Tag Archives: Ferrari

Ferrari Celebrates 70 Years: An Interview with Dieter Knechtel, CEO Ferrari Far East Hub

As Ferrari celebrates the 70th anniversary of the “Prancing Horse”, Luxuo was among the selected media invited to Ferrari Singapore’s corporate headquarters to talk to Dieter Knechtel, CEO of Ferrari Far East Hub to discuss the challenges of growing a luxury business amidst soft global markets, catering to the affluent and the overall direction of the world’s market leader of high performance sports cars.

An Interview with Dieter Knechtel, CEO Ferrari Far East Hub

Kicking off Ferrari’s 70th anniversary was a Ferrari tailor-made project at last year’s motor-show where designers of Centro Stile put a modern twist on the stylistic features and elements that distinguished 70 of the most beautiful Ferraris in history and in so doing have created 70 unique “design”. 350 cars were proposed in total, that is to say 70 different liveries x 5 models; each created just the once for every car in the current range, blend the past with the future.

Exterior in Rosso Ferrari 53, a dark solid red inspired by the first Ferrari ever built. Number "56" on the door. Livery around the front grille.

Exterior in Rosso Ferrari 53, a dark solid red inspired by the first Ferrari ever built. Number “56” on the door. Livery around the front grille.

The 125 S was the very first official racing sports car built by Enzo Ferrari and his team in 1947. It made its début on May 11 at the Piacenza racing circuit. With its bold red exterior and elegant silhouette, this model has become a true icon.

The 125 S was the very first official racing sports car built by Enzo Ferrari and his team in 1947. It made its début on May 11 at the Piacenza racing circuit. With its bold red exterior and elegant silhouette, this model has become a true icon.

According to Knechtel, his colleagues were skeptical that they could find the customers to buy those cars but in the end, the cars were sold out during the summer of 2016, between the end of June and the middle of August. Such is the fervour for Ferrari sports cars that Luxuo was dying to uncover how the Prancing Pony is little impacted by the slow down unlike the rest of the luxury industry.

Jonathan Ho for Luxuo: It’s always interesting to talk to C-suite executives when markets are a little uncertain, almost everyone has an unique perspective on the situation.

Dieter Knechtel, CEO Ferrari Far East Hub: We are a little bit different in that Ferrari can operate in pretty much any economic environment. Based on some marketing studies which project till 2025, I can tell you that the number of wealthy people are still growing.

People say that the Singapore economy is flat and slowing with GDP growth hovering around 1.9% but that is normal for a developed economy. Yet, the number of high net worth individuals will continue to grow over the next 10 years and this is a development which won’t stop. This is where we see the potential.

Exterior in Rosso Mugello. Thin silver line at the bottom of the windows and windshield. Chromed grilles and ball polished rims.

Exterior in Rosso Mugello. Thin silver line at the bottom of the windows and windshield. Chromed grilles and ball polished rims.

The 212 Inter Vignale cabriolet (1951) is admired for its sheer beauty and flair. Indeed it was awarded second place in the Ferrari Grand Touring class at Pebble Beach in 2014.

The 212 Inter Vignale cabriolet (1951) is admired for its sheer beauty and flair. Indeed it was awarded second place in the Ferrari Grand Touring class at Pebble Beach in 2014.

What about in context with the rest of East Asia?

We see this growing affluence in Asean but really we see this everywhere even in Japan and Australia. Philippines and Vietnam are going strong, Thailand is softer at the moment but Ferrari is not dependent on GDP growth per se but rather the potential size of the segment. For example, in Thailand we have 340% luxury tax but its the market where we sell the most cars in Asean so we do not depend on GDP or tax factors but really on how we work with our partners and distributors and how solid the processes are implemented, how they are representing the brand which makes more of an impact than the environment because our products are highly attractive.

There’s a consistency in what we do and there’s a value in staying true all the time and the clients can see it. From the product point of view we have everything we need and now it’s up to how we do the work. The key point is that there are many potential customers; and some high net worth individuals have never considered why they might need a sports car and we have to develop this desire. This desire is usually cultivated with dynamic presentation of the car – touch, feel and personalised effort with someone who had never previously thought about buying one. We have many customers visiting Marenello for an unrelated reason but after we take them to the track to experience a car, they always end up wanting one.

Ferrari Maranello, the factory where all visitors inevitably fall in love with Ferrari.

Ferrari Maranello, the factory where all visitors inevitably fall in love with Ferrari.

Let’s start off with something which hangs over the head of every car enthusiast in Singapore. A while ago, Hong Seh Motors, former Singapore distributors for Maserati had a letter which went viral on social media. In it, they posited that government taxes like COE, ARF, GST, CEV, etc, essentially triples the cost on a $100k Ghibli. Citing rental and difficult markets, they have elected to relinquish distributorship, do you feel your partner Ital Auto feels similar pressures?

This is the same situation for Ferrari, they cost three times here than they do for Europe. €230,000 times three becomes €690,000 here and plus options, it’s almost close to a million euros and I think this is something we have to live with and have proven that we can live with.

We have been growing for the last 20 years even when they introduced higher and higher taxes. It is still possible to do business here at a reasonable level and Ital Auto is a very strong partner and have been doing a very good job over the past years.

They dare step into Maserati in SIngapore because they know what they are doing and they can see the potential plus, they have a lot of experience with the brand as the biggest dealer for Maserati in the world through Shanghai. They know the game, understand the context, I don’t see any worry or pressure, it’s about doing a good job and being of service to the customer, it’s not about selling more cars, it’s important to sell cars but it is more important to do the right thing with the brand.

 

High key events like Singapore RendezVous allow an opportunity for the Ferrari Owners Club Singapore to get together and share their passion with like minded individuals

High key events like Singapore RendezVous allow an opportunity for the Ferrari Owners Club Singapore to get together and share their passion with like minded individuals

When you say doing a good job for the customer, does this imply that Ferrari being arguably a more recognisable marquee that you don’t really need to work on the branding anymore because all you need is to properly service the customers that walk in based on sheer demand?

We still have to work on the branding even though it’s very well recognised and reputable. We don’t do any advertisements and we use racing and Formula 1 as our communications platform. Though We don’t need to build up the brand anymore, we need to over-fulfil our brand promise.

When it comes to Ferrari, this brand experience is very much related to the ownership experience: It’s about driving and the experience of the car while doing it in a community of like-minded people. This is why, we organise track days and tours in Italy with road tours in different countries, we can organise almost any experience with the car- What we offer to our customers is often a “money can’t buy” experience.

Ferrari Owners Club Singapore organises their own get-togethers independent of Ital Auto or Ferrari, it's a strong community

Ferrari Owners Club Singapore organises their own get-togethers independent of Ital Auto or Ferrari, it’s a strong community

Between the clients, there’s a lot of communication because there’s mutual understanding of successful, globally minded, life-loving, taste-masters. I think this sort of ownership experience is a big part of our job. Singapore Ferrari owners-club is a great community.

