Hair, By Sergio

Today, Driven to Write gets its barnet in curlers over the latest offering from Maranello. Time for a haircut?

Just get in the sodding chair! Image: auto-ferrari

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.

What do you mean, ‘the usual’? Image: Evo

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.

Author: Eóin Doyle

Founding Editor. Content Provider.

10 thoughts on “Hair, By Sergio”

  1. It isn’t all-new, is it? It’s all-new in the ‘all-new’ Ford Fiesta definition of ‘all-new’. And, it does nothing for me whatsoever. It’s visually heavy, stupidly macho and somewhat vulgar.

    1. I think this ‘all new’ nonsense is employed by manufacturer’s PR departments by default now, based on the notion (possibly accurate) that nobody will actually check. It’s all new, so it must be better, right?

  2. And now on TVTV it’s an all-new episode of “The Toll Booth”.
    In a culture of repeats and recycling, hyperbole is needed to distinguish what should be normal. “All new” is supposedly better than the merely new.
    I think the effect of going beyond an absolute waters it down much as “cotton-rich” means a shirt is not 100% cotton. A 100% cotton shirt is cotton-rich, I expect. “made with real juice” means the drink has very little juice in it. That one is pure dumb: I don’t think there is non-real juice. Juice is, per definition, natural and anyway, everything in existence is in a general sense “real”.

  3. I’m not comfortable with the name Ferrari chose for the car. we had a Lamborghini Portofino concept car, we have the Portofino wristwatch which is made by IWC (a company that teams up with Mercedes-Benz), and Portofino in the summer is filled with Russians that wash their yachts with Norwegian water (or something like that).

    it’s far from being the worst-named Ferrari (this accolade goes to the LaFerrari, of course). but it’s no good.

    1. I’m no expert on things Maranello, but to my knowledge there is no precedent of the Portofino name at Ferrari. Yes there have been California badged models in the past but always with an alphanumerical designation – as in 250 GT California. Every other model within the current Ferrari range has been so designated, so it’s peculiar that they would want to highlight this car (and its predecessor’s) severance from the core range in such an overt manner. You’d almost be tempted to speculate that Ferrari insiders are a little embarrassed by it.

  4. It sounds like some sort of Mediterranean holiday resort, and that’s most likely both it’s intended demographic and destination. It’s made for swanning around the Riviera and make the owner look good parked outside the yacht club.

    What we really need to talk abort is the total sell out of the brand. It’s probably only a myth byt received wisdom is Ferrari kept a tab on output in abort 7000 cars per year, even if the demand was higher. To keep the brand just that bit mysterious and unattainable.

    I don’t have the numbers fresh but it seems they have almost doubled the output every year and is now selling some 30k cars per year. And what does that mean in the long term for a company selling an idea? Will the cars keep its mysterious aura if not only all the footballers wifes got one but also their hairdresser?

  5. The Portofino has a new all-aluminum chassis, changed engine internals for a 30 hp bump and every body panel is new. That says to me it is indeed all new.

    The styling I find nothing to argue with, I really like it. The front visage I find considerably less threatening than the sturm and drang attitude of the latest round of German ground-pounders shown in concept like Mr Hawkeye Z4 or that pillock of a Maybach.

    But here on DTW apparently this car is dismissed out of hand by all concerned. Except me. Sure if I had the loot I’d have a 488, but things like McLarens, I have no time for at all. Of the Lambos I only like the Gallardo. Koenigseggs and Paganis and all the other almost one-off weirdos I have zero interest in, since they all have elements of design lumpiness that say I’m not quite professional even if I have triple chromed window surrounds. Wouldn’t say no to a new Evora 400. I’d accept an Aston as a present, never seek one out and actually pay for it. Still at perhaps 60% of the price of a 488, this Portofino strikes me as a bit of all right. I actually like Ferrari styling for some strange reason.

    If I turned up with one of these Portofinos downtown this coming holiday weekend among the crowds, I can tell you how many people would stand around and opine about its aesthetic value scratching their beards while lost in artistic contemplation at its ugliness. None. Not one soul.

    C’mon. Let’s get real. This is a lovely looking car. Why all the carping?

    1. Bill: despite my comment on the language of “all new” I am able to agree with you about the appearance of the car as shown in the images. The face is okay too. It’s reminiscent of the 456GT which was the last Ferrari I liked. I am able to say much of Aston’s output is more than acceptable were I forced to offer an opinion.
      Now, the *name* is a bit iffy. It’s rather shopworn, a bit Friday afternoon. I don’t think Ferrari need aspirational names (Ascona, Capri, Vectra, Cortina) do they?

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