Image Unavailable, Please Login One lesson I've learned from living with my mental disorder (velocitosis vulgaris) for the last 35 years: it makes no sense to buy a car, and then save it for the next guy by not driving it. I'm sorry to admit that on occasion, I have been the next buyer's dream seller: pay a fortune for the car new, baby the car, polish the car, preserve the car, obsess about the miles on the car, sell the car, and still get absolutely, irrevocably bent over. Now, I realize that some dudes love this form of vehicular masochism, but I'd like to think I got over that a few years ago. As evidence, I present my lovely Pista. It arrived in December, and I've now put over 2300 miles on it. Every one of those miles has been fantastic. I thought it might be useful, or at least interesting, for me to share a few observations about the car now that I have become more familiar with it. Is the Honeymoon Over? Huh? The more I drive the Pista, the more I love it. Probably the most surprising thing is how buttery smooth and responsive the engine/transmission combo is. It’s total zen, and I wasn’t expecting that to be the case. I know there is a lot of hand wringing over the modern Ferrari turbo V8. I was lucky to own a Speciale, which is about as near to perfection as a car can be. All the NA guys wax poetic about it, and I understand why. Still, I prefer the Pista, and it’s not even close. Ferrari has created magic with the Pista engine, it is supremely responsive, even at low revs. It pulls like fighter jet and takes no prisoners at wide open throttle. The second delightful surprise is the ride quality. The previous world champ in the supple riding exotic category was…well, every McLaren I’ve ever owned. The Pista is pretty darn close, at least in the bumpy road mode, which is the setting I always use while I’m driving in town. Even in standard mode, even with Novitec springs, the car is remarkably pleasant. Third surprise, the build quality of my car is impeccable, and the car feels super resistant to any hint of torsional flex or what I call “bang crash syndrome”. (If you want to experience this, drive a convertible camaro over a set of railroad tracks.) The Pista has that billet feel like the german cars we all love and admire. It just feels like…expensive engineering, for lack of a better term. When dicing in the canyon, it’s almost spiritual to point the Pista at the apex and feel it respond like a go kart, all the while dancing through the gears, burbling and barking along the way. If there is a better car in the twisties, I haven’t experienced it. Yes, the Zanardi NSX I owned was magical, but the Pista brings most of that same tossability, then adds all that gob smacking power in the bargain. Yes, the Porsche GT3 is a hoot, but it ain’t no Ferrari and it doesn’t pretend to be. My advice: if you can manage to put a Pista in the stable, its worth it. Even if you have to sell a couple of your other favorite cars. Around town, shifting is blink quick, but also delightfully smooth. I never, ever, ever, drive in automatic mode. I’ve now come to the point where shifting with the paddles is so instinctive that it has become second nature. Coupled with the flash response of that marvelous engine, I feel like my brain is hard-wired into the car. Now that, my friends, is what we all look for in a great sports car: “instant, precision response” is what I like to call it. I think it and the car does it. Ferrari, you hit a home run with the Pista. Image Unavailable, Please Login Great Adventures in the Pista I’ve come to realize that one tends to bond with a machine when one has adventures in said machine. When I was growing up, we had a clapped-out old Chevy four-wheel drive pickup. My dad, brothers and I had so many hair-raising hunting adventures in that old rig that it became a part of the family. Even in the relatively short period that I’ve owned the Pista, I’ve had some awesome adventures. We hauled it all the way from Arizona to Florida to drive flat out at the shuttle landing facility. I can now confidently say that I have plumbed the depths of the Pista’s top speed. I’ve spent so many joyful hours in the canyon and on the deserted, flat stretches of desert road in my area that I’m starting to feel like the Pista is an old friend. I havn’t really been able to say that about my previous Ferraris. I guess what I’m trying to say is that the Pista is becoming a trusty companion, not something I’m afraid to actually drive simply because its…a Ferrari. Any regrets about the Spec? None. This time, for some reason, the Pista was super easy for me to spec. It took me a few hours at the dealer and we were done. Amazingly, I didn't wake up the next morning full of doubt and remorse. Maybe it’s the fact that this is the 5th car in this generation I’ve ordered. In my humble opinion, I nailed it. And since it's my car and not the next guy's, I can say that without apology. If I wanted a pink Pista with green polka dots, that's what I would have ordered. (Frankly, given the wild specs I’ve seen on various Pistas, that’s not out of the question). Here are the things I'm particularly happy that I ordered: 1. The exterior carbon fiber. I ordered it all. I'm generally super skeptical about cosmetic carbon fiber, as is my bank account. However, on the Pista, it works, and it looks awesome. 2. The seat lifter. Most expensive couple of pieces of plastic I’ve ever bought, but totally worth it. I’m about 5’11” and I like to sit high in the car, so I can see both of the front corners. This makes me so much more comfortable on the canyon drives, which is where the bulk of my miles are experienced. Factory seating on the Pista with the race buckets feels super low to me. 3. Nose lifter. I had the car lowered on Novtiec springs, but it is only modestly lower than factory. I use it all the time. 4. Standard Radio. I had the Hi-Fi radio on my previous cars, and it actually sounded great, when the engine was off. The Pista is not loud inside, but certainly too loud to allow for audiophile quality sound. Save your money; the base system sounds fine, and I listen to it often. 5. Stripe Delete. I like being able to change/remove the stripe when I want to. I’ve got a stripe in the works through my graphics guy, and I think its gonna look cool. If it doesn’t, I’ll peel it off. What about Mods? I’m never hesitant to modify a car to meet my tastes; remember, every car built in a factory for sale to the general public is heavily compromised. There are safety concerns, warranty concerns, regulatory concerns, and the fact that the car must be prepared for use and abuse by the lowest common denominator of end user. (Case in point, I once saw the owner of a spanking new McLaren take it through an automated car wash, where the entire lower rocker panel got torn off by the guide rails. The guy looked at it, shook his head, and drove off. I kid you not). As I have stated before, the cardinal rule of modding a car is to do no harm. In my book, mods should IMPROVE the car and maybe take a little license that the engineers would have also taken if they were given a little freedom. To that end, I lowered the car a bit, had it corner balanced and aligned by a premier race shop, and I switched out of the super sticky tires and replaced them with a set of PS4s. Now I don’t have to listen to the constant ping of rocks off my carbon fiber body work. I’ve got a super light set of HRE wheels coming soon, and I hope to get near the weight of the Carbon wheels without the incumbent hassles. I don’t think I’ll do much more. The End Overall, I couldn’t be happier with the Pista. I’ve owned so many cars now, that every time someone asks me which is the best car I’ve ever owned, I say…the next one. I may have to change my answer now, but don’t tell my wife I said that. She laughs me to scorn every time I say I have finally obtained automotive nirvana. I guess it’s just my velocitosis vulgaris acting up again.