When it comes to reaching out to new prospects, we have to execute a different sort of effort and that means finding possibilities to excite prospects with our products and letting them experience how great it is to drive a Ferrari. Sometimes the mindset just isn’t there yet because it’s a high tech fast car, we have address some concerns, notably that a high performance sports car might be difficult to drive or unsafe to use on a daily basis but once you drive a Ferrari you will begin to see how easy it is and how you are much in control of everything because all the technological systems support you. Additionally, we instruct them on how to handle it and it inspires a lot of people.

Dashboard view of the royal blue 500 Mondial Pinin Farina spider (1954), one of only 14 open-top models of this series built by Pinin Farina. Onboard computers weren't a "thing" yet.

Dashboard view of the royal blue 500 Mondial Pinin Farina spider (1954), one of only 14 open-top models of this series built by Pinin Farina. Onboard computers weren’t a “thing” yet.

 

Do you feel this technology is double edged in that many car enthusiasts prefer that the onboard computer doesn’t handle so much of the driving experience?

At Ferrari, the computer essentially monitors speed and has algorithms to avoid risk or potential unsafe actions. Stability programs also allow for different levels of driving experience and that is selected through user selected toggles, adjusted for environment and driving style, so owners can have fun with the car. At the same time, passive safety is very important and we developed many things which contribute to safety of the passenger in extreme situations. Dynamic vehicle controls come with a corresponding improvements in safety so that everything can be safe for driver and passenger.

For Ferrari's 70th anniversary, the Blu Electtrico may bear the number "235" like the 1954 model but the dashboard is vastly different thanks to high tech displays and dynamic control systems which ensure smoother control for even the unaccustomed.

For Ferrari’s 70th anniversary, the Blu Electtrico may bear the number “235” like the 1954 model but the dashboard is vastly different thanks to high tech displays and dynamic control systems which ensure smoother control for even the unaccustomed.

Some Maseratis share a powertrain with Ferrari (in that they are built at the Ferrari factory in Marenello), does this arrangement with Ital Auto puts both brands on a collision course especially with joint history from before?

The V6 and V8 engine of Maserati are produced by Ferrari. We don’t have V6, that’s exclusive for Maserati, the V8 which Maserati uses is a variant of the one we use at Ferrari. There are modifications to the engine which changes the characteristics for Maserati, so while it may be the same basic product, it’s a different experience.

To put this in context, having sat in a Rolls Royce and in a Maybach, sometimes the luxury experience is too similar so now that Ital Auto will carry both Maserati and Ferrari, how will you differentiate yours? 

I don’t think the experience is too similar. I believe that we have a totally different strategy. Maserati is going into volume while we are staying exclusive. A Ferrari is an unique experience and it’s a personal piece of art plus we are at a different price point and performance point of view, there’s a world of difference. We are not competing with Maserati at all.

Historically, Maseratis were marketed alongside Ferraris in the network, in China, it’s basically every dealer. In Singapore, it’s going to be a mono-brand set up which means even the management teams and processes are different and quite likely the customers are different as well.

I guess what I really want to ask is that do you specially make Ferrari’s V8 engines sound vastly different?

Yes. [laughs] That’s the ultimate question! Every brand should have it’s own sound and at Ferrari we have ours. Every manufacture tries to produce the authentic sound of the brand.

Ferraris are designed to last but Singapore COE usually means we evaluate whether it is more worthwhile to get a new model every 10 years, is this something which you take into account when you have to determine what models Ferrari Singapore gets allocated?

We don’t determine allocation, we leave that totally to the markets and customer demands. We don’t have a specific strategy related to the 10 year expiry of a COE. What we are really concerned with is the market for pre-owned cars, it is my wish to take care of pre-owned Ferraris because I’d much rather keep it even the Ferrari official network and sell it again. This is great for pre-owned values but we also feel the responsibility for every car so the more we can take care off, the better.

When it comes to allocation, we produce cars made to order, we don’t produce cars on stock. Allocation depends on how many customers we find.

[Editor’s note: Ferrari Singapore manages their own pre-owned division through Ital Auto from 2 years ago]

There’s no doubt that Ferraris are well engineered, with your Porsche background, do you feel Italian supercar manufacturers can learn something from the Germans?

[Laughs] I think both brands are very highly respected in the industry. I think both brands can learn from each other, one is watching the other in terms of systems and processes and I think this is very healthy situation which spurs competition for both brands.

Italian brands are full of emotions. German engineering is clinical but both brands are excellent players in the industry. We can learn from each other but neither Porsche nor Ferrari will leave its path of uniqueness and heritage.

Dieter Knechtel, CEO of Ferrari Far East Hub

Dieter Knechtel, CEO of Ferrari Far East Hub

 

As CEO of the Ferrari Far East Hub, do the markets differ very widely from one country to another? 

In Asean, Thailand is good because of stability which sounds odd because the military is in power, but it’s exactly the reason so it’s a very welcoming environment for wealthy people to buy. Malaysia has suffered quite a bit because a primary resource issue with China, prices of palm oil have come down, other reasons are political – both markets have bottomed out and are coming up again. In Indonesia we have a very strong customer base. People with Ferraris usually buy tailor-made 12 cylinder limited editions. We don’t large numbers of Indonesian customers but each customer has an average of 3 Ferraris – A small crowd of very strong customers.

In your opinion, why does a brand like Aston Martin struggle even with the weight of James Bond behind it?

[Sighs] I think the point is that if you want to be successful all the time, you have to be consistent in what you do, that is what made Ferrari so strong because we have a system of product development and strategy we makes us strong while other brands struggle to put together something consistently.

Poltrona Frau bespeaks interiors for Ferrari and recently, the Poltrona Frau Cockpit was a concept developed by Ferrari for Poltrona Frau. Looks like you can enjoy Ferrari Frau inside and out.

Poltrona Frau bespeaks interiors for Ferrari and recently, the Poltrona Frau Cockpit was a concept developed by Ferrari for Poltrona Frau. Looks like you can enjoy Ferrari Frau inside and out.

This question is half serious: You mention that Indonesia is one of your strongest markets and Poltrona Frau has a relationship with Ferrari to do custom interiors, does this relationship exist because Indonesia has so many traffic jams that if you’re going to be stuck in a Ferrari, it should be a really comfortable one?

[Laughs] As far as I know, the Indonesian clientele appreciates the personal treatment in the whole process of deciding what to buy: from how they are received and how they are informed, they have the interest in having the best and then someone needs to inspire them about what is the best.

Tailor-Made is a time consuming business so there it comes down to personal effort. People who are willing to pay whatever to have the best, most unique piece of art, then they need to have a good consultant explaining to them what is possible and then bringing them to Marenello to see the different options. We have different levels of customisation and we have a good number of Indonesian clients working with the design department to create a unique car which will take 3 to 4 years to deliver. I don’t think traffic has so much to do with that but the culture.

