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Marcel Massini

Discussion in 'Who's Who in Ferrari Universe' started by El Wayne, Jan 4, 2010.

  1. El Wayne

    El Wayne Global Moderator
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    #1 El Wayne, Jan 4, 2010
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    Ok, let's give this new forum a shot and start with The Man Himself:

    http://www.ferrarichat.com/velostrada/issues/200509/Ausbrooks_Massini.htm

    There is something remarkable about the name “Ferrari.” Even without a powerful prewar legacy like those of Bugatti, Rolls Royce, Mercedes Benz, Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Jaguar, the cars bearing Enzo Ferrari’s name have, in a relatively short span of time, developed one of the most diverse and wide-spread followings of any automotive marque. While all of these makes have their own devout followers, experts and historians, the immense society that has blossomed around the cars from Maranello is comprised of a surprisingly wide array of individuals from around the world, all of which have, at some point in their lives, become completely spellbound by the marque. As a result, Ferrari is one of the most studied and researched automotive subjects among historians and experts around the globe with an astounding number of books and articles written and published on the subject during the company’s short history.

    Despite all of this available material, there is surprisingly still so much that remains unknown and the amount of inaccurate information that is already circulating in print is staggering. For these reasons, the world’s top restorers, collectors, dealers and auction houses often choose to consult with an expert when searching for historical information, photographs or documentation instead of relying on the plethora of readily available material. Whether looking to accurately establish the provenance of a particular car being bought or sold or to research the original appearance or configuration of one that is undergoing restoration, the first choice among those in the know is almost always world-renowned Ferrari expert and historian Marcel Massini.

    Universally recognized as the top in his field, Massini’s time is divided between his research, consultant work and his positions as senior editor for the Ferrari Club of America’s Prancing Horse magazine as well as contributing editor to Cavallino and Scuderia magazines. While he has had material published in over 400 publications over the years and in magazines from England, Japan, Spain, the US, France, Germany and Switzerland, his very first Ferrari-related article was written when he was only 17 years of age and was published in an English Ferrari model club magazine. A chance encounter eleven years earlier had already set him on the course that he would continue to follow for over four decades.

    Born in Geneva, Switzerland in 1957, Massini traces his ancestry and Italian heritage back over 200 years to the area surrounding Lake Como not far from Milan, Italy. As a boy growing up in a household without even a family car, he was understandably awestruck at the sight and sound of a black Ferrari 250 GTE spied while vacationing with his family in the Italian-speaking region of southern Switzerland at the age of 6. The exciting car from Maranello left its indelible mark on the little boy and he quickly became a die-hard Ferrari enthusiast, dedicating his free time to building model kits of the various cars.

    As his model building skills increased, the desire for more accuracy led Massini to collect every Ferrari photo and automotive magazine that was available to him. When these materials weren’t enough, he would track down documents and attend as many automotive events as possible in order to see the cars in person. Eventually he came to realize that the research and detective work aspect had become much more fascinating than the construction of the models so he decided to sell off the models and keep the documents, photos and books instead. Today, that collection has grown into a remarkable database, photographic archive and reference library. Filled with literally thousands of files, documents and vintage prints, his database is one of the largest of its kind in the world.

    While attending the Oldtimer Grand Prix in Germany in 1979, the then 22-year-old Massini had the opportunity to drive not one, but two 250 LMs, the unique “Stradale” (s/n 5995) of Mark Tippetts and the very last 250 LM produced (s/n 8165), belonging to legendary privateer racer David Piper. The Ferrari Legend: 250 GT Competition by French author and historian Jess G. Pourret had been published only two years prior and, with the 250 GTO being hailed as the ultimate 1960s Ferrari, he couldn’t help but think how underrated and underappreciated the LM was by comparison. The mid-engined cars had made a lasting impression.

    “I was hooked,” Massini recalls. “On the way back home, I began thinking about collecting information about the 250 LMs. At that time, there were no 250 LM books around.” It was time for him to roll up his sleeves and get to work researching what would eventually become his first book.

    In September of 1981, with the LM book still in progress, he attended a major Ferrari club meeting in Maranello. There he had the privilege of meeting the man whose cars he had dedicated so much time and effort into researching. Even though Enzo Ferrari was already in his 80s and appeared physically fragile, Massini couldn’t help but feel awestricken. “He had a special aura,” he remembers, “It was an audience with a king.”

    Massini had the opportunity to meet with Ferrari a second time while attending a similar event in 1983 and, in that same year, he was able to put four years of painstaking research behind him as his first book, Ferrari 250 LM, was completed and published. He sent Ferrari a copy of the book for his library and was pleased to receive a nice letter of thanks and a copy of Ferrari’s own book, Piloti, Che Gente in return. Today, Massini’s book is still kept in the farmhouse at Ferrari’s Fiorano racetrack, where driver Michael Schumacher stays during testing. It is located in a second floor room from which Enzo used to watch the races on television.

