599 by Christina Binkley

Discussion in '612/599' started by fastaone, Oct 27, 2006.

  1. fastaone

    fastaone Karting

    Jan 9, 2004
    Long Island
    Full Name:
    Peter F
    Just Off the Boat From Italy
    We Jump the Waiting List For the $265,000 Ferrari;
    Easier to Drive in a Dress
    October 27, 2006; Page W1
    Full disclosure: Both my vehicles have kids' car seats strapped into the back. So, when offered the chance to drive the new Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano, the first person I called for advice was Elaine Wynn, wife of casino mogul Steve Wynn. She buys a new Ferrari every year.

    "Wear pants," Mrs. Wynn suggested firmly. So, clad in my favorite blue Elie Tahari slacks, I've slipped down into the low-slung, carbon-fiber-and-leather driver's seat of the 599 with my dignity intact.

    Power up: Ferrari, in a big change, puts the engine of the 599 GTB up front.
    My heart is thumping. I press the brake, punch the red ignition button on the steering wheel and the engine revs with a roar that has literally been composed by sound engineers to purr and growl differently at each setting. I go first with the automatic-transmission choice -- yes, there's a choice -- and we glide into Beverly Hills, Calif., traffic.

    Then, I venture into the six-gear manual transmission and the car mothers me: It downshifts when it sees fit. There's no stick shift and no clutch to push -- just two finger-operated paddles by the steering wheel that serve to shift down (left paddle) and up (right paddle). An LED panel on the steering wheel flashes a warning if the revolutions-per-minute near the 8,400 red line.

    I'm driving with James Del Pozzo, the 33-year-old general sales manager of the local Ferrari dealership, who says shifting with the paddles is "like playing a videogame." We ascend the Santa Monica mountains and hit curvy Mulholland Drive.

    Ferrari buffs say this car is groundbreaking, with its 620-horsepower V12 engine installed up front to more evenly distribute weight. This is an innovation over the rear-engine Ferraris that I'm told make driving in Beverly Hills traffic much like guiding a bronco through a rodeo chute. The engine placement allows the car to sit up higher off the ground, making it easier to get into and out of -- in a skirt (though I felt more comfortable in pants). This is supposed to make the 599 the first Ferrari to appeal to women and less race-oriented drivers. I'm thinking of it as the soccer moms' Ferrari.

    But the base price of the 599 is way out of car-pool territory -- $249,034. This version started at $265,295 because it came with a special transmission -- and went higher because of options including an $800 iPod hookup and the $3,500 LED steering wheel. It belongs to Giacomo Mattioli, who is to Ferraris what Wal-Mart is to Procter & Gamble.

    The F-List
    Most Ferraris come from Italy by boat. This one was flown in to arrive in time to do a promotional lap last weekend at the Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, Calif. (Most Americans won't get a chance to glimpse one until next year.)

    With just 14 cars a day gliding off the assembly line, Ferrari can't keep up with demand. Mr. Mattioli, who was once married to the granddaughter of company founder Enzo Ferrari, owns Ferrari and Maserati dealerships in Beverly Hills, Pasadena, Calif., and the Silicon Valley, as well as a stake in a Ferrari F430GT race car. The marriage to the founder's kin didn't last, but his grip on the company's U.S. distribution channels held, and the man now sells more Ferraris than anyone in North America. Waiting lists for a new Ferrari can be years-long. The more you buy, the faster you'll rise to the top of the next model's list -- a stroke of marketing genius that encourages some Ferrari lovers to buy $300,000 cars they don't want in order to maintain their place in line for the one they covet.

    Soccer moms' Ferrari; our reporter behind the wheel.
    If you ask Mr. Mattioli how this delivery schedule is determined, he'll mumble vaguely about complex computer programs. But the truth is that Mr. Mattioli is the man who manages the F-list in Hollywood. According to people familiar with the dealership, it was Mr. Mattioli who decided that TV and filmmaker Michael Mann (who liberally sprinkles his work with Ferraris like the F430 Spider that Crocket drives in "Miami Vice") will be getting his new 599 before Nicolas Cage gets his. Mr. Cage declined to comment. Mr. Mann didn't respond to requests for comment.

