The Write Stuff
Volume 48 Issue 10
May 20, 2023
How you write, or what you write, is almost as important as what you write with. Dom Miliano gives us a primer on what you could be using.
There are three types of Ferrari owners. For the sake of this breakdown, I’ll assign names to the three different demographics: F1, FTOO, and F3.
The first demographic, F1, is the top of the heap, king of the hill, Mount Olympus collectors.
The discerning automotive “accumulators” whose collections boast timeless, hand-picked vintage and contemporary specimens of both road and racecars brought to fruition in Modena and then Maranello over the last 70+ years.
The pontoon-fendered Testa Rossas, the aluminum-bodied short wheelbase berlinettas, the handful of genuine NART or Daytona Spyders, LMs 118 to F40, the Monzas, the Mondials, the pre-’70 monopostos – and, yes, the 250 GTOs – I was getting to them; I’m not even wherever you are right now and I can still hear you straining “and the 250 GTOs!”
The Ferrari owners and collectors in the F1 demographic can have any car they want, and they can do anything they want to that car.
Additionally, many of these collectors often order contemporary Ferraris, some expressed in unique and avant-garde liveries, occasionally introducing a one-off color that debuts if and when the car is ever shown.
Still, others directly phone the factory and say, “Hey – I’d like to commission a singular Ferrari, one of a kind, just for me, no expense spared.”
The second group, FTOO, is the First Time Original Owners. These are the folks who’ve finally made it to that financial milestone in their lives when and where they can realize the dream of Ferrari ownership.
But not just any Ferrari – their own Ferrari, ordered new through a dealer, to be built at the factory, specifically for them.
These are the folks who sit at home, and then again with their dealers, spending hours combing through Ferrari’s online configurator.
Once they’ve decided on a model, they mix and match colors and options until they’re satisfied with their vision.
And while it’s uncommon, there are some first-time new Ferrari customers who go “all in” and order their dream car through Ferrari’s Atelier program – an opportunity only afforded to someone willing to spend $100,000 or more on options alone.
A majority of the red/tan Ferraris that have been ordered in the last, say, 40 years come from this group.
But you have to understand, a Ferrari is a considerable financial purchase – and even though it’s meant to be driven, and felt, the person stroking the six-figure check wants to know that there’s some liquidity, just in case the proverbial fan gets pelted with, you know, proverbial fertilizer.
So, it’s understandable that most of the people wading into that financial pool for the first time want to do so with caution, and thus order the most popular, and easily resaleable, color combination.
The third group, however, is all of the people who’ve made Ferrari ownership possible, even if it’s not a car they themselves ordered.
These seem to be the boldest and most adventurous Ferrari owners in terms of individualizing their cars.
Sure, you might see the occasional Azzurro la Plata 812 Superfast or Verde Francesca 488 Pista in a showroom or at the local cars and coffee gathering.
But a majority of the uniquely colored cars – either wrapped or repainted – come from the F3 group.
These are the folks who relish Ferrari ownership without fretting about resale value, and seem more inclined on modifying and personalizing their Ferraris.
James McGee, owner and manager of Pocono Sportscar, LLC, regularly services a 1989 Testarossa (S/N 82897) for a client whose entire car appears to be draped with a giant American flag.
But it’s not a wrap – oh, no! – this once white with tan leather Testarossa has a more permanent, Americanized refinish. “The paintwork is top notch,” James said, and indeed it does look phenomenal.
There’s a Challenge Stradale (S/N 134621) in Texas with an Italian flag painted on the front bonnet, and it covers most of the stripe.
It’s provocative, and will surely lose a point if it ever finds itself on certain golf courses; but it’s different and exciting, and it leaves a lasting impression in your memory.
It left the factory as a stripeless Rosso Corsa example – one of the first less-than-60 Challenge Stradales made for the U.S. in Rosso Corsa – but by 2009, it was for sale in its new livery, and it’s been with a very happy Texas owner for the last decade.
If you were in Monterey, California, during the August, 2013, car week festivities, you might’ve seen a white-and-black-striped 458 Italia (S/N 187559) – the Zebrari! – the chosen design over several that were presented to the owner.
In this case, it was merely a wrap that has since been removed; and now it’s as if the zebra-striped 458 never existed.
Daniel Hurlbert, creator and host of the Normal Guy Supercar YouTube channel, has a 458 Italia (S/N 174803) with Scuderia shields on the fenders.
But these aren’t standard factory shields. Hurlbert had special shields made to reflect the likeness of his Basset Hound, Moses, and now his red 458 will always stand out from the others.
Have you ever heard of the 7X Design GTO Vision? It’s a 488 GTB, S/N 232607, with a one-off body by an outfit called 7X Design, and the finished product is called the GTO Vision.
It looks like the love child of an F50 and a 458. I don’t know what it cost to rebody a 488 with a one-off design, but I’m sure it was more than a wrap or a repaint.
A lot more. Which is kinda my point: Unless you have an open checkbook, you’re limited as to how and how much you personalize your Ferrari – and if a blank check was part of the deal, you’d just order it new from the factory anyway – and the creative methods explored by the owners of the aforementioned cars are but a fraction of the individualized Ferraris that are out there.
If you’re currently wearing your investment spectacles – as some people always do when discussing or reading about Ferraris – then consider the basic fluctuation of Ferrari values over time.
Maybe an American flag-painted Testarossa isn’t for everyone; but 15 years ago, people said the Testarossa would never go back up in value.
That was back when they were trading at around $75K. Now imagine buying a Testarossa for $75K, putting another, let’s say, 50 grand into it – the paint, a service, addressing wear and tear over time, etc. – and then you decide to sell it, let’s say, a year ago, when the Asking Price Index had Series II Testarossas at $155.5K(!).
So you include in your ad that the car has a one-of-a-kind paint job that you know might not be for everyone, and you proactively offer to knock $30K off the value of the car (which is insane on the face of it, but let’s just say it for the sake of my point) – boom, someone quickly buys it, and you just got 15 years of Testarossa ownership for free (minus whatever heartache comes with owning an Italian car).
I’m not suggesting or recommending anyone sell their cars – I was digressing, specifically for the financially particular among us – my whole reason for turning down that road was to show the harmlessness in personalizing and individualizing one’s Ferrari.
They’re just as much fun to drive as any other example of that model, and, believe it or not, they are even more fun to look at than (most of) their stock counterparts.
And if that proverbial fan should once again start getting pelted, even a personalized Ferrari has sufficient liquidity.