    Still exhausted from the Herculean effort put into the LM book, Massini turned his attention to the uniquely designed Ferraris bodied by Turinese coachbuilder Vignale. “I found the 155 Vignale-bodied Ferraris extremely interesting, each with a different body and no two cars identical,” he explains, “I’m an eye person and admire styling and design. I liked the Art Deco style of many Vignales.” After a full decade of intense research, his book Ferrari by Vignale was finally published in 1993 and, to this day, still stands as the definitive work on the subject.

    Updates to both books are currently in the works, as is the new Ferrari 250 Mille Miglia. Before we see any of these, though, a long-awaited collaboration with Italian writer Angelo Tito Anselmi titled, Making the Difference: Coachbuilt Roadable Ferraris of 50's & 60's should become available this fall.

    With such a large, world-wide Ferrari following and numerous publishers rapidly turning out new books on the subject, I asked Massini why he has been a less-than-prolific author with so few titles, especially considering his thirty-plus years of experience writing about Ferraris for various magazines. He responded that it was not his goal to publish as many books as possible. “I like to do niche books,” he said, “books no one else has done before, covering special areas.” With the current Massini “niche” books considered to be indispensable reference material by Ferrari historians the world over and, given the level of dedication that he lends to his research, the release of his latest offerings are eagerly awaited by the Ferrari community.

    With so many Ferrari historians around the world, many of which have published more books and even maintain massive databases on the individual cars, Massini has managed to stay at the top of his game. Even when away from his home in Switzerland and not armed with his enormous library and endless database, his encyclopedic knowledge of all things Ferrari impresses even the most cognizant of his peers. Fellow Ferrari historian Alan Boe sums it up best, “In some endeavors in life it's tough to assess who's number one in their field, but when it comes to Ferrari and the histories of the cars from Maranello, there's a clear-cut number one . . . Marcel Massini.”

    [All photos copyright Marcel Massini]
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  2. GrayTA

    GrayTA F1 World Champ
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    I think it speaks VOLUMES that Mr. Massini has made it into this forum BEFORE Michael Schumacher or Enzo himself.

    Nothing more need be said...


    PDG
     
  3. Michael Call

    Michael Call Formula Junior

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    +1 Mr. Massini is the LAW when it comes to this stuff...
     
  4. Bryanp

    Bryanp F1 Rookie
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    #4 Bryanp, Jan 4, 2010
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    accuracy and directness are hard-wired in Marcel's DNA.

    August 2006, Arlington, VA; from l-r - Marcel Massini, Rory (of D. Carte's Sports & Classic Cars), Keith Bluemel, Robert Phillips, Bill Bowdish, David Carte, me holding my little guy, Mike Dunn, Zac Dugger and Tom Shaughnessy in front of 0556(0446)MD.
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  5. Napolis

    Napolis Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Very Nice Guy as well.
     
  6. wax

    wax Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Wayne,

    Salud to your fitting nod to Marcel, Master of the Ferrari Trade Universe.
    ____

    Marcel,

    As you have certainly found, having a curious appetite whetted is one thing, but leaving a table satisfied is quite the reward in itself, yet, curiously leaves one wanting more. You are indeed the Master of your Trade, and I thank you for your contributions to we dear readers. I hope your quest continues unabated and wish you well.
     
  7. Julio Batista

    Julio Batista Formula 3

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    +1

    Indeed.
     
  8. Dino2400

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    #8 Dino2400, Jan 5, 2010
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    I have spoken to Mr Massini only once in Germany (Ferrari Racing Days) about some of his books. It was very nice to meet him!

    As a small book-collector i love to see his library. Very impressive! When possible i would like to see some more pictures of it. Nice note... I just got my hands on a copy of his first book covering the 250LM... Now looking forward to his next!
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  9. thepinkumbrella

    thepinkumbrella F1 Veteran

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    No words can describe Marcel.

    He is an unbelievable gentleman who shares his knowledge on the Ferrari world.
    He possesses great knowledge that he could so easily withhold but shares it openly and educates us all.

    We are extremely fortunate to have this person amongst us (I just wish other members would treat him with the respect he deserves). I could name a few names but wont!

    Paul
     
  10. Jeff Kennedy

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    I met Marcel for the first time at the 2009 FCA National meet in Elkart Lake. A very nice person that I look forward to crossing paths with again.