    The 599's maximum speed is something over 205 miles per hour, according to the sales brochure, which is actually a hardcover book worthy of a coffee table. I couldn't test this out in Los Angeles traffic, so I called Tony Marnell, a Las Vegas construction contractor who made enough money building casinos, including Bellagio and the Wynn, that he now owns 10 Ferraris, give or take.

    Mr. Marnell says he once drove his Enzo Ferrari -- a car so hot that it was named after the company's founder -- on a Nevada highway at 235 mph. The trouble with Ferraris, Mr. Marnell explains calmly, is that you can overtake ordinary cars at such a pace that before you know it, vroom, you've rear-ended some poor Honda right there in the fast lane.

    Rare Kindness
    Yet the Ferrari tries to protect drivers from its raw power. At 60 mph, its sensors read the ground 200 times every 3.2 inches. This is why you can't burn rubber unless you disengage all the safety gear using the "manettino," a tiny switch on the steering wheel with choices for normal driving conditions and rain and snow, as well as psychological needs like "sport," "race" and one that might be named " burn rubber." (It turns off the stability and traction control.)

    This is not the kind of problem I normally face on the streets of Los Angeles. The cars parked in my Hollywood Hills garage are a Subaru Outback and a dented Infiniti i-something. I can't get the Crayola marker stains out of the Infiniti's back-seat upholstery. Nobody eyes my wheels with lust.

    Yet most everybody is green with envy about my Ferrari joyride. That includes the suave gentleman in the white Mercedes sports car who tries to wave me into traffic ahead of him on Mulholland Drive -- the first kindness anyone has ever offered me in rush-hour traffic in this city.

    Ferraris in Beverly Hills are sold by two salesmen, Mr. Del Pozzo and Bryant Kreaden. Mr. Del Pozzo says he has seven points on his driver's license, which puts him dangerously close to riding a bicycle to work. He has collected these points in other people's Ferraris, because it turns out that Ferrari salesmen generally can't afford to own a Ferrari, as Ferrari dealers do. When Mr. Del Pozzo heads home from work six days a week, he climbs into the seat of his Toyota Prius. Mr. Kreaden drives a Scion, another Toyota product.

    Maybe that's also mea culpa for the gas they use at work. At 11 miles per gallon in the city, the Ferrari 599 is in league with a Hummer. Still, the 599 is a work of art. It reminds me of my husband's Italian Lotto tennis shoes, which made his feet look sleek even in dirty sweat socks. Its body is sculpted to send air over the hood, through a gap in the side-view mirrors, and behind the "flying buttresses" at the rear. This serves the purpose of placing roughly 150 pounds of air pressure onto the rear end when traveling at 124 miles per hour, which helps keep the vehicle on the ground, Ferrari says.

    So just for the record, in case anyone from the Beverly Hills Police Department is wondering: We did not go zero to 60 in 3.7 seconds in front of those gated homes along Crescent Drive on Monday. No way. Wasn't us.

    Write to Christina Binkley at

    Things That Go Vroom

    Here's how the Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano stacks up against other expensive sports cars. Acceleration and base price are from manufacturers:

    0-60 MPH (SEC.) COMMENTS
    Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano $249,034 3.7 Unlike some others in this price range, the Ferrari 599 isn't built from parts found on less-expensive models. It doesn't share its engine design with pickup trucks (like the Ford GT does) or its chassis and drive train parts with Audi models (like Lamborghini).
    Lamborghini Murcielago LP640 $311,000 3.4 Lamborghinis are for drivers who think understatement is overrated. For 2007, the longtime Ferrari rival revamped its five-year-old flagship car, with a single huge tailpipe instead of two and a bigger front spoiler. It also boosted its 12-cylinder engine to 640 horsepower from 580.
    Aston Martin Vanquish S $260,000 4.8 James Bond drove one in his last film, but in the upcoming "Casino Royale" he'll drive a DBS, which is based on a less-expensive Aston and isn't yet for sale. Most Vanquish buyers own five to seven cars, the company says, including at least one other exotic like a Ferrari or Lamborghini.
    Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren $452,750 3.8 While many cars in this category are hard to drive -- more suited to track than town -- Mercedes says the SLR is an "everyday supercar," designed to be comfortable for commuting, errands or road trips. Traditional automatic transmission makes it more of a highway cruiser than racecar.
    Saleen S7 $585,000 2.8 The first S7s, built in Irvine, Calif., came out in 2001, but last year the company boosted the giant 8-cylinder engine to put out 750 horsepower, up from 550. The car weights 2,950 pounds, about 1,000 pounds lighter than Lamborghini's Murcielago. Its maker says the car is meant to compete with the $650,000 Ferrari Enzo, not the 599.
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  3. WarrenF355

