Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Picking up the Ferrari

When you think about it there really is not that much more expense associated with picking the Ferrari up in Italy. We get a nice trip and a chance to experience the car on its home turf. Why buy a car in LA, Dallas, or Miami when for a bit more you can get one in Italy? Having found, had inspected, and purchased the car, a Titanium Silver, sorry Argento Titano 355 we made arrangements to pick it up at the Ferrari factory and do a three day driving and eating tour.
Getting there is much like getting anywhere. Even in 1st class the seats become uncomfortable, the air stale, and good wine tastes flat. Airport club lounges look pretty much the same and customs is usually less of a hassle than you expected.

After a full day of flying I decide not to rush to see the car. I am not the best traveler. I want to take a shower, a nap, get a good meal and figure out what time it is. I remember when I went to England all I wanted to do when I got there was sleep. Unfortunately there was a wedding in the hotel and my room was next door to the ballroom. They partied until past midnight. In Italy we are luckier. We booked a room at the Giovanetto B&B in Castelfranco Emilia just outside of Modena. It’s quiet, the beds have thick comforters and big down pillows. Even if the room is yellow I am going to sleep well. The car can wait until tomorrow. I think I would rather be rested and fresh rather than tired and sour the first time I see it.

When I told other Ferrari owners I was picking the car up at the Factory and getting a tour they were doubtful. Why would I get a tour? I was buying a used car. The answer is simple. I bribed the local Ferrari dealer. It did not take as much as you would expect. They arranged the sale and I tossed in two cases of Barolo. Admittedly they were 2001s but I think it was well worth it. That was it, 24 bottles of wine and we are picking the car up at the Factory and getting a tour.
Barb and I arrive at the factory at 11:00 am. I am glad it was not earlier. I slept well for part of the night but not all of it. By 11:30 I had already taken a nap. Now I am ready to see the car, tour the factory and have lunch.

We are met by a very attractive tour guide, wearing red and led to a silver 355 parked beside the main entrance. The car looks great. I get to spend about 20 minutes looking it over while Barb has a broken Italian/English conversation with our tour guide. Barb learns we are going to have lunch before going on the tour. That’s fine, I am hungry.

We go across the street to Cavallino for a quick lunch then head back to the factory for the tour, which begins at 1:00. Unfortunately Ferrari does not allow cameras on the tour so I have no photos to share. I can tell you that the factory is amazing. I expected this, Ferraris are amazing cars. The most memorable part of the tour was the Ferrari Classiche department. Classiche will restore client’s older cars with original parts or build new “original” parts for the car. There were some beautiful older cars undergoing restoration. Just a few parts, a gearbox, set of headers, and dash cost more than my 355.

Lunch and tour over it is time to drive the car. One problem, we can’t leave the Fiat in the parking lot across the street from the factory. Barb and I flip a coin for it. She wins. Jealously, I follow her back to the B&B to drop the Fiat off and head out on a driving tour on some narrow country roads north of Castelfranco Emilia.

The weather is just about perfect. About 70 degrees big clouds, blue sky in between and beautiful Italian sun. This was the right place to pick up the car. Once we get off the main roads we can open the car up a bit. It is just like I imagined. The roads are barely wider than the Ferrari and twisting through farms and little villages. We got stuck in on village when the road became too narrow for the car. The old houses were built right up the road. An old woman poked her head out of her window and shook her head. If she could have I bet she would have slammed her shutters.

We have two more days of this. Great roads, great food, beautiful wine, and the Ferrari to enjoy in Italy. Reluctantly, we return the car to the factory, I get to drive this time, and take the Fiat to the airport for the trip home. The dealer has arranged for the factory to ship the car back to Portland for me. I only have to wait three weeks and it will be in my garage.
That, is how you should acquire a Ferrari.


Kanan said...

Hi, I’ve been reading your blog and I must say, it’s very interesting. I’m in a similar position to where you were about October, I’m interested, but not quite sure if I can make Ferrari ownership really happen. I did have a question about these two posts about Italy, did you really go or was this just your description of the ideal way to buy a Ferrari?

David said...

Hello Kanan,
Thank you. I appreciate your comments. Glad to hear that you are considering Ferrari ownership. It is worth it. I have already started scheming on how I can keep the car. Against my theme – and more expensive – but I really am enjoying the car.
No Italy trip for me. It was my representation of what I thought purchasing a Ferrari would be like. Not that the real thing was bad but when I think about it I did not expect to drive back to work and then drive home in a light rain behind a minivan.
I plan on integrating "what I thought it would be like" entries and, at a later date, comparing them to what my experience really was.
I was a bit uncomfortable not fully disclosing my bit of fiction but thought it would make fun reading for folks. I had a great time researching factory tours.
Good luck in your search.