    Jeff
     
  11. Marcel Massini

    Marcel Massini F1 World Champ
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    #11 Marcel Massini, Jan 6, 2010
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    Thank you, guys! As some of you may know I live in a suburb of Zurich, Switzerland, and regularly take care of Ferraris airfreighted to me by collector friends from all over the world. We then go to events all over the planet. It's a sh1tty job but somebody has to do it............Here are a few pix out of my album.

    Marcel Massini
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  12. Jeff Kennedy

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    Marcel,

    I feel so sorry for your misfortune of having to deal with these sh1tty cars. It does look in picture #2 that you might be a little cramped.

    Jeff
     
  13. SonomaRik

    SonomaRik F1 Veteran
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    That first shot of the find is my most favorite series of Ferrari pictures from Cavallino. The color composition and the patina [as hoping it is left that way] is absolutely wall-hangers.

    Since you have the rights, could/would you post the series?
     
  14. Marcel Massini

    Marcel Massini F1 World Champ
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    #14 Marcel Massini, Jan 6, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2010
    Jeff

    It was good meeting you, even if we didn't have enough time at Elkhart. Photo #2 is 2561 GT.
    Photo #3 is 0853 GT. Photo #4 is left to right 6051 and 5899. Photo #5 is 0813 GT. Photo #6 is 2561 GT. Photo #7 shows left to right 0090 E, 0490 AM, 0403 GT, 0479 SA and 1525 GT. Photo #8 shows 0402 AM, 0683 GT and 2561 GT.

    Marcel Massini
     
  15. Michael B

    Michael B F1 Rookie
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    #15 Michael B, Jan 6, 2010
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  16. Marcel Massini

    Marcel Massini F1 World Champ
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    That is 0813 GT and I am on the way to Villa d'Este at 6.30 a.m. Sunday morning (just look at the guy with the newspaper in the back). Photo by Etienne Vanaret of France. Car owned by Peter S. Kalikow of N.Y., color very similar to the old "Vinaccia".

    Marcel Massini
     
  17. Ferrarinw2

    Ferrarinw2 Five Time F1 World Champ

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    #17 Ferrarinw2, Jan 7, 2010
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    I bought when it 1st came out the 250 lm book.Even now I still refer to it,as this model is very dear to the hearts of many Australian racing fans of the '60s.For me my child hero Ian (Pete) Geoghegan raced #6321,apart from a life that ended very very sad ,to many of us he was Australia's best driver/period,I for one rank his car control equa lto any one else whom might have raced this model,including Rindt,Surtees and Stewart.
     
  18. michael platzer

    michael platzer F1 Veteran

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    +1 fully agreed!
     
  19. ross

    ross Three Time F1 World Champ
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    i certainly second that. marcel spent some of his valuable time with me at the gstaad auction in 2008 and i certainly benefitted. a very friendly gentleman.
    thx again marcel.
     
  20. jav

    jav Formula Junior

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    #20 jav, Jan 7, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2010
    Wayne- very nice bio.

    I've never had the pleasure of meeting Marcel personnaly, but we have corresponded. From my first interaction with Marcel, I knew he was something special.

    One can't help but be impressed with his indisputable knowledge or unprecidented access to all things Ferrari. But most impressive to me is that - he is a super nice guy and a good man. Approachable, freindly and engaging.

    For a guy that has achieved such superiority in his feild, to maintian his humility and generosity towards his fellow man... well that's just rare and special.

    If we ever have the opportinuty to meet- I owe you a raised glass and a good dinner my freind! Thanks for doing what you do.

    John
     
  21. Michael B

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    You certainly seem to have gotten his attention! Well done. keep up the exemplary work.
     
  22. of2worlds

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    Marcel has been very generous with his knowledge and also corrected a couple of mis-conceptions for me. He certainly helps greatly to keep the Ferrari history alive and where possible correct to.
    CH
     
  23. Vintage V12

    Vintage V12 Formula 3

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    It is fantastic that this introduction to Marcel was started. We are so lucky to have him as part of the Ferrari community. He has always been helpful to me and it was great to finally meet him at Pebble Beach 2009. A super nice guy too.
    matt
     
  24. Alex1015

    Alex1015 Formula Junior

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    Marcel,

    Cannot thank you enough for your contributions to the forum, you really are excellent.
     
  25. 410SA

    410SA F1 Veteran

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    I am deeply indebted to Marcel for the advice and information he supplied freely and accurately whenever I asked.
    In better times, when I was an active buyer of vintage Ferraris, Marcel was the first and often the only source for information that I would trust.

    I had the privilege of driving an Enzo at Fiorano with Marcel sitting beside me and talking about the cars for sale at the RM Auction that weekend.

    Thank you Marcel. You are truly an international treasure.

    Alex
     

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