    WarrenF355 Formula Junior

    Dec 29, 2004
    Newburgh, IN
    Full Name:
    Warren M. Rogers
    soccer mom's ferrari? please.
  4. dozzina

    dozzina F1 Veteran
    Silver Subscribed

    Aug 14, 2005
    In a vortex
    Full Name:
    Uh, she needs to hire a better ghost writer.

    "Ferrari buffs say this car is groundbreaking, with its 620-horsepower V12 engine installed up front to more evenly distribute weight."

    Wrong, and as groundbreaking as a 1955 250 Europa GT.

    Don't get me wrong, I love front engine V12's, but mid-engine handling it has not.
  5. Westworld

    Westworld Two Time F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed

    May 18, 2004
    Kind of an odd article. Is she trying to pose?
  6. 134282

    134282 Four Time F1 World Champ

    Aug 3, 2002
    Full Name:
    Carbon McCoy
    235 mph in his Enzo, huh...?
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  8. Peace, Luv n Ferrari

    Aug 4, 2006
    Quote: Uh, she needs to hire a better ghost writer.

    "Ferrari buffs say this car is groundbreaking, with its 620-horsepower V12 engine installed up front to more evenly distribute weight."

    Wrong, and as groundbreaking as a 1955 250 Europa GT.

    Don't get me wrong, I love front engine V12's, but mid-engine handling it has not.

    Man the 599 is front mid engined. In other words it is in front but is pushed back enough to be in the middle.
  9. Ferrari 360 CS

    Ferrari 360 CS F1 Veteran
    Silver Subscribed

    Dec 4, 2004
    Cape Town,SA
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    I enjoyed the review, something differant from the usual motoring articles one reads, differant perspectives are always good in my opinion.
  10. RBK

    RBK F1 Rookie

    Jul 27, 2006
    Calif and Nev
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    Thank you for a very personal, humourous and informative piece.

    Ignore the critical "book reviews". They reflect less literary acumen than jealousy.

  11. of2worlds

    of2worlds F1 World Champ
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    Apr 6, 2004
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    This isn't David E Davis jr. passing judgment and for that it should not be criticized. Instead it brings a unique point of view to the Ferrari 599 experience enjoyed by the writer rather than some jaded ENZO owner. She got to experience the Ferrari 599 which is more than most here can claim. A very informative story if read carefully...
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  13. jbjavaheri

    jbjavaheri Karting

    Mar 4, 2004
    West L.A.
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    I thought this it said "Christie Brinkley" and was going to show her in a 599....heh.

    Remember her in the 308/328 in National Lampoon's?? SO hot in that movie!
  14. absent

    absent F1 Veteran
    Lifetime Rossa

    Nov 2, 2003
    Full Name:
    mark k.
    Still one of my favorite movies....
  15. Townshend

    Townshend F1 Veteran
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Jul 20, 2005
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    Christie Brinkley in a 599 would put her at 53. I didn't know who she was and had to look that up..but fortunatly I didn't click on this thread and see a 53yo in a bikini in a Ferrari..
  16. BigTex

    BigTex Seven Time F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Dec 6, 2002
    Houston, Texas
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    #13 BigTex, Nov 15, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    repost...we already tried to work out the "Enzo's daughter" comment over in Vintage....

    The article is a little about the car and a LOT about the quiet thud of name dropping.....;)

    At least that's what Larry Foyt said the other day, as he signed some hats for me! :D :D :D
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  17. Fly'n DutchMan

    Fly'n DutchMan Karting

    Oct 4, 2005
    Agoura Hills CA
    Full Name:
    Sander Brouwers


    If you can remember what movie that schtick was from....
  18. Mbutner

    Mbutner Formula 3

    Aug 11, 2005
    Bay Area / Washington DC
    Full Name:
    Quick Draw
    That was one of the worst articles I've ever read.
  19. RBK

    RBK F1 Rookie

    Jul 27, 2006
    Calif and Nev
    Full Name:
    You must be a teenager -- wait it gets much worse

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