Ferrari! What an amazing machine! Founded by Enzo Ferrari in 1929, and still going strong. Ferrari S.p.A based in Maranello, Italy, since 1947, builds some of the fastest road cars in the world today. Initially Enzo Ferrari was not interested in producing street-legal vehicles, only racing cars. Throughout its history, it has been recognised for this continued participation in racing, Scuderia Ferrari in Formula One. Today this exquisite car is generally seen as a symbol of luxury and wealth and the Italians have got that oh so right! Expertise in high-performance, speed, fine tuning, body work, details, finish and power!
I was invited to a lunch on the Opstal Wine Estate just outside Cape Town; little did I know I would be driving out to the farm in a F430 Ferrari, called Isabella. ‘Bella’ (beautiful) is just that! I was even more surprised to see another 16 Ferraris – all members of SEFAC (South Equitorial Ferrari Automobili Club) – who were also doing the drive to the wine estate.
The euphoric sound of seventeen engines firing up as we left Cape Town in convoy was very exciting. Heading in the direction of Stellenbosh on the N1 we by-passed Franschoek and carried on north towards Wellington. Before passing through the Huguenot Tunnel, all seventeen Ferraris regrouped to capture the sound of these magnificent Ferraris in the tunnel. It was extraordinary!
Sitting comfortably in my bucket-seat of the F430, I could sense the anticipation of the engine, like a restless colt on the starting block. Then, at the slightest touch of the accelerator she’s off! Exciting and powerful the Ferrari goes from a high speed to almost a standstill in seconds. There is a moment that I love; it’s the sound of the air combustion escaping as she drops down a gear, brrrr da duffff! Steadfast in control and simply the best! Let’s face it, Italians build cars with passion, it’s in their blood. They love life, women, food and, of course, cars!
I would like to touch for a moment on the history about the Ferrari logo. It speaks volumes. The famous symbol of the Ferrari racing team division is, the Cavallino Rampante (“prancing horse”) on a yellow shield, with the letters S F (for Scuderia Ferrari). The history is fascinating.
On the 17th of June 1923, Enzo Ferrari won a race in Ravenna where he met the Countess Paolina. Her son, Count Francesco Baracca, an Italian Air pilot and hero of World War 1, used to paint a horse on the side of his plane. In fact, the original “prancing horse” on Baracca’s airplane was painted in red on white. The Countess suggested that for luck Enzo should also use the horse motif on his cars. Enzo agreed with the Countess but chose to have the horse painted in black as a sign of grief and respect to Baracca’s squadron planes. Enzo added a canary yellow in the background because this is the colour of the city of Modena, where Enzo was born.
Ferrari has used the cavallino rampante on official company stationery since 1929. The most noticeable difference from the original Baracca version of the painted horse on his plane was that the tail pointed downwards, Ferrari decided to have the tail displayed upwards.
After my experience in the magnificent F430 with an expert driver and a passionate lover of Ferrari, I am now a converted lover of such. I have never in all my life felt so safe in a super car. Bravi Ferrari bravi! Your horse power is a winner!
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Cape Town 8001
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P.S. December 2012 I was at home in Bologna, so we decided to visit the Ferrari museum in Modena. I have included some of these nostalgic photographs as part of my reportage.