I guess what surprised me was that when I reached out to the Singapore Poltrona Frau, distributor he expressed that there was very little interest in customising a car’s interior.

In Singapore, our customers have the sensation that when they buy a car, they have already spent a lot and they don’t want to over stretch it while in Indonesia, it doesn’t matter so much.

Is it a zero-sum game when it comes to competition with Lamborghini?

By experience, very few customers have both. That said, we believe the typical Ferrari customer is very different from a Lamborghini customer. Ferrari still has the strongest product which is confirmed by the fact that we are the clear market leader by far.

What about when it comes to Tesla?

No, I dont believe our customers are into electric cars.

Would Ferrari even consider looking into one?

Full electric, for sure no. But electrification is definitely coming in a form of a hybrid.

No full electric car because it is a brand philosophy?

It’s a brand philosophy and I don’t believe there is a market for us because our customers want a real Ferrari and we don’t foresee a true Ferrari being an electric car.

You don’t forsee an oil and gas free future?

We see some signs. I believe there are initiatives in France now to be free of gasoline engines An oil and gas free future might come but it will take a long time but I still think there’s some time to decide what we will do and what we have to do. We want to be loyal to our values and stick to our DNA.

Classic French cars sold at Sotheby’s Villa Erba auction in Lake Como, Italy

This Talbot-Lago T150-C SS “Goutte d’Eau” Coupé by Figoni & Falaschi sold for €3.36 million at the RM Sotherby’s Villa Erba auction.

In the sumptuous setting of the shores of Lake Como, some 40 classic cars went under the hammer at the RM Sotheby’s auction. Of all the lots, two French classic cars stood out from the crowd.

A sensational Talbot-Lago T150-C SS “Goutte d’Eau” Coupé by Figoni & Falaschi sold for €3.36 million. This entirely restored “Teardrop” coupé is one of only two examples of the striking “Goutte d’Eau” built by Figoni & Falaschi with fully enclosed front fenders. Another big hitter at the sale was a 1935 Bugatti Type 57 Atalante Prototype, which sold for €3.024 million.

In third place came a 1993 Porsche 911 Carrera RSR 3.8, which sold for €2.016 million. Three Ferraris also broke the million mark: a 275 GTS by Pininfarina dating from 1965 (€1.792 million), a 1964 250 GT/L Berlinetta Lusso by Scaglietti (€1.428 million) and a 1990 F40 (€1.064 million).

Note that several vehicles listed in the auction remain unsold, including a 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680 S Torpedo-Sport Avant-Garde by Saoutchik, which could have been the star of the sale (estimated at €6.5-€8 million), as well as some much more recent vehicles, like a 2016 McLaren P1 GTR (estimated at €3.2 to €3.6 million) and a 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari (€2.75 to €3.2 million).

Novitec introduces new customised V8 Ferrari called N-Largo

Novitec N-Largo

German tuning firm Novitec, renowned for its wide-body customizations has stretched the latest V8 Ferrari in terms of size and performance. The company plans to build just 22 examples of what it’s calling the N-Largo—11 in coupé form and a further 11 as droptop spiders. But both versions will come with the same customary widened stance, made-to-measure body kit and a major increase in horsepower.

The N-Largo outputs a massive 772hp, compared with the 670hp that the standard 488 delivers, plus 892Nm (132Nm more) of torque. Together they give the car a 0-100km/h time of 2.8 seconds and a top speed of 342km/h—that’s a 14km/h upgrade.

The global aftermarket tuning and automotive customization industry is one of the reasons Ferrari held out so long before finally calling time on naturally aspirated V8s in favor of turbocharging as a means of maintaining performance while increasing fuel economy.

With turbos already fitted to the engine, turning power up to 11 becomes a comparatively straightforward process. However, for every increase in horsepower, there needs to be an equal increase in air flow, engine cooling, braking or aerodynamic stability, something that a number of companies will overlook.

Thankfully, Novitec isn’t one of them. It has ensured that there is a greater, freer flow of air to the engine bay and the brakes to ensure this extra power delivers extra fun rather than reduced reliability. It’s also why it’s added a new exhaust system and dropped the car’s ride height.

But the best feature is that this boost in performance can be turned off or on via the steering wheel-mounted Manettino switch, further reducing any unnecessary strain on the engine when simply cruising or driving around town for example.

This nod to practicality and protection is also why the car comes with a hydraulic lift kit, to ensure those larger front and rear spoilers don’t clip curbs or get caught on things like speed bumps.

Unfortunately, there is no horizontal equivalent that can pull the car’s sides in on narrower roads; because with the larger front and rear track and carbon fiber body, the N-Largo is 2.09 meters from side to side, in other words, it’s wider than a Range Rover.

Vending machine for luxury cars in Singapore: Car dealer Autobahn Motors has a unique way of displaying posh automobiles

Reminiscent of a hot wheels pack, this unique building in Singapore is turning heads all around the world. The vending machine-like tower that dispenses luxury cars to well-heeled buyers is the latest space-saving innovation in land-starved Singapore—just don’t try to shake it if it gets stuck. This brainchild of Autobahn Motors (ABM) houses more than 70 of the company’s million dollar wares.

Used luxury car dealer and owner of ABM Gary Hong has taken to displaying his wares in a glass-fronted, 15-storey building. Costing SGD$3 million to build, Hong, 45, said he got the inspiration for the new showroom during a trip with his four-year-son to buy toy cars. Like choosing a chocolate bar, the buyer can see everything on display, before pressing some buttons and having their choice delivered.

“From there I realised that the Matchbox arrangement is a mini version of our inventories that can be displayed and arranged nicely,” he told AFP.

From the comfort of a plush sofa on the ground floor, potential buyers can order a Ferrari, Maserati or Lamborghini among other brands, all with the touch of a hand-held device. Once a selection is made, a promotional video of that car is played on a flat-screen television while the vehicle is automatically transported down by a lift.

“When the customers see a car that is presented in a best way like a beauty pageant, they just decide that this is a winner, and we got a deal,” said Hong, who added that sales have risen by 30 percent since the move to the new premises in December.

The extremely smart design not only creates an interesting pull towards customers looking for a new ride, but also tackles the problem of land scarcity in the little red dot. With a population density ranked by the World Bank to be third highest in the world, behind Macau and Monaco, land comes at a premium in the tiny city-state.

The company stores between 70-80 cars at its facility—an amount that would otherwise require five times the space if the vehicles are parked traditionally. A similar car vending concept currently exists in the United States, through online auto retailer Carvana, which was last reported by US media to have five such facilities around the country as of April.

