THEY may be one of the sexiest and most flamboyant – not to mention expensive – sports cars in the world, but don’t even think about asking for a pink Ferrari.
IT’S the ultimate in luxury sports cars — noisy, incredible to drive and possibly one of the most gawked-at set of wheels on the road.
But the one thing you will never see come out of the Ferrari factory is one in pink.
“It just doesn’t fit into our whole ethos to be honest,” Ferrari’s Australasia CEO, Herbert Appleroth tells news.com.au. “It’s a brand rule. No Pink. No Pokémon Ferraris!
“There are other colours that aren’t in our DNA as well and they are wonderful colours too but some are perhaps more suited to other brands,’’ he says, ever so diplomatically.
“The most popular colour is still red but we are trying to give as many choices as possible to everyone.”
While red does make up for around a third of Ferrari sales around the world, it is followed by silver and black with white being a colour Appleroth says is trending ‘upwards.’
“Enzo Ferrari used to say a different Ferrari for every Ferrari-ista, as globally we don’t want two cars to be the same.
“We have invested in our dealerships so each one has a tailored made, personalisation area.”
Of course, if you are spending anything from $400,000 to $2.5 million on a Ferrari you may choose to go elsewhere to have it painted pink once you have driven it out of the dealership. But at this point, there won’t be any pinkies brm-brm-brm-ing out of a showroom anytime soon.
“Every Ferrari is customised, personalised or bespoke,” says Mr Appleroth.
“There are many different levels of personalisation from sitting in the dealership and working through all of your options to the tailor-made progamme where you fly to Italy to the factory in Maranello and sit in the atelier and work out your specifications.
“And there is the one-off program where it starts with the chassis and everything is completed around your specifications. But they are very, very rare. Eric Clapton has one like that.”
Mr Appleroth says the car brand produces an ongoing book with all designs from all over the world so they can see what some of the trends and what some cultures are doing when it comes to design.
“Like anything in fashion, we push the boundaries and our personalisation programs allow for our clients to basically create a couture car.”
And who exactly are the people buying these extravagant, mechanically masterful fast cars?
“Actually the car industry is booming,” Appleroth explains. “In our space, the ‘super’ car market, it has never been as good as it is now.
“In our segment, the Ferrari world, we have seen a 48 per cent growth in the last financial year. There are number of factors to it, from our economy doing well, there’s a stability in the market and people are doing well and feeling confident about their primary investment, which is usually real estate.
“There are people who have worked hard and think ‘I want to treat myself’ and they also see a car like this as an investment as the cars appreciate simply because they are so limited and all bespoke.”
While a half million dollar fast car is a mighty big treat-to-self, Mr Appleroth thinks Australians are maturing when it comes to buying ‘luxury’.
“Maybe 10 or 15 years ago luxury was thought of as a bit of snobbery,” he says. “But I think people like to reward themselves now and look up to those who have done well as opposed to the tall poppy thing where we were always ready to cut down anyone who has worked hard for what they’ve got.”
Either way, ‘the Ferrari family’, a term Appleroth has given to Aussies who are in the F-club, turned out in force in Canberra on the weekend at an event that was an ode to all things Italian and car-like, Auto Italia.
Held on the lawns of Old Parliament House there were hundreds of Italian cars at the public event, from the likes of Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Fiat, Lamborghini and Ferrari. Dotted around the lawns and owned by collectors and Italian car enthusiasts the lawns would have never had seen so much car porn in one space at one time.
So, what it’s really like drive a Ferrari:
When the Ferrari dealer handed over the keys to the $400,000 (plus!) Ferrari California T for the weekend test drive to Canberra, I suddenly felt rich. Like, seriously rich. Powerful and successful. OK, I shouldn’t really need a car to tell me that my life is a complete and utter triumph (insert eyeroll emoji here) but hey, this went the right way about doing it.
My little, borrowed friend was red, low-rise, streamlined, well-endowed at the front and bloody sexy.
The fact it can go from zero 100km/h in 3.6 seconds kind of concerned me as I slowly wrangled it out onto a busy and relatively narrow street from its inner city Sydney dealership.
But once I was sorted, seat hoisted up, strapped in and the ‘launch’ button pushed, it was hasta la vista baby.
Not being fluent in motorise — I’l leave all that torque to bona fide motoring writers — I have never seen as many people stare in my direction as much as they did than when I was behind this set of wheels. Needless to say, it is a car that requires your lipstick stays glossy and your hair fresh as you feel like you are on show just as much as your wheels are.
Some peeps stare in sheer wonderment at this marvel of motor engineering while a few look at you like you are an indulgent toss.
Which, as someone who grew up in public housing and where humility and self-deprecation was instilled into us from day one and … oh, stuff it. It’s just a superbly brilliant experience and ride.
We (carefully) motored down to Canberra to the Auto Italia event we’d been invited to and while 110km is our MAX Australian freeway speed (which isn’t even a stroll in Ferrari land) I kept the faith, much to the chagrin of my foot, which could smell the lead it was desperate to pedal.
Look, I’m not going to go all motormouth on you, preferring to go the more luxe and style route.
The fact is, this auto gearbox still has the feel and noise of a manual and the leather and stitching is exquisite and there is plenty of room in the boot and the convertible roof is a cinch to get off, with the push of just one button. Aah. it’s a real ride.
Okay, so if I was ever in the site to afford one, would I? Bloody hell, yes. Even if I nearly do my back in each time I limbo-ed into the drivers seat.
*Melissa was a media guest of Ferrari at the annual Auto Italia event in Canberra.