Speciale end of term write-up (sort of )

Discussion in '458 Italia/488' started by Lukeylikey, Jul 12, 2018.

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  1. Lukeylikey

    Lukeylikey Formula 3

    Mar 3, 2012
    1,186
    Ok, so the car is going nowhere - I could never sell it. But, I have just returned from a European jaunt - quite a big one, 2,500 miles from UK to France to Andorra to Spain then back to the UK. The car clicked 10,000 miles on the way home and this will probably be its last big trip for a good while since other cars will be coming thick and fast over the next few years, plus taking some of the others I have in my garage currently on some of the future trips planned.

    Probably only 500 of the 10,500 miles the car has have been local miles, the car having been used almost solely as a road-trip ‘junkie’. And for that it has been beyond brilliant. It was our first brand new Ferrari and we ordered it from the factory at a joint Atelier session along with a friend, who still has its brother too. We picked it up from the factory for its first road trip - Maranello to the UK. Shortly after, it was shipped out to Venice and driven back through the Dolomites, the Swiss Alps and France. It then went to the Le Mans Classic, from North to South of Spain and back, Le Mans and now the Le Mans Classic again with a few laps on the Le Mans racetrack then heading over the Millau viaduct to Magny Cours, Carcassonne, Pau, Pyla sur Mee, Deauville and home. I would say that’s a pretty great way to spend 10,000 miles in a wonderful car. Except for the last 1,000 miles (almost all motorway due to time restrictions) the miles have been fast, furious, high G-force corners and brilliant fun. That last word is the best summary for the Speciale - it is just fun, wonderful and unadulterated fun.

    As always though, there are points to note:

    - That n/a engine is its standout feature, when combined with laser responses and handling that makes the car feel right underneath you when you want to push.

    - But I have to confess, there were some occasions on this last trip where the urge-with-less-effort of the 488 might have been (say it quietly) quite welcome. The Speciale is not a tiring car given its brief, but you always have to ‘drive it’ and the noise on motorways can be wearing. There is an easy solution - don’t use motorways - and that has been my policy, until the last two days.

    - CT off is the way to go. For the first few thousand miles I used mainly Race mode, thinking that this is the same as CT off but with a little traction control added in. This is not correct, something you can see from the VDA display which tells you how the nannies are changed between the two settings. CT off brings the side slip control into play and makes sure the traction is only hindered by the road surface, not the software. The SSC adds security but the lack of TC gives you the most level of throttle involvement with your cornering technique and that is what this car is all about. When you are fully engaged this car justifies any sacrifices you have to make in terms of comfort (and those are quite few anyway).

    - But Sport mode has its place. Basically on the motorway or perhaps in rain. It quietens the exhaust down and smoothes out the transmission changes slightly.

    - The tyres are brilliant, they feel grippy, responsive, last well (still on the same set though probably done now) and feel really robust. That sounds a strange comment to make but they have a strong shoulder which lends a little protection to the rims and the general feel is of tremendous solidity and security on the road.

    - The handling is so responsive and rewarding. Compared with other brilliant cars it tends to score in the fun factor even when others might have more outright grip or downforce or whatever.

    - The brakes are strong and relentless, and when you meet those rare occasions and you need to push into the reserve envelope you have to leave in road driving they, as the rest of the car, are simply faithful.

    My conclusion is no surprise since many have written so many great things about the Speciale. I think this car is one of Ferrari’s sweet spots, the type of car that is just right and in future years when cars have become faster, bigger, more technical, more whatever, the Speciale’s light will not be dimmed. Like an F40, or a Dino, or any Ferrari whose performance compared with modern machines is immaterial - you just want to drive them and own them, or even just look at them. I’ve been privileged to have had 8 Ferraris, including a CS and so far, I could only say those words about the Speciale (though the CS is also very special too, just not quite as special).

    A couple of pictures from the recent trip, outside the walls of Carcassonne and on the way there, with a friend’s Speciale and eliciting a very familiar and lovely response - people love to be photographed with these cars, like most Ferraris, and we tend to get great reactions wherever we go with our ‘posse’.
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  2. Lukeylikey

    Lukeylikey Formula 3

    Mar 3, 2012
    1,186
    Missed a couple of things -

    Our car is painted in Rosso Maranello, which is quite a unique paint. It is a blood-red three-layer paint that is a mica (small spheres) rather than a metallic (flakes). It is mesmerising in the sun and very downbeat in the shade, which is nice. It is one of those paints that you can’t really photograph well but it looks like liquid in bright light. Beautiful. It cost a lot, but I have long forgotten that and I couldn’t go back and change it now if I had not ordered it. I’m glad I did because I get great enjoyment out of how our car looks.

