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Ferrari at 50

Nothing's middle-aged about the 612 Scaglietti, the latest ride from Ferrari, created to celebrate a half century in America
Paul A. Eisenstein
From the Print Edition:
Sharon Stone, July/Aug 2004

(continued from page 3)

Plenty of automakers try to justify their racing campaigns by talking about technology transfer. In Ferrari's case, it's more than just words. The F1A gearbox is one example. The concept was originally developed for the race case, removing the need for drivers to reach for a gearshift lever at 250 mph. Racing has taught Ferrari how to build better brakes, faster engines, stronger and lighter bodies and chasses. And it has created a mythos as much a part of each 612 Scaglietti, 360 Modena or Enzo as the mechanical bits that make them run.

Not everyone is enamored of Ferraris. Some dismiss its owners as the "gold chain crowd." Voice specialist Noel Blanc, son of the late Mel Blanc, experienced firsthand the way some folks react. "When I'm driving down the street in my hot rod, people are waving at me and giving me the thumbs up," he explains. "When I drive down the same street in my Ferrari, they're extending another finger."

Most Ferrari owners aren't likely to notice. Even if they did, they'd also see plenty of admiring stares. While Ferraris may be a bit more common than they were when Denise McCluggage was driving her Berlinetta, they're still rare—and striking—enough to leave other drivers sitting slack jawed. "Ferrari is a status symbol," says auctioneer Jackson. "When you drive one, you know you've reached that level. It's your own reward."

It's a reward that doesn't come cheap—or easy. If you'd like to see the new 612 Scaglietti parked in your garage, you'd better start saving your pennies and counting the days.

Paul A. Eisenstein publishes an auto magazine on the Internet at www.TheCarConnection.com.


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