Auto blogTue, 16 Sep 2014 20:00:00 EST
We will forever be in love with the Ferrari F40. From its blunt-force appearance to its 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine living and breathing perilously close to the driver's head, the F40, the last model designed and built with input from Enzo Ferrari himself, has been and likely always will be the Ferrari of Ferraris for automotive enthusiasts who grew up in the 1980s.
All of this raises an interesting question: is the Ferrari F40 the best supercar of all time? A case can certainly be made, and after watching - and, just as importantly, listening to - all 17 minutes of blood-red Italian glory from Xcar, you're going to have to try long and hard to convince us that anything could be sweeter than this particular Prancing Horse.
Watch the video above, aptly titled Analogue Animal. You owe it to yourself. So go ahead, sit back, turn up your speakers and click play.
Episode #397 of the Autoblog Podcast is here, and this week, Dan Roth, Steven Ewing, and Seyth Miersma talk about the leadership change at Ferrari, the Mercedes-AMG GT, and we give a report on the Long-Term Garage. We start with what's in the garage and finish up with some of your questions, and for those of you who hung with us live on our UStream channel, thanks for taking the time. Check out the rundown below with times for topics, and you can follow along down below with our Q&A. Thanks for listening!
Autoblog Podcast #397:
While denying his tenure was coming to an end just prior to his resignation last week, outgoing Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo hinted at two new models to be revealed next month. One we anticipate to be a new version of the 458 - either the new turbocharged M model or the limited-edition Scuderia Spider - to be revealed at the Paris Motor Show on October 2, and the other we knew would be a strictly limited special exclusive to North America. And now we appear to have an idea of what that model will be.
According to Automotive News, we'll likely be looking at a version of the F12 Berlinetta decked out with the blue and white stripes pioneered by the North American Racing Team (NART) and most recently applied to the 458 Speciale. The special model is also likely to get custom bodywork and a revised interior - similar to what Ferrari Special Projects does for individual customers, but produced in a limited run of 10 examples.
All 10 of those are likely to already have been spoken for, with a price tag tipped to exceed $3 million apiece. The model will be revealed on October 12 at a special event in Los Angeles marking 60 years of Ferrari in America which will likely be Montezemolo's last event as chairman before handing over control to Sergio Marchionne and collecting his eight-figure severance package.
The head of any company has to juggle the relationship between supply and demand. Of course, that applies to automakers too, even ones as high-end as Ferrari. And as with many other decisions, the way Ferrari has addressed supply and demand has come down principally to the principal.
Enzo Ferrari may have only wanted to sell as many vehicles as he needed in order to fund his company's racing department, but with the F40 - the last model made under his watch - Ferrari ended up increasing supply to meet growing demand. However, after Luca di Montezemolo took over in the wake of Enzo's passing, he started constricting supply. He figured Ferrari could sell 400 units of the F50, for example, so he built 399. More recently, Montezemolo undertook a course of action that spread Ferrari into more markets, while simultaneously constricting supply to increase demand and thereby profitability.
It's been a winning formula for Ferrari. Just days ago, the company announced record earnings up by 14.5 percent in the first half of 2014 over the same period last year, which itself had seen a 7.1-percent increase over the year before. Clearly the strategy has worked, but Montezemolo's successor is already eying a different approach.
Cars get stolen all the time. It's an unfortunate reality, but a reality nonetheless. It's just unusual when the same guy steals the same car twice, but that's what apparently occurred recently in Fontana, CA.
That's where one Earnie Hooks was arrested late last month driving a black Ferrari 458 Spider. According to police, Hooks was intoxicated when he arrived at a roadside checkpoint, and when they ran the plates, they found the car was reported as stolen.
Hooks managed to evade police (not too hard to imagine given the car he was driving) and later abandoned the car, which was taken to the impound. Around 3 am the next morning, though, someone broke into the impound and stole the car... again. Hooks was found five days later in Studio City, still driving the stolen Ferrari. He was arrested and somehow still had the gall to plead not guilty to the charges of car theft and resisting arrest.
