There is a certain arrogance implied when a company limits production of a new car to just two colors. As if, “this is what we are offering, take it or leave it, we don’t need you.” Henry Ford telling customers they can have a Model T in any color they want as long as its black comes to mind. But when the company is Ferrari and the new car is the 2009 California you tend to forget about such trivialities. And if those two things still can’t convince you, Michael Schumacher’s endorsement of the new “Baby Ferrari” should put you over the top. (Even if the two colors are red and a rather depressing blue.)
Ferrari poster boy Schumacher is often called upon with the unenviable task (tongue firmly in cheek) of track testing new Ferraris and also was involved with development of the 430 Scuderia–which he calls the “very essence of a Ferrari,” while the California is more of an “everyday” ride. Schumacher’s totaling of a Ferrari prototype during testing last week notwithstanding, we’ll take his thumbs up on the new “Baby Ferrari” seriously. The “baby” moniker seems hardly accurate at first glance, especially if you check out the sticker price which will be approaching the neighborhood of $200,000. Offered only as a folding hardtop convertible, the California is focused towards the ultra rich who crave both open-air and Grand Tourer driving. The powerplant of the California will be Ferrari’s 4.3-liter V-8 mounted in the front and producing 460 horsepower at 7500 rpm. Less than the 483 hp mid-engined F430 coupe/spider and F430 Scuderia that cranks out 503 hp, which is where the “baby” title comes in I suppose. As with all Ferrari’s the body and chassis is aluminum.
Seating is of the 2+ arrangement, which in Italian means you can fit a couple of bags behind the seats after your shopping trip to buy tube socks and Alpo at Wal-Mart. I am usually turned off by sports cars that have more than two seats….or two doors. It reminds me of myself telling my girlfriend and future wife that my Honda Prelude was “practically a sports car.” (I am shamed by that memory) But the California is absolutely beautiful; and although I am not usually a fan of convertibles, this car makes me want to rethink that philosophy with it’s Pininfarina-engineered retractable aluminum hardtop
Purportedly, though I am hereby formally requesting a personal test drive from ridelust, Ferrari is quoting 0-62 mph times at a nip under four seconds. (It always takes me a second when I see 0-62 before I have a “Look at the brain on Brad” moment over the metric system conversion.) At any rate, as far as a “daily driver” Ferrari goes, I’ll take it…in red please.
The Ferrari California has a Web site for those wishing to indulge their ears to the sounds of the engine, as well other goodies to help you day dream or in my case go completely nuts. I actually caught myself saying “Ferrari California” like Governor Schwarzenegger. You know….CALEEFORRRNYA…..sorry.
The car makes its public debut at the Paris motor show in early October.