Mille Miglia 90th anniversary, Italy: Fans celebrate with classic car race from Brescia to Rome and back

From Brescia to Rome and back again, automotive fans will be out in force to mark the 90th anniversary of the Mille Miglia, when the classic car race gets underway on May 18. Every year, the race is oversubscribed — over 700 cars registered for the 90th-anniversary event — and that number is whittled down to the crème de la crème by a panel of renowned judges, to ensure that the 440 cars that will be racing are truly breathtaking automotive examples.

Of those 440 pre-1957 cars, 92 will be priceless cars that actually raced in the original endurance event between 1927 and 1957 before it was struck from the World Sports Car Championship calendar because of its danger to drivers, cars and spectators. For example, among the 10 museum pieces, Mercedes will be bringing are a 1928 SSK; the actual 300SL that raced in the 1952 event (important in Mercedes’s history as the first event it competed in following the Second World War); eight 300SL Gullwing models; a 190SL; and a 1954 220a.

However, when it comes to classic competition cars, Italian marques will be in a league of their own. Some 14 Fiats that completed the original course will be undertaking the 1000-mile round trip this year, as will 12 Alfa Romeos, four Zagato-built cars, two Maseratis, and four Ferraris.

This year’s event will be of even greater significance for the Prancing Horse. A Ferrari won the last official Mille Miglia in 1957 and the marque has chosen this year’s event as part of its own 70th-anniversary celebrations. It will be allowing Ferrari owners whose cars were built after 1957 to compete in a “tribute” alongside the official race for the small fee of €8,500.

Once one of the highlights of the World Sports Car Championship and truly a measure of both a car and a driver’s true endurance and capabilities, the 1000-mile street course that takes in incredible scenery, twisty mountain roads from one end of Italy to another is considered by many as the birthplace of the GT car and the race that first put marques like Alfa Romeo, Porsche, Maserati, Mercedes and Aston Martin in the public consciousness.

The 90th Mille Miglia will officially start at 2 pm CET on Thursday, May 18 and will start in Brescia, taking in Padova, San Marino and Perugia before turning around in Rome and heading back to the starting point via Siena, Modena and Parma.

The Norwegian Joy features the inaugural Ferrari-branded racetrack at sea. Image courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

The “Norwegian Joy” cruise ship docked in Shanghai features 2-story Ferrari-branded racetrack

The Norwegian Joy features the inaugural Ferrari-branded racetrack at sea. Image courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

The Norwegian Joy features the inaugural Ferrari-branded racetrack at sea. Image courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

A luxury cruise ship destined specifically for the Chinese market will feature the industry’s first Ferrari-branded racetrack at sea.

When the Norwegian Joy lifts anchor for the first time this summer, the ship will introduce a two-level race car track on the top deck, where up to 10 guests will be able to take a spin in electric go-carts at a time.

The Norwegian Joy. Image courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

The Norwegian Joy. Image courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

It’s the latest over-the-top feature to make its debut in the ever-competitive cruise market, which is constantly tripping over itself to debut activities like indoor skydiving, surf water parks, robot bartenders and flying trapeze lessons at sea.

While the racetrack may be a first in the industry, Royal Caribbean debuted bumper cars on its ship Quantum of the Seas in 2014. The bumper car ring also doubles as a skating rink.

The Norwegian Joy can accommodate 3,850 passengers and is Norwegian’s first purpose-built ship for the Chinese market. The ship will home port in Shanghai and Tianjin and make its maiden voyage this summer.

Pitched as a first-class experience at sea, other features include casinos, open-air laser tag course, simulator thrill rides, hover craft bumper cars, multi-story water slides, open space park, and Norwegian’s largest upscale shopping district with luxury brands.

The ship will be christened June 27.

Luxury car auctions: Trump-owned Ferrari F430 F1 Coupe sold for record US$270k

A Ferrari F430. Image from Ferrari Website

A Ferrari F430. Image from Ferrari Website

If, like us, you were wondering whether Ferrari F430 F1 Coupe first owned by POTUS would sell, then allow us to clear things up for you: the answer is yes. In fact, someone also bought Donald Trump‘s other car, his childhood home, and a whisky bottle signed by him earlier this year. His name does sell.

Just in case you were hoping for a political angle to this article, there isn’t, really. Now, as you should know, Ferraris are not as popular on the collectable car market. The Ferrari first owned by Trump (the car had just two owners) sold at Fort Lauderdale Convention Centre in Florida last Saturday for nearly twice the model’s usual price at an auction.

So: Ferrari F430 owned by someone else gets US$125,000 to US$175,000; Ferrari F430 first owned by Trump gets US$270,000.

What can we say? According to Bloomberg, Trump’s old Cadillac limousine went to a new owner for four to seven times the price of others of its type in March, and POTUS’ Lamborghini Diablo fetched 75 percent more than average in September last year.

As we mentioned, it’s not just the cars. Whisky bottle signed by Trump? Sold for double the estimate price in January, and for more than other alcohol linked to current POTUS. Trump’s childhood home at Queens, New York? Sold, to Michael Davis last December, who put it up on the market months later at 54% more than he bought it for.

Next, a Trump-signed notebook or something might go for a million. Let’s keep our eyes peeled.

We would like to thank AFP Relaxnews, Washington Post, Bloomberg, BBC, and Fortune for information on Trump’s past car (and bottle and childhood home) auctions reflected in this article.

Classic car collectors in 2017 favour modern Porsches and McLarens at Amelia Island

A 1964 Porsche 901 Cabriolet Prototype surrounded by other Porsches | © Christopher Head

A 1964 Porsche 901 Cabriolet Prototype surrounded by other Porsches at the RM Sotheby’s Paris 2017 sale at Place Vauban in February this year. | © Christopher Head

At Amelia Island, concours-condition collectible cars were paraded and auction prices for modern classic cars were further adjusted. Collectors showed that they could well be falling out of love with 1960s Ferraris in favour of modern Porsches and even McLarens.

RM Sotheby’s auction of 150 lots ranging from vintage Bugattis to modern Bentleys generated $70.9 million in sales.

“Not only was it our best ever Amelia Island performance, but the highest tally in Amelia Island auction history,” said Gord Duff, Auction Manager, RM Sotheby’s. “The calibre of entries our team secured for this year’s event was second-to-none.” The star of its show was a 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Cabriolet that went under the hammer for $7.7 million.

And, even though some 19 cars in total managed to attract winning bids in excess of $1 million, a host of vehicles that were expected to send the room into a frenzy failed to meet their estimate, including two Ferraris a 1961 250GT SWB ($9-$10million) and a 1950 166 MM Barchetta by Touring (pre-sale estimate of $8-$10 million).

All of which suggests that interest in the bluest of blue-chip Ferraris is on the wane, or at least that everyone with the interest and money to invest in such a machine already has one in his or her collection. As a result premium collectors are looking to other Italian marques mid-1960s Alfa Romeos, Lancias and Maseratis all performed well at all Amelia Island auctions this year — or they’re looking to ‘modern classics’ or essentially new cars with extremely limited production runs.