    I fully wrapped it in PPF and despite the cost this has been essential. On long trips the car gets dirty and there is never time or the facilities to clean it properly. The PPF protects the complicated paint job and allows some latitude with your cleaning. Very useful.

    We spec’d the harnesses and I’m glad we did for the sense of occasion, but.....I won’t be putting them on the Pista. They do make the car less usable other than for the right occasions. If you’re in two minds with your own spec, I would be careful. You have to know you want them, like I did.

    I never spec’d the lift and have never regretted it, despite ferries, some vicious speed bumps and all manner of obstacles.

    With the newness of my 488 having disappeared and comparing with the 488s on our last trip, the Speciale is a better looking car. I am no 488 knocker but the Speciale’s rear curves beautifully, against the 488’s flatter rear deck. It is more voluptuous than the 488 but not quite as ‘feminine’ as the 458 Italia.
     
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  3. bobbyd

    bobbyd Formula Junior

    Nov 17, 2003
    638
    Nice summary!

    Appreciate your insight regarding CST off.
     
  4. Ced357

    Ced357 Karting

    Jul 19, 2015
    106
    Parkland FL
    Great write up. I totally agree on all points in regards to the Speciale. I really loved the car for the year I had her. I traded mine in for a 488 and after putting some miles on the 488 I really see where the Speciale shines. That car is a precision machine!! In the coming years I will be on the lookout for another Speciale as I do miss the excitement it brings.
     
  5. johnr265

    johnr265 Karting

    Jul 1, 2010
    66
    Mid-Atlantic
    Nice! Would would appreciate your thoughts on the Rosso Maranello vs Rosso Fiorano. Also, any pics of your interior? What color did you go with as the Rosso interior color doesn't quite seem to match.
     
  6. Eilig

    Eilig Formula 3

    Aug 31, 2001
    1,656
    Full Name:
    Cavallo
    Great to hear that your love affair with the Speciale continues! Mine does as well. I fell in love with that car the summer of 2014 when I rented one in Europe and spent the week driving through the Alps and on the autobahn. The car did everything I wanted it to, and in a positively superlative manner. I knew right away that I had to own one. Or in my case, it ended up being two. So many things I love about the car. But probably my favorite overall is that the harder you push the car, the more it comes alive. It's unlike any other modern sportscar I've driven in terms of the electricity you feel while driving it. For me the car will never get old. Certainly a high point in multiple ways. The fact that it is the highest compression ratio naturally-aspirated V8 car being one of them!

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  8. Shack

    Shack Formula 3
    Rossa Subscribed

    May 2, 2005
    1,406
    Australia
    Full Name:
    Jon
    This thread is awesome. Like all above my Speciale will be the one that "my kids get". Even though its been replaced by a number of its faster "brethren" and "cousins" (Italian anyway) it gives me the biggest buzz when I drive it. It was also my first ever new car and that makes it even more special. We all use ours in different ways. here's myself doing burnouts on a airfield :)

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    And in an unusual place with a few of its friends :)

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    Use and enjoy as it does not get better than the Speciale
     
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  9. italiafan

    italiafan F1 Veteran

    Jul 19, 2006
    8,985
    USA
    Full Name:
    Stickbones Swagglesmith
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  10. Eilig

    Eilig Formula 3

    Aug 31, 2001
    1,656
    Full Name:
    Cavallo
    That is absolutely outstanding! :)
     
  11. Caeruleus11

    Caeruleus11 F1 Veteran
    Rossa Subscribed

    Jun 11, 2013
    7,486
    Fantastic write up, thank you!
     
  12. Lukeylikey

    Lukeylikey Formula 3

    Mar 3, 2012
    1,186
    #11 Lukeylikey, Jul 13, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018
    Rosso Maranello is a three layer and I believe Rosso Fiorano is a two layer. They are quite similar colours but the Maranello goes a much deeper blood-red in the sunlight. I have taken a screenshot of a photo that is a good attempt at showing what I mean without being anywhere near perfect. There is also another cropped photo that shows the standard red tech fabric and black alcantara seats in the interior. They do not colour match exactly and look absolutely great. The car’s exterior and interior has some bespoke silver accents including stitching and cavalinos. If you are thinking of Rosso Maranello I can only say I get an amazing amount of compliments about it - much to my wife’s pleasure because she chose it. It makes a special car even more special, at least to me.

    The second photo - the one showing the wetness and deep blood-redness of the colour is completely untouched with any editor.
     

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