Saturday, March 25, 2006

Ferrari – Il Cavallino Modenese

Ferrari the horse of Modena – Pride of Italy

Maranello, Italy is home and birthplace of the premier sports car in the world, the Ferrari. As a young pup, while I still was programming, I had the opportunity to write some code for the quality assurance program in Ferrari’s manufacturing plant. To be able to do this I spent about six months with the technicians learning what they did and why they did it that way. I met many of the team for the formula 1 car and at lunch would grill anyone I had at the table about Ferrari, its history, and how they did things.

Some interesting trivia about Ferrari, it may be outdated but the basic information should be valid. Every Ferrari is made by hand. A crew follows the car from start to finish. Each piece is documented and tested both before and after being mounted. The quality control is incredible. A car that is “born bad”, never leaves the shop. If a car has a rattle or unconfirmed noise the company will find it, fix it, test the car on the track, and finally replace the tires before giving it back to the client.

I have never owned a Ferrari, but have driven many. I can assure you this car is worth the price tag. It will last forever. At that time, Ferrari produced 2,500 units a year, 2,000 were sold in the United States. There was a six month wait for a Ferrari in the US and almost two years in Italy. The Italian version was faster than the US version due to the excess weight on the US version for side intrusion bars and vehicle emission stuff on the motor.

Ferrari is also a prime contender in Formula One, Two and Three, but when they talk about the “Rossa” they are talking about the Formula One. Formula One is exciting and widely followed in Italy. National pride abounds when these handmade cars hit the track. This link is to a site, in Italian, that has the various races tracks and teams. Check it out even if you do not read Italian, the graphics are fantastic and data is data. Michael Schumacher or “Sciumi”, pronounced shumy, is a hero in Italy.

Maranello is about 20 km south of Modena, a great vacation destination by itself. It is a small town where everything is developed around the car manufacturer. Great little restaurants, bars and hotels offer extremely high quality service at a reasonable price but the main attraction is the plant and its private testing track.

The factory is located on the Via Abetone Inferiore; This is primary road entering the town. It is not possible to tour the factory without the help of your dealer. Guided tours are sometimes arranged exclusively for dealers and their customers and for Ferrari Clubs. But everyone can have a look into the entrance hall of the factory that is generally open to the public. Various exhibits are on display there regularly, ranging from current production to Formula One cars.

A nice place for all "Ferrari spotters" is Via Musso right next to the factory. Every car going to the test track enters and exits the plant here. This includes customer cars, Formula One cars and the new prototypes.

Ferrari’s private test track is located at the end of the Via Dino Ferrari. There are some small streets that end right on the fence of the track; great photo shots if you have a 200m zoom lens. The Fiorano track is used regularly for Formula One testing, check F1 schedule - no testing one week before a race. Ferrari also tests its prototypes and normal production cars.

Check out Ferrari’s museum in Via Dino Ferrari. The Museum is open daily, except Mondays, between 9.30 h and 12.30 h and from 15.00 h to 18.00 h.

There are many hotels available; I would stay at the "Hotel Domus", located right in the heart of Maranello in Piazza Libertà 38. The phone is +39/0536/941071. This hotel was the favorite lodging for the Grand Prix drivers in the old days. If you are looking for something more upscale the "Executive Hotel" in Fiorano is also nice. Address: Via Circ. San Francesco 2, I-41042 Fiorano. Tel.: +39/0536/832010.

Here is a list of restaurants and bars where you can find great food and talk about Ferrari with those in the know:

Ristorante Giardino Dei Tigli
209 Via. Abetone Superiore

Ristorante Gatto Verde
162 Via. Abetone Superiore

Ristorante Da William
1 Via. Flavio Gioia

Ristorante Nuova Estense
2248 Via. Nuova Estense Pozza

Ristorante Cavallino - Customers hang out
1 Via. Abetone Inferiore

Ristorante La Scalinata
356 Via. Abetone Superiore

Ristorante La Gazzella416
Via. Vandelli Gorzano

Ristorante Trattoria Frascinotti
20 Via. S. Antonio Torre Maina

Trattoria Zanichelli
Via. Vandelli

Ristorante Piccola Sardegna
6 Via. Chiesa

Osteria Il Postiglione
143 Via. Abetone Suoeriore

Bar Trattoria La Fontana - Scuderia Ferrari hang out
57 Via. Vignola

On a personal note: The TestaRossa (red head) is my favorite Ferrari of all.

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Blogger ChickyBabe said...

Nothing like a red Ferrari, is there David!

Maybe you should have asked for a car in lieu of payment for the work you did! :)

9:39 PM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

Chickybabe, Ferrari are red. There are many other colors but I feel only a red Ferrari is a real Ferrari.

Unfortunately my bill for the work was significantly less than even the Dino and I already had 2 kids.

5:38 AM

Blogger Jerry said...

wish one day i'll be as rich as possible to have such car...

7:26 AM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

Jerry - dreams are what futures are made of!

The Ferrari is expensive on a purely price based model however if you look at price/quality it is actually one of the best deals on the market. Now I understand that 150k$ is too much money for a car but you can purchased a 4 year model at a much lower price. The car will perform for many years and after the primary price drop of the first two years will maintain its value over time.

Should I decide to purchase a Ferrari I would definitely go for the Testarossa which is now about 10 years old!

7:49 AM

Anonymous OldGuy said...

So does this mean you can get me a deal on one of these babies coz I have a birthday coming up ? :)

7:58 AM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

OldGuy - The Ferrari costs less in Europe however the cost to import and modify them for the US market is about 15k$. The end price is still a bit less than available here however the modifications are still add-ons after the fact.

Best deal is to find a Ferrari owner looking to upgrade.

8:14 AM

Blogger Italian Wine Guy® said...

did you ever own a ferrari?

1:40 PM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

No, I have driven many owned by friends. I have owned a Maserati, it was a gas!

1:49 PM

Blogger Italian Wine Guy® said...

does owning 4 Fiats counts for anything other than the possibility that i might be an idiot?

2:13 PM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

depends on which Fiat. The 128 spider was pretty cool, got great gas mileage and seemed to run forever.

So confess which models?

2:20 PM

Blogger Italian Wine Guy® said...

1) 1969 Fiat 124 sport coupe
fast and fun , great on Hwy 1 up Big Sur and back

2) 1967 850 spider
duh....slow but quick handling, but not a 356 speedster

3) 1974 Fiat 124 sedan
not as fun, but i rebuilt the engine myself

4) 1980 Fiat 130 sport wagon
fast and ahead of it's time

I have never even sat in a Ferrari, let alone go down the road in one.

off to jog....ciao ciao

2:42 PM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

All great cars definitely worth while. You are a sportster with great taste. Obviously the 131 does raise some questions but the spiders were really cool.

3:48 PM


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