For example, a 1995 Ferrari F50 once owned by boxer Mike Tyson secured a $2.64 million winning bid making it the second most expensive car sold by RM Sotheby’s; and a 2012 Bugatti Veyron fetched $1.65 million and a 1974 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 3.0 went for $1.375 million.

At the Gooding & Co Ameila island auction, a 2012 McLaren P1 fetched a never-before achieved $2.392 million but the cars in the biggest demand were of the Porsche variety.

A row of Porsches at the RM Sotheby's Paris 2017 sale at Place Vauban in February this year. | © Christopher Head

A row of Porsches at the RM Sotheby’s Paris 2017 sale at Place Vauban in February this year. | © Christopher Head

The star of its sale of more than $30 million was a 1998 Porsche 911 GT1 Strassenversion which went for a phenomenal $5.665 million.

“We achieved strong results for a number of exceptional cars, especially from the Porsche marque, exemplified by the world record price achieved for the GT1 Strassenversion,” said Gooding & Company president David Gooding. “In spite of the 13 world record prices set, we are definitely seeing a market shift, which is healthy for the marketplace as a whole.”

The sale also set new records for the 964-generation Porsche 911 with a Turbo S Leichtbau ($1.54 million),  the 2011 997 GT3 RS 4.0 ($748,000), and the 2011 Porsche 997 GT2 RS ($561,000).

And while the trend for Porsches seems to be getting into full swing, attention is also shifting to other marques with a track connection. There is a surge of interest in late 1940s to mid-1960s Aston Martins, the Jaguar E-Type is continuing to get strong prices and the Amelia Island auctions also set a record for Mazda. A 1989 Mazda 767B that raced at Le Mans fetched $1.75 million.

The next major classic car auction will be on the banks of Lake Como during the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este on May 27 before the season reaches its zenith with Monterey motoring week and the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance this August.

Luxury car auction in 2017: Ferrari F430 once owned by Donald Trump to be sold

A 2011 Ferrari 599 GTO. The car that Donald Trump will be auctioning is a Ferrari F430. | © Christopher Head

A 2011 Ferrari 599 GTO. The car that Donald Trump will be auctioning is a Ferrari F430. | © Christopher Head

A 196mph 2007 Ferrari F430 supercar would be a dream car for most enthusiasts but what if the first owner was the current president of the United States? Over the four-year period he owned the car, Donald Trump clocked up just 2,400 miles. Now it is to be sold by the current owner at auction in Fort Lauderdale, Florida at the end of March.

The supercar is expected to achieve a price higher than for an average F430 because President Trump’s name is on the title document. Had Trump not sold the car in 2011, he would not be allowed to drive it now anyway. The American secret service do not approve of their Commander-in-Chief taking the wheel for obvious security and safety reasons.

The same rule applies to the Vice-President. Former VP Joe Biden was also forbidden the car keys although he was permitted to drive his beloved 1967 Chevrolet Corvette on closed roads for a television show.

Over time, former businessman Donald Trump was able to amass a personal fleet of vehicles and included in the list of cars he can no longer pilot are his 2003 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, a jointly developed Grand Tourer; a 1956 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud (one of the first cars Trump ever owned); a 2011 Chevrolet Camaro Indy 500 Pace Car; and a 24-Karat Gold Orange County Chopper.

It will be interesting to see if the POTUS connection will enhance the vehicle’s value. The auction of this vehicle, estimated to fetch between $250,000 and $300,000, does present both car fans and presidential history enthusiasts with a unique opportunity to own a Ferrari F430 once driven by a president.

This is not the first time a car connected to President Trump has turned up for sale. An opportunity to purchase both a piece of history and a potential investment occurs on March 19 by Bonham’s at Goodwood in England.

The Cadillac limousine was built in 1988 by Cadillac in conjunction with Donald Trump and purchased by him for a family member. It arrived in the UK in 1991. There were plans to produce 50 of the ‘Cadillac Trump’, but only two were ever actually built.

Car collectors like some added value and celebrity vehicles are possibly the most sought after. To see a personal vehicle owned by one of the most powerful men in the world on sale is extremely rare. It is a larger-than-life opportunity to buy a car previously owned by a larger-than-life politician. The vehicle will be sold without reserve and the auction house estimate is between £10,000 – £12,000 (€11,000-15,000 / $12,250 – $14600). However, because of the presidential connection it is thought the final price could reach £50,000!

Meanwhile the Ferrari is being sold by Auctions America in Fort Lauderdale, Florida during its March 31 to April 2 sale.

There are 70 years between this Ferrari 125 S and the LaFerrari Aperta. | © Ferrari

Italian supercar brands: Ferrari celebrates 70 years with ‘first real’ model 125 S

There are 70 years between this Ferrari 125 S and the LaFerrari Aperta. | © Ferrari

There are 70 years between this Ferrari 125 S and the LaFerrari Aperta. | © Ferrari

On March 12, 1947, Italian motor racing team Scuderia Ferrari which previously raced Alfa Romeo cars presented its first in-house creation. The 125 S, was presented in the courtyard of its factory in Maranello, Italy. The 125 S was the first in a long line of sports cars, both for the road and for competition, which shaped the carmaker‘s legendary status.

The 125 S was directly inspired by the AAC 815, a car that Enzo Ferrari designed and built in 1940 under his brand of the time, Auto Avio Costruzioni. In fact, certain purists consider this to be the first real Ferrari. The mythical Maranello factory saw the light of day 1942 and five years later the first Ferrari-branded cars rolled off the production line. The Ferrari 125 S, with a 118Hp V12 engine, made its competition debut in 1947. Its first wins started a long list of prizes and achievements for the car maker. In 1947, Ferrari presented its first grand touring (GT) model, the 166, a sporty car with sleek lines. Around a hundred cars were built across the various 116 models (Sport, Inter and MM).

Like all Ferraris, the hoods of these early cars were adorned with a small black horse rearing up on its hind legs against a yellow background. The Italian brand‘s famous badge has been used on all the firm’s models, whether road cars or competition cars. It pays homage to the aviator Francesco Baracca, a First World War Italian Air Force ace, killed in 1918, to whom Enzo Ferrari was particularly close, and who used to paint a horse on the side of his planes. Scuderia Ferrari first started using the “prancing horse” logo in 1931 on Alfa Romeo cars that the team was racing at the time.

A Ferrari 166 MM Barchetta, pictured here in Daytona in 2016. | © Ferrari

A Ferrari 166 MM Barchetta, pictured here in Daytona in 2016. | © Ferrari

Ferrari’s glory was evidently built on the race course and is intrinsically linked with the history of Formula 1. Scuderia Ferrari is the only team to have participated in all editions of the Formula One World Championship since its creation in 1950, while also holding the most constructors’ championships and the highest number of winning drivers. Ferrari also competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, from 1949 with the Ferrari 166 MM, and all other endurance classics until the 1970s.

