included in this production car is the six speed gearbox with multi-cone synchronizers. The 612 Scaglietti has as an option the F1A gearbox (the A stands for Automatic), a new generation Formula 1 derived electro-hydraulic system. The power to weight ratio is better because the 612 is all aluminum, reducing the weight by 40 percent. The weight distribution (46% front and 54% rear)gives the 612 Scaglietti owner the high performance driving of a mid-engined car that pulls it from 0-62 in just 4.2 seconds.
The design of the 612 Scaglietti was styled in close collaboration withPininfarina. There are aesthetic requirements of a Ferrari and the 612 borrowed all the legendary archetypal classic curves, scalloped sides and traditional cues that made one reminisce of days gone by.
At the heart of Ferrari is passion and exclusivity. In 2005, only 1,420 units were sold. Sixty-five percent of Ferrari owners are repeat buyers. The Enzo, listed at $650,000, had over 1,000 orders, but Ferrari limited production to 339. There were many disheartened millionaires, mainly married men from 35-55 years old, 82 percent self-made. Don't feel too badly for them; if Ferrari's statistics are correct, 65 percent of them already had a Ferrari. They were looking for a colt to put in their stable of stallions.
The 612 V-12 starts at $257,000. On request, the 612 can be fitted with the GTC Handling package ($26,000)which includes a more sporting suspension set-up, 19" wheels, a lightweight sports exhaust with a louder, deeper rumble, red brake calipers, and Carbon Ceramic Material (CCM) brake discs (398 mm front and 360 mm rear) and modified software, all of which raises the performance level of an already maxed out family car.
If you are a Ferrari owner you already know that Ferrari is the only company that has racing challenges for its owners. The 360 and 430 challenge and historic challenge are all well attended by Ferrari owners. If you don't own a Ferrari you can join me in playing the lotto and wistfully dreaming of the day I can buy my first Ferrari family car.