Today, Driven to Write gets its barnet in curlers over the latest offering from Maranello. Time for a haircut?
Even hairdressers must have off days. After all, imagine if you will the ceaseless drudgery of it all. The incessant banality of polite conversation, the helicopter view of thinning scalps and receding hairlines, the clippings that get everywhere, the disappointment of customers who expected transformation but got only mildly different. And to cap it all, by the end of a working day, you’re literally peppered with DNA that doesn’t strictly speaking belong to you.
Okay, its a laboured analogy and a weak joke, but it’s Friday and it’s been a long week. And to further underline the cheapness of the gag, I refer you to this cogently argued and rather elegant put-down of the somewhat shopworn ‘Hairdresser’s Car’ trope in relation to the Ferrari California, which I’d welcome you to revisit.
But of course I didn’t bring you here today to talk about hair – least of all my own. In fact, I’m rather sorry I brought it up. But anyway, the Ferrari. Not of course the Ferrari (as in La Ferrari), but the allegedly all-new and renamed Portofino, the latest moniker suggesting that our Serge has indeed been somewhere nice on his holidays.
The Portofino is of course the successor to the California, meaning that it’s a front-engined, V8 powered two seater coupe/cabriolet with a folding metal roof. The California was a bit of an outlier in the Ferrari range, firstly because it had been apparently developed for Maserati, but for reasons variously attributed to business case or expediency, (take your pick) was taken over and repurposed as a cavallino of a somewhat less rampant stripe. Secondly, it was the first Ferrari-badged car in heaven knows how long (if ever), not to have been given an alphanumerical designation roughly attributed to its engine capacity and layout.
The Portofino also cleaves faithfully to these characteristics, but Ferrari are claiming the new car sits on an entirely new platform, which is longer, wider, shorter and lighter than the outgoing one. The external dimensions Maranello have been happy to bandy about, but they’re being somewhat coy about the weight, which does suggest they’ve moved it about rather than excised a sizeable proportion of it.
Of course another aspect to this announcement is the fact that it comes just over a week or so after Sergio mused to the investment community about how Maranello was in full hand-wring mode over the on-again-off-again ‘Dino’ model. Last week I did a bit of musing of my own, suggesting a downsized next-generation of the current 488 GT was likely to be as much Dino as we were likely to get on our plates. But Serge has made fools of us all once again. This my friends, is our Dino, right here. More grappa monsignor?
And yes, don’t think I haven’t noticed: another car reveal, another furious looking visage. Heaven help us, because if the Portofino is indeed as much a Hairdresser’s Car as its predecessor was derided for, that’s one seriously aggrieved looking parrucchiere. With scissors. Okay, maybe I won’t have that haircut after all.