Its racing success and the high-quality finish of its GT models soon gained international renown for Ferrari. In 70 years, the Italian carmaker has released some of the most stunning grand touring cars in history, from the Ferrari 250 series and the F40 to the Dino 246 in its various versions, the Testarossa and the more recent LaFerrari hybrid. These models today sell for eye-watering prices at auction. In 2016, a 1957 Ferrari 335 S fetched €32.1 million at a Paris auction a new world record.

Bespoke luxury cars in 2017: Ferrari celebrates 7 decades with 70 customised models

Following the announcement that the striking 812 Superfast will debut at the Geneva Motor Show, Ferrari in its 70th year have revealed 70 exclusive one-off liveries for the current range. The inspiration comes from extraordinary models such as the 375 MM Pinin Farina Berlinetta that Roberto Rossellini ordered for Ingrid Bergman. It really doesn’t get more glamorous than that.

Project Ferrari Tailor-Made allows clients to make their personalization choices on site in Maranello, Italy where they are flanked by a personal designer who will assist them in creating their bespoke Ferrari right down to the tiniest detail. This will encompass everything from livery colors to cabin trims, finishes and accessories of which there is an unprecedented selection of materials, treatments and hues.

Putting a modern twist on the stylistic features and elements that distinguished 70 of the most beautiful cars in history, clients can choose from 70 exclusive liveries that can be created just once for any car ordered from the current range. Blend the past with the future to create the Ferrari icons of tomorrow as the following 7 examples show.

The 212 Inter Vignale coupé was one of only 34 to have been built by designer Alfredo Vignale (1952). With its ivory exterior and taupe livery, it is a truly striking car. The 375 MM Pinin Farina Berlinetta from 1954 was the one-off model originally commissioned by film director Roberto Rossellini for the illustrious actress Ingrid Bergman. This is the car that gave Ferrari’s iconic color Grigio Ingrid its name.

Legendary British racer Sir Stirling Moss drove his 250 GT Berlinetta SWB to victory three times, including in the 1961 Tourist Trophy. In striking blue with a horizontal racing stripe and classic white roundels on the doors, this model really stands out. Moving forward through the years, with iconic racing lines the 1964 250 LM is finished in classic red with a white central stripe. This Ferrari claimed overall victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1965.

On through 1970, a 365 GTB4 ‘Daytona’ is seen in stunning blue with a red interior. This superb example represented an important milestone in the evolution of the Ferrari coupé, with its high-performance front-mounted engine.

Featured in the television show of the time, buyers can pretend to be Magnum P.I. with a 1980 308 GTS, or they can be inspired by the legendary 2002 Enzo. In silver with red interior, this was one of Ferrari’s great supercars and was the embodiment at the time of the latest Formula 1 technology and expertise.

All cars ordered with these striking livery options will be distinguished by an exclusive commemorative logo of the 70th Ferrari anniversary along with an ID plate with the name of the model that inspired it. Truly unique, there can only be one of each of these paeans of the past.

Luxury supercar launch: Ferrari 812 Superfast to premiere at the Geneva International Motor Show 2017

When you hear the name Ferrari, 2 things come to mind: Speed and Elegance. Turns out Ferrari isn’t satisfied with just fast. The supercar manufacturer has selected the 87th edition of the Geneva International Motor Show for the world premiere of the new 12-cylinder berlinetta, the Ferrari 812 Superfast. Yes, it does live up to its name. Ushering a new era in Ferrari’s history, the 812 Superfast is Ferrari’s most powerful production car ever.

Aimed at a distinctive demographic of clients demanding the most exclusive and robust supercar, the 812 Superfast boasts the versatility to be driven on road and track. The 812 Superfast includes new 6.5litre V12 engine that unleashes 800 CV of power at once, pulling maximum power output of 8,500rpm. After all, 789hp, a 0-100km/h time of 2.9 seconds and 718Nm of torque make this officially the world’s fastest, most powerful front-engine production car. Coupled with a dual-clutch transmission with specific gear ratios and the combination of shorter up and down shifting times between gears, a super sharp throttle response is born.

But this is just the beginning. The 812 Superfast gets electronic power steering for even greater turning precision whatever the speed. What’s more, because it’s a digital rather than analog system, the steering communicates and works in concert with the car’s other cutting edge stability systems.

Ferrari wants owners to drive this car, rather than put it into storage with the hopes of making a return on their investment. So it’s given it something called the Virtual Short Wheelbase system. It debuted on the F12 tdf limited edition in 2015 and will make the car feel and respond like a vehicle half its size at lower speeds — think inner-city traffic and narrow side streets with tight turn-in angles. Ferraris with longitudinally mounted V12s tend to be both very long and rather wide.

Ferrari is also going even further into the realm of active aerodynamic technology for its latest model with flaps located in the nose that open and channel air under the car’s body and out through rear channels to constantly optimise downforce and therefore its ability to stay glued to the road.

And, as this year marks Ferrari’s 70th anniversary, for a final flourish the new car gets a celebratory shade of red Rosso Settanta paint.

Luxury car auctions: Classic car collectors favour modern day editions from Mercedes, Ferrari and Aston Martin

The collectible classic car industry has long been one that gets your heart pumping. With the prospect of collecting an item so elusive you’re one of the few ‘lucky ones’ to obtain, classic car connoisseurs are known for their deep passion in the industry. Despite talk of bubbles, and of Ferrari fatigue, the classic car market is in extremely good health as 2016 becomes 2017. Yet, we ask ourselves what makes a car collectible? The very definition of what makes a car collectable or desirable is changing faster than a classic Ferrari’s 0-100km/h time.

On the whole the market has remained very strong,” begins RM Sotheby’s Peter Haynes. “Probably the thing that came out of 2016 most clearly is a shift towards what the industry is calling the modern classic.” By modern, Haynes says that interest in automotive exotica from the late 80s and 90s is now huge. “It’s really hard to account for this change unless what we’re seeing is the beginning of a sustained shift in the market — the passing of one generation and a new generation of buyers coming in,” he says.

As a rule, collectors that buy with their heart rather than as an alternative to a hedge fund, will be drawn to those cars that have a personal, emotional significance.

“People are buying the cars they want to buy,” explains Robert Johnson, director of Classic and Sports Finance, a company that helps collectors track down and pay for exotic cars, whether at auction or through dealers. “It’s a case of what do I really want? What do I aspire to and what was on my bedroom wall as a kid?”

And in the 80s and 90s, bedroom walls were covered in pictures of the Lamborghini Countach, Ferrari Testarossa, Porsche 959 and the Porsche 911 Turbo. Over the past 12 months, prices for all of these models, and their successors have started climbing. At the RM Sotheby’s Paris sale on February 7, a 1988 Porsche 959 Sport went for a world record €1.96 million, but a 1995 Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet attracted a winning bid of €1.34 million.