Italian cars have a reputation for drawing out the fiery, emotional and passionate sides of car enthusiasts - something that becomes abundantly clear when you ask a group of Autoblog editors to rank a list of their favorites.
With the departure of Luca di Montezemolo from Ferrari being fresh on our collective minds today, your friendly team of editors started pleasantly discussing which of the cars launched during his era was our favorite. The conversation was rousing, so we thought it would be entertaining to put the choices to a quick ranked vote, and bring you a sort of Editors' Choice list for road-going Ferraris from the 1990s through today.
Then, of course, all hell broke loose.
Luca di Montezemolo may not have wanted to leave Ferrari this way, but don't feel too bad for the departing chairman, because he'll be hitting the ground with a golden parachute so big that he'll never have to work again.
According to the latest reports, Fiat will pay Montezemolo 26.95 million euros (nearly $35 million) in severance pay. A little more than half of that will be paid in a lump sum of 13.71 million euros ($17.7M, equivalent to five times his annual salary) on January 31, 2015, with the rest to be paid within the next 20 years.
The payment is contingent on Montezemolo not going to work for a competitor, so don't expect to see him replacing Stephan Winkelmann at Lamborghini or Wolfgang Dürheimer at Bugatti any time soon. At least not until March 2017. Of course with that much cash on hand, the 67-year-old marquis need never work again, but considering how busy he's used to keeping himself, we'd be surprised if he didn't pop up again somewhere.
Yesterday Ferrari announced a changing of the scarlet-clad guard with the departure of longtime chairman Luca di Montezemolo. Having run the company since shortly after the passing of Enzo Ferrari himself, Montezemolo built the Prancing Horse marque up to the benchmark supercar manufacturer, victorious racing team and household name it is today. In short, Ferrari - and most crucially, its parent company Fiat - will face a most difficult challenge in filling il Advocatto's handmade loafers and putting the company back on the track which Montezemolo laid down over the course of the past two decades.
The question on everyone's mind is, to whom will that challenge fall? To quote Goose from Top Gun, the list is long, but distinguished. Join us as we run down the roster of potential assentors to the leather-clad, carbon-fiber bucket seat at the head of the big table in Maranello.
If the history of an automaker is divided up by the mandate of its leadership, then this is surely the end of an era for Ferrari. After repeatedly locking horns with Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne over a variety of issues, longtime Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo has announced his resignation.
Montezemolo has a long history with both Fiat and Ferrari. He started his career at the former before moving over to the latter in 1973 (only a few years Fiat took over half of Ferrari), starting out as Enzo Ferrari's assistant. He was appointed head of the Scuderia the following year, driving the team to success and subsequently taking over all of the Fiat group's racing activities. After the Prancing Horse marque struggled in the wake of its founder's death in 1988, Montezemolo was appointed to take it over in '91 and has been at the helm ever since.
Following Fiat chairman Gianni Agnelli's passing in 2003, both Montezemolo and Marchionne were named to the Fiat board. A year later, after the passing of Gianni's younger brother Umberto, Montezemolo was named chairman of the Fiat Group (to be succeeded six years later by Agnelli heir John Elkann) and Marchionne its chief executive.
Luca di Montezemolo has been running Ferrari since 1991. That's a whopping 23 years already, and having been born the same year that Ferrari was founded, Montezemolo is now 67 years old. But don't expect him to be stepping down any time soon.
Addressing the rampant rumors circulating the paddock at Monza this weekend, the hereditary Marquis of Montezemolo (pictured above at the unveiling of the 458 Speciale in Frankfurt last year) insisted that he is not about to leave Ferrari. Not before 2017, anyway, having signed as recently as this past March to stay on another three years. (After that, it's anyone's guess, with some suggesting that controversial Fiat scion Lapo Elkann could take his place.) But in dismissing the rumors, the affable and long-serving Ferrari chairman did reveal some new product plans.
First of all, according to racing site Autosport.com, Luca confirmed that the Prancing Horse marque "will present a fantastic new car" at the Paris Motor Show next month, widely expected to be a new variant of the 458: either the new Speciale Spider or the turbocharged 458 M. While he was at it, though, Montezemolo also revealed a new limited edition model to be presented in California.