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Posts filed under ‘Ferrari’

Design Highs and Lows:
Ferrari + Pininfarina

November 16, 2011 by Matt

1965 65 Ferrari 275 GTB Red Pininfarina

As long a relationship the Italian automaker has had with the styling house Pininfarina, the latter didn’t pen all Ferrari’s designs; however, they have shaped a significant majority of them. The number of good-looking cars both firms have styled is appreciable, so I thought focusing on the intersection between them, design-wise, would be a less daunting task than attempting name the best and worst design of either one in isolation.

Ferrari engineering and Pininfarina styling have been joined at the hip since the mid-’50s, so there were a myriad of designs to choose from. The pinnacle of their association, though, came in 1965 with the 275 GTB, pictured at top. Combining the sensuality of the 250 GT Lusso (without the delicate femininity) with the muscular aggression of the GTO and Daytona (with none of the brutishness), it best represents everything a Ferrari should be, from then to now. Every line is perfectly placed and urgently communicates a raw, yet refined animalism. It’s the quinessential “iron fist in a velvet glove,” and a stunning achievement.

Ferrari 612 Scaglietti Blue

The more recent ’04-’10 612 Scaglietti, on the other hand, stands as the nadir of the Ferrari-Pininfarina connection. It’s decorated rather than styled, arbitrary features like the side scallops tacked onto otherwise conventional proportions. The front in particular is a disaster: Concave where it should be convex, and vice versa. The headlights and wheels look far too small and give the already large GT an even girthier impression. The styling house really phoned it in with the 612, and the car ended up looking like it was hastily carved from a bar of soap. Sketch a few lines, and…we’re done. Yeah, that’ll do. Next.

It’s understood customers of Ferrari’s larger offerings prefer cars that are a bit more discreet than their rip-snorting sports cars, but the Scaglietti commits the double sin of being boring and ugly. I would say the same about the 612’s successor, the FF, but at least with that car, it looks like they’re trying for something; there’s intent, purpose. Here’s hoping the next big Ferrari GT has some grace and class to go with its power.

Editor’s note: This post is part of an ongoing series where I highlight one example of both excellent and awful design from a noted styling house or designer. Read the other installments here:

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Ferrari + Pininfarina

Ridiculously Awesome:
’80s Tuner & Specialty Cars

October 26, 2011 by Matt

Gemballa Avalanche 911 Tuner Car 80s Black

I absolutely guarantee you that if I had known about any of these cars in the ’80s, a poster of one would have been immediately fixed to my bedroom wall. Forget that white Lamborghini Countach garbage; the customized German and Italian beauties featured on this site are where it’s at.

Or was at. The site is fascinating as a time capsule of ’80s car fashion as much as it is a showcase of the customizers’ talents. Tire and wheel technology being far less advanced than it is today, relatively small-diameter but massively wide tires steamroll underneath grotesquely swollen wide-body conversions. Most colors have a pastel or day-glo quality, and any additional electronics look like they were lifted from a Radio Shack catalog circa 1985.

300E W124 Mercedes Benz Merc M-B Hammer Red AMG

That said, the highlights of the site’s “collection” are too numerous to list in a concise manner, so I’ll just call out a few. The AMG 300E “Hammer” shown above is noteworthy for the “period” model selected to pose with the car. The Koenig and Gemballa Testarossas arguably improve on the stock car’s lines by getting rid of the side vents’ strakes. The Porsche 930-based Gemballa Avalanche (shown at top) and Mirage are awesome to behold, and the rainbow-pattern on the Buchmann 928 Targa’s seats is a nice touch, as are the location of the stereo controls (!).

BMW ABC Exclusive E24 635 635CSi Convertible Vert Cabriolet Cabrio Droptop

As a former BMW E24 6-series owner, I was particularly drawn to the ABC Exclusive E24 convertible. It’s so well done and the car looks so sleek it makes me wonder why BMW didn’t contemplate a factory version.

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’80s Tuner & Specialty Cars

Collecting Superlatives

September 23, 2011 by Matt

Ferrari World Outside Building Exterior

It was inevitable, really.

Given the predilection of those flush with oil wealth for fast, expensive cars and over-the-top resorts, it was only a matter of time before someone thought “Hey, let’s mash ’em up!” and the relentless lure of capital beckoned arguably the world’s most famous performance brand to the Middle East.

Ferrari World, the largest indoor theme park in existence, opened for business in Abu Dhabi, UAE, late last year. It’s a marvel of excess echoing the marque’s own sensibilities, with the world’s fastest roller coaster and 19 other rides. And really, it could have only been Ferrari. “Porsche World,” “McLaren World” or even “Bugatti World” wouldn’t have worked—their brand image doesn’t inspire nearly the same amount of exo-automotive enthusiasm. In other words, see a fast car in Ferrari red with the prancing horse on the hood, and your heart skips a beat, even if you’re not a car buff. So aside from the fact that an aerial view of the establishment uncomfortably recalls the shape of a malevolent alien from more than one TV show and movie, it’s a brilliant concept for a theme park.

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