Driving Your Ferrari
Volume 46 Issue 26
Dec 19, 2021
An argument for driving your Ferrari. How much is a memory worth? Memories are priceless!
Enzo Ferrari thought it. Ed Gilbertson says it. Jim Weed advocates for it.
What is it?
Enzo Ferrari thought the horse pulls the cart. He also thought aerodynamics are for those who can’t make horsepower. The music of every Ferrari is the sound the engine makes. Not at idle, but at maximum revolutions per minute.
Ed Gilbertson wrote the book for Ferrari concours standards. The IAC/PFA guidelines are designed to keep Ferraris in original condition. The idea is to allow owners to use and enjoy their cars while keeping the car in original condition. Points are deducted for incorrect items but not for normal wear and tear.
These guidelines were developed with the idea of keeping a Ferrari in good condition but not to be preserved in perfect unused condition. As Gilbertson’s mantra extolls “Ferraris are meant to be driven!”.
Which brings me to the Jim Weed advocation. Ferraris should be driven. There is a part of me that doesn’t understand why Ferraris aren’t driven regularly. I come from a time when the cars were used more, enjoyed more and owners knew their ride better because of the experience.
When you drive you should always be evaluating what the car is saying.
When I was service manager at FAF Motorcars, I got to drive every car that came into the shop. Often I drove them before we serviced them, and I absolutely drove each one after service. I drove many different cars at track events. Customers would want to know how their Ferrari drove and if it was really in tune or if there were problems they weren’t aware of.
Test driving is an art. It requires having the ability to discern the smallest problem and determine if it required immediate attention or if it was something to watch for in the future. I could tell if tire pressure was low in one tire and which tire needed air when I got back.
The point is, when you drive you should always be evaluating what the car is saying. Cars do talk and while they can’t speak in words they still can communicate with you. The only way to connect, mentally and physically, with your car is by having enough seat time to feel and hear what it is trying to say.
Is that noise normal, or has it changed from the last time? Does it feel the same around that corner? Has it changed? These are the subtle messages your car transmits. Are you listening?
The only way to learn is by spending time with your butt in the seat enjoying the ride. Jumping in every six months for a ride down the highway will not be enough.
The cars I worked on that were driven often always had the fewest problems. Fast cars like fast horses need to be exercised. A slow warmup to get the fluids moving with a close eye on temperatures is a good start. As the needles get close to normal it is time to up the revs. Four thousand and up to redline is where the magic happens. Enjoy the experience, forget the miles, the memories will be worth it.
I have a customer who has an F40. He really enjoys the car, drives it often and takes it to dinner, gravel parking lot be damned. To say he has fun with it would be an understatement.
He drives it often enough to be truly in tune with it. If it hiccups, he knows it. If it feels funny, he knows it. Would you be surprised if I told you he has a few miles on it? How about 32,000 miles and counting.
With that much seat time he knows that Ferrari and everything it can and can’t do. He has a set route he enjoys with a favorite on-ramp, a transition and off-ramp. He can do speeds I won’t relate here but you can bet they are speeds the car was made for. Not up to the edge, but 8/10s, maybe 9/10s without abuse.
But, but, what about the value? Look how much the value is hurt when its time to sell. Yes, that may be true, but how much will it be hurt? That is the great unknown.
What about the memories? Those are priceless. I see many cars advertised with low mileage and many go through the auctions with low mileage. Did those owners ever really get to enjoy the sounds and feel of their Ferrari?
There is no guarantee how much more your car will be worth if it is not driven. There is also no guarantee how much less it will be worth if you go out and have some fun. Life is full of “what ifs”.
What if I took a trip with my Ferrari? Would that experience and memory last well after the car was gone? You bet it would. When you are sitting in the old-folks home reliving stories of your life, that trip will come off your hard drive over and over.
There is also no guarantee how much less it will be worth if you go out and have some fun.
Rock chips can be fixed, bodywork can be repaired, and mechanical items can be replaced. It’s like those scars you accumulated throughout your childhood and beyond that you wear as a badge of honor and courage. The dings in your Ferrari should be looked upon with pride.
Of course, I’m not advocating to not repair as necessary, but to enjoy and recognize how special it is to become ‘at one’ with your Ferrari.
Kevin Enderby owns an F355 GTS with over 160,000 miles. Think he knows exactly what his car can, and cannot do? It still wins awards at concours, not for the mileage, but for how perfect he keeps it. It has been totaled once and rebuilt, proving that damage can be repaired.
So, as we begin 2022 realistically look at your Ferrari and decide, are you a collector who wants to curate a museum or an enthusiast who wants to experience exactly what a Ferrari can do to stir your soul.
There is no wrong answer, we love all Ferraris, and each one has the perfect combination of beauty and power. We should be able to enjoy each in our own way.
Remember, “Ferraris were meant to be driven!”