Monday, March 10, 2008

In which I admit to being an old geezer

With more than a dollop of pomp I now declare myself in the critical enthusiast phase of ownership. As a newly minted critical enthusiast I often revert back to the honeymooner, especially if giving a ride to someone who has never ridden in a Ferrari or if driving it on a particularly nice day. So far this phase has seen me seeking to fully exploit the cars capability, learn more about its engineering, renew my interest in F1, and critically examining my use of the car. I think I will bounce between the honeymoon and critical enthusiast phase until I mature to whatever comes next. If I were left to my own devices I would pretty rapidly land in the collector phase where I would happily obsess over acquiring new Ferraris while shining those in my stable with a clean, cotton diaper.

Here is a question I posed the other day. In 100 years will Ferrari exist? If it does exist will it be making luxury performance vehicles or will it be an entirely different company? I think Ferrari has a better chance at existing in 2108 than Chrysler or even GM but I have my doubts about its existence in any recognizable from. Why? Because I think transportation is going to undergo the same revolutionary changes seen in computing and medicine. Think about it. Fundamentally, cars have not changed in almost 100 years. Sure they have seen great improvements in safety, speed, and reliability but fundamentally the design and even usage model remain the same. I think that rising oil prices, migration from the country to the city, and improvements in mass transit will change the way we move about and will make it increasingly difficult for companies like Ferrari to exist. Further, I think the faddish approach to environmentalism of my generation will be replaced by a more sincere approach from our children and resource intensive luxury items will lose much of their appeal.

I may be completely wrong. Advances in new power sources may allow happy and guilt free sub four second 0 to 60 times for another generation but I doubt it.

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