Ferrari Challenge Stradale

Everyone knows what a Ferrari is. Whether it's a racing car or sportscar saloon for the road, a Ferrari is always a Ferrari, thanks to all the technical and emotional content that makes it unique. But saying what a Ferrari should really be like is not so easy. Looking back over past sportscars saloons, such as the 166 or 250 GT and, somewhat later, the GTO or F40, you can see they're exceptional thoroughbreds. Cars focused entirely on performance in which every single gram of excess weight was eliminated.

With these cars customer-drivers like Chinetti, Marzotto, Gregory and Guichet won the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 12 Hours of Reims and the Mille Miglia or drove to victory in international championships and even rallies, as was the case with of Tognana and Andruet and with their 308 GTBs.

And so for years now Ferraris have remained Spartan in terms of their trim, even though they had luxurious touches like the use of top quality leather, above all red leather.

But by the early '90s this way of conceiving cars seemed rather limited. Owning a Ferrari must give all-round pleasure and so any decision to limit comfort, usability and interior space excessively no longer made sense. The same went for colours.

The enormous success of Ferrari cars over the past decade has shown that in their hearts customers really wanted models like the 456 GT and 550 Maranello (and today's 575 M Maranello), or the 355 and, later, 360 Modena eight-cylinder models. Cars that customers could personalise by choosing from a wide range of accessories and where the choice of colours offered rose to 16 (but in fact any exterior colour was available on request, and the same went for interior trim too).

Ten years on, this progressive mutation has now given way to a certain feeling of nostalgia. Nostalgia for a Ferrari with no frills, which models like the F50 and Enzo have continued to express even though they were produced in limited runs.

continues... | Part Two

Published : 06/03/03 Author : Melanie Carter

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