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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Smoken Ferrari California

The Ferrari California offered a number of firsts upon its debut in 2008. The Ferrari California, premiering in 2008, takes its name from a 50-year-old classic while introducing some modern-day developments. A front-engine V8. It's also got something called backseats, which seems like a cute concept for a Ferrari -- a "2+" is the technical term. The $230,000 auto is called a "grand tourer" I suppose for this reason, though you'd better find some small friends or very young children if you want to do any grand touring without major leg circulation issues. Anyway who wants to deal with complaints from the backseat?

This is a Ferrari after all, and it makes no apologies for conceding a few extra seats. Oh, and you're of course invited to come along.

Speaking of flying, you probably remember the California's ancestors from a movie called "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." The mythic car in that film was a (say it with me now) 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder. It ended its life by sailing out a window, a scene which horrified the Ferrari cognoscenti in audiences across America -- who may still have unnecessary nightmares, as the car in that film was a replica. There were fewer than a hundred 250GTs made, and as a result they were valuable cars.

So the new series, which could just as easily have been called the "Utah" or the "Connecticut," adopts the name of that 50-year-old classic and lays in all the new gadgetry of this, the modern era. But anyway yes the new California gets its name from those cars of yore, and while it's sure a fine product from those Italian fellows, it seems to have gotten a lot of gossip about being a "nice" car.

But in the canon of Ferrari's aggressively powerful cars, the California has already gotten a bit of a rep for being nice. And this is partly in the design -- a car that can do many things well, and most of them better than almost every other car on the road. So while it's a bit peculiar for a Ferrari, it's still a breathtaking machine when compared to, gosh, anything with a backseat. Just make sure you call shotgun at least once. And while the front end brings to mind, say, a dignified Aston-Martin, the rear gets a lot of grief for being a bit too big.

But Ferrari was serious when it decided to build a car that could perform but could also fit a small child (say, the child of your mistress) in the back seat. A little something for everyone, it seems. Everyone who has $230,000 and a wish to take your best normal-sized friend and your best small friends for an exhilarating trip
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