And the auction houses are now changing the mix of lots on offer to cater for this changing taste. “A few years ago, it was very rare to find an auction house selling a new car,” points out Haynes.

Yet at this year’s Paris sale, some of the biggest lots were also the newest. A 2014 Mercedes SLS AMG Black Series went for €470,000, a 2011 Ferrari 599 GTO for €450,000, a 2012 Aston Martin V12 Zagato fetched €750,400 and a 2016 Porsche 911R went for €515,200. These prices point to a second growing trend in the collector car space. The investors that would normally be buying up mid-1960s Ferraris are now looking to rare modern cars instead.

“A lot of people are now sniffing these cars out rather than going to classic car auctions,” points out Haynes. And at the moment there is no shortage of choice. McLaren, Ferrari, Porsche and Lamborghini have all unveiled extremely rare, extremely expensive models over the past 12 months, from the Ferrari J50, to the aforementioned Porsche 911 R and the Lamborghini Centenario.

But in each case, the entire run has sold out before the first example has been built. “People are going to start clambering over each other to buy them,” says Haynes, who believes the cars will be stored for resale and never driven.

However, it could also be good news for everyone else. Some of the most desirable traditional classics, could soon be within more collectors’ reach. A 1973 Alfa Romeo Montreal sold for just €78,400 at the Paris sale, a Maserati Bora for just €179,200 and a 1970 Ferrari Dino 246 GT L Series for €448,000 — that’s less than a 2016 Porsche or a 2012 Aston Martin.

Classic car show in France: Ferrari to showcase vintage racing cars at Rétromobile 2017

Motorsport fans are in for a real treat as for the first time at Rétromobile, they’ll have the chance to see no less than six Delage 155B 1500, a racing car that won first place in the 1927 Constructors’ Championship. Ninety years after it dominated the Grand Prix races with Robert Benoist at the wheel, this legendary car will be on display for visitors to enjoy at Rétromobile.

Racing car aficionados will also be delighted to see the Ferrari 500 F2 in which Alberto Ascari won the World Championship of Drivers in 1952 and 1953. Over a two year period, this car won 14 out of the 15 Grand Prix races in which it took part. It is part of Rétromobile’s major tribute to the 70th anniversary of the prestigious Italian brand. The show will feature numerous models which made Ferrari a legend in competition and on the road, including the 166 Mille Miglia which won the 1949 Le Mans 24 Hours race, the Ferrari 312B (a Formula One car from 1970), a 1957 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Series 1, a 1961 250 GT Berlinetta, a 275 GTB, and a 1965 250 LM Berlinetta.

In complete contrast to the Ferrari theme, Rétromobile will celebrate the genius of Victor Bouffort, a French engineer who designed quirky vehicles that were often ahead of their time. A number of these will be on display, including a three-wheeled sports car, an amphibious all-terrain vehicle, a suitcase which could be transformed into a scooter in two minutes, and a two-seater city car that was shorter in length than the width of an ordinary car so it could park anywhere.

Rétromobile will also feature an exhibition of some of the most iconic models in the history of the French motorbike, ranging from the very first motorized two-wheeled vehicle built in 1871 by Louis Guillaume Perreaux to 2017’s Midual Type 1. Visitors will be able to see a Louis Blériot 1920 invention, the Peugeot 500 two-cylinder which won the 1927 Grand Prix, a 1934 Jonghi 350, a 1939 amphibious Simca-Sévitame, a 1952 Koehler-Escoffier 1000 and a 1957 Taon Derny.

As part of the Rétromobile event, Artcurial Motorcars will hold its annual auction on February 10. A 1948 Ferrari 166 Spyder Corsa Scaglietti, which was driven by champions Giuseppe “Nino” Farina and Raymond Sommer, is so highly prized that Artcurial does not want to reveal its estimate. In 2016, the auction broke the world record for the sale of a racing car with a 1957 Ferrari 335 S which went for 32.1 million euros.

The 42nd Rétromobile takes place from February 8 to 12, 2017, at the Parc des Expositions, Porte de Versailles, Paris

One-off Ferrari: SP275 RW Competizione created for private collector by Special Projects team

The Ferrari Special Projects team is to supercar fans what Santa Claus is to kids. Should you have the means (and by this we mean wealth), the team can create one-of-a-kind designs based on its existing car models, that will leave other envious. One lucky private collector counts himself as the proud owner of such a creation thanks to his Ferrari SP275 RW Competizione.

The result of a collaboration with Pininfarina, the car uses the limited edition F12tdf as an inspiration while also featuring elements of the 275 GTB. Where the F12tdf had a hood that was sharper and free of louvres on the side fenders, the one-off creation boasts curves and four shark gills. The gills are repeated behind the rear wheel arches and rear side window.

Powering the SP275 RW Competizione is a powerful V12 engine and gearbox that was used in the F12tdf. The 6.3-litre engine provides you with 574kW of power and is said to rival that of the Ferrari F1 team. For its paint scheme, the Special Projects team has decked the car out in an eye-catching yellow that is said to be similar to the one used by the Ferrari group who won the GT category in the 1965 Le mans 24-Hour race.

Ferrari 488 Challenge Racing Car Marks 25th Ferrari Challenge Championship

In conjunction with the 25th Ferrari Challenge championship, the Italian car company has unveiled the Ferrari 488 Challenge as their race representative. The Ferrari Challenge evolved from clients’ racing event back in 1992 to a full-blown global one-make series. Each year, the Challenge racing car will be a track-only iteration of the latest V8 supercar in the market.

This year, they created the fastest Challenge ever. The Ferrari 488 Challenge was able to break the lap record on Ferrari’s Fiorano circuit in one minute and 15.5 seconds, a whole second faster than the previous record holder, the Ferrari 458 Challenge EVO.

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From its appearance, the 488 Challenge looks like its sibling, the 488 GTB, topped off with a massive rear spoiler. The aesthetic resemblance doesn’t come with a power downgrade though, since the race engineers have consulted with the Ferrari Styling Centre (the one behind those of one-of-a-kind bespoke commissions) to maintain both the looks and the strong performance.

Owners of the 488 Challenge will have an extensive range of customization options, so that the car is tailored to suit the driver’s driving style rather than the racing track. This includes settings and calibration for traction control and braking. The differentials are all separate and adjustable while racing via steering wheel-mounted controllers.

The new customer racing car, unveiled at the Daytona circuit in Florida, arrives as Mercedes signals its intention to start offering its customers even more choice when it comes to competition cars. Due to the overwhelming success of its latest car built to GT3 racing specifications, Mercedes AMG is going one better with a GT4 model derived from the Mercedes-AMG GT R.

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“The development of the Mercedes-AMG GT4 is another important step in the continuing expansion of our Mercedes-AMG motorsport program. The excellent feedback of our Customer Sports teams concerning the AMG GT3 and the increasing interest for GT4 race cars strengthened us in our decision. We are delighted to address an even larger target group of amateur and professional drivers and teams in the future with it,” said Mercedes-AMG chairman Tobias Moers.

Artcurial Rétromobile 2017 Auction

Eight of the vehicles going under the hammer this year come from the prestigious collection of Hervé and Martine Ogliastro. These include an exceptional Delahaye 135 Sport Roadster by Figoli & Falaschi (estimated at €1.2 to €1.8 million) and a Bugatti 57 Atalante convertible (estimated at €1 to €1.5 million).

Other outstanding classic cars expected to break the €1 million mark include a 1939 Delahaye 135 MS Cabriolet by Figoni & Falaschi (estimated at €1.2 to €1.6 million) and a 1936 Talbot T150C (estimated at €1 to €1.5 million). Fans of sporty rides can snap up a 1957 Osca 273 S Spider (estimated at €500,000 to €800,000) or the famous Renault 5 Turbo with which Jean Ragnotti won the Tour de Corse rally on the island of Corsica in 1982 (estimated at €300,000 to €500,000).

1939 Delahaye 135 MS Cabriolet

This 1939 Delahaye 135 MS Cabriolet by Figoni & Falaschi is estimated at €1.2 to €1.6 million.

However, the model that’s really expected to send bids through the roof is a 1948 Ferrari 166 Spyder Corsa Scaglietti, a competition racer previously driven by champions such as Giuseppe “Nino” Farina and Raymond Sommer. Artcurial hasn’t yet provided a price estimate for this model.

Visitors to the Rétromobile classic car show in the French capital will be able to admire all these vehicles at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles exhibition center from February 8 to 10, 2017.

1957 Osca 273 S Spider

This 1957 Osca 273 S Spider is estimated at €500,000 to €800,000.
© Artcurial
Artcurial Motorcars – Vente Rétromobile du 10 février 2017

Other models are likely to be added to the sale before the catalog listing closes December 15, 2016.

In 2016, the Artcurial auction at Rétromobile set a new worldwide auction record when a 1957 Ferrari 335 S sold for €32.1 million (including costs and taxes).

The 42nd Rétromobile classic car show runs February 8 to 12, 2017, at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles exhibition center in Paris, France.

Why Ferrari 250 GTO Could Set Auction Record

Fiat 124 Spider

Fiat 124 Spider Celebrates 50 Years

The Fiat 124 Spider is an aesthetic embodiment of the optimism and sense of freedom that gripped Italy in the late 1960s. It was unveiled at the Turin motor show in the same year that the equally exciting Fiat Dino (which had a Ferrari Dino V6 engine), the Lamborghini Miura, the Ferrari 330 GTS, the Maserati Ghibli and the Alfa Romeo Duetto Spider all broke cover.

However, unlike its compatriots, the 124 Spider was a concerted aim to bring sportscar looks and driving excitement to the masses in the same way that the original Fiat 500 had bought personal mobility to people who otherwise couldn’t afford a vehicle bigger than a Vespa scooter.

Yet despite having one eye on costs, the car boasted radial tires, a five-speed gearbox, a double-barrel carburetor, and a plush interior with wooden trim and even elements like a fuel gauge and tachometer (earlier Fiats had no fuel gauges, just a light that came on when the tank was almost drained!)

A clean, understated Pininfarina creation, the body boasted perfect sportscar proportions despite its diminutive 3.97m length. And because it was light, a 1.4-liter 90hp engine was initially enough to make it a blast to drive (top speed 170km/h).

Pininfarina claims that the exterior design and ride setup were based on hours of research into developing a car that ‘sat up’ at motorway speeds but would still negotiate narrow Italian backroads without coming unstuck.

Unsurprisingly, the car started to get a lot of attention from American drivers, particularly on the West coast, and so in 1969 the car was overhauled with a 110hp 1.6-liter engine (top speed 180km/h), given a reversing light and more options and crossed the Atlantic.

US demand remained steady right up until 1982 – so much so that while the car was discontinued in Europe, Pininfarina continued making it and updating it for Fiat between 1974 and 83 almost exclusively for the American market.

Therefore it is little wonder that Fiat hopes the reborn 124 Spider, launched exactly 12 months ago at the LA Auto Show, and sharing its underpinnings with the superlative Mazda MX-5 Miata (the 2016 World Car of the Year) will pick up where the original left off.

But no matter how good the new car promises to be on paper, the original 124 Spider will be a tough act to follow.

Gumout GT4586 Drives Circles Round Ferrari

Gumout GT4586 Drives Circles Round Ferrari

The Gumout GT4586 is a fire-breathing Frankenstein’s monster of a drift car, half Toyota GT86, half Ferrari 458 Italia. In its global debut at the trade-only SEMA show, Ryan Tuerck’s insane mod has grabbed the attention of the world with its audacity.

Even an event as car crazy as SEMA – dominated as it is by tuners, moders and hackers – can still manage to deliver an automotive surprise and usually it is from the most unlikely source.

This year’s show has already given the world a 220mph Toyota SUV, dubbed the Land Speed Cruiser and a 775hp Hellcat-powered Dodge Ram pickup that promises to perform as well as a Dodge Challenger. And that’s before we get on to builders like the Ringbrothers and their Cadillac ATS-V phenomenally disguised as a classic 1948 Cadillac Series 62 Coupe.

But so far, none of them have anything on Tuerck’s Gumout GT4586. Tuerck is a Formula Drift driver and decided to create the ultimate Frankenstein drift machine.

Gumout GT4586 Drives Circles Round Ferrari

Starting off with the Toyota GT86, a great tuners’ car thanks to its coupe form, low center of gravity, boxer engine and rear wheel drive, he decided to perform some open heart surgery.

Dropping a bigger engine in a Japanese car or bolting on turbochargers is nothing new. But taking one of the greatest engines in recent history – the normally aspirated 5-liter 570hp V8 found in the middle of a Ferrari 458 Italia – and squeezing it into a tiny Toyota is something else entirely.

And the results, along with the engineering knowhow and automotive hacking required to marry engine with car, are remarkable, as his videos show.

Ferrari’s V8s are mid-mounted, meaning that in order to put the motor in the Toyota where the engine bay is up front, Tuerck has had to run the exhausts through and out of the car’s front bumper so when he accelerates or decelerates the car breathes fire.

What’s more, the engine’s headers and valve covers are so big that Tuerck has had to jettison the car’s hood altogether, but that just adds to its aggressive appeal. And as to how well the car performs, as a demo clip shows, it literally runs rings around a standard Ferrari.

There is a long and less than illustrious history of Japanese and Italian car companies collaborating, a trend that hit its nadir with the Alfa Romeo Arna which married the worst aspects of an Alfa Romeo with the worst elements of a Nissan. But this collaboration, if purists can get past the sacrilege of using a V8 supercar as an organ donor, is a marriage worth celebrating.

Gumout GT4586 Drives Circles Round Ferrari