Issue 26 | Ferrari Tricolore

SCD member Glyn tells us about his trio of very special Ferraris.

What inspired your love of cars? Where did it all begin?

As a kid, I always wanted to be a car designer. Unfortunately, although I had plenty of ideas, I was never good enough at art to get them down on paper. I remember going to the Aston Martin factory in Newport Pagnell when I was about 13 and being completely mesmerised by the craftsmen beating sheet metal over wooden formers with rawhide mallets. This was in the late 70s, the era of the original V8 Vantage.

When did your passion for Ferrari start? Have you owned many other than those pictured?

My love of Ferrari is quite a recent thing. In fact, I was probably a bit ‘anti’ until I drove one for the first time. Back in 2010, I happened to go into my local Ferrari dealer with a friend who wanted to look at a used Lambo. I was driving a 911 convertible at the time and got chatting to a salesman about the then current California. He invited me to a test day at Millbrook and I was smitten – I couldn’t wait to get back to the dealership to order one. Since the Cali, I’ve had a 458 Spider, an F12 and a 488 GTB as well as the three you see here.

…the Dino is the most beautiful car ever designed and built.

Which did you own out of the current trio?

I bought the Dino a couple of years before the F40. For me, the Dino is the most beautiful car ever designed and built. Back in the late 60s, it was all about the aesthetic with little consideration given to aero and other limitations that often visually compromise the design of many modern cars. With so few safety features and ancillary systems, the design could be kept much purer. That said, the packaging is incredible – the transverse V6 engine and a very compact gearbox allow such a tiny two-seater sports car to have two boots! 

What attracted you to this particular example?

I loved the restoration job that had been done on this car. It came out of the factory in the colour you see it in today but spent much of its life painted red – owners in the late 70s and 80s thought their cars would be worth more if they were re-painted red and had Ferrari badges added. This car had a bare-metal restoration back to Bianco Polo Park and the seats, dashboard, headlining and carpets were all re-trimmed in the original materials supplied by the factory in Turin which produced them back in the day (yep, plastic seats are authentic!). This car is also Classiche certified so Ferrari is happy that it’s all as it should be.

Is it particularly rare in white? What is the history of this car?

247 Dinos were produced in Bianco Polo Park but only a handful were RHD and fewer still came to the UK. This car’s claim to fame is that it appears on the front cover of a book called Ferrari Dino – The Complete Story by Anthony Curtis (although it was pre-restoration so the car was painted red and had a private plate on it at the time).

What is it like to drive?

The Dino is sublime, especially on country roads. The steering is direct and precise, the car is incredibly light on the move and although it’s not very powerful (a claimed 195bhp), it has plenty of poke for twisty roads. I love it.

Is it a keeper?  

I would sell every other car I own before parting with the Dino!

Why did you choose an F40? What makes it special to you?

For me, the F40 is the ultimate 80s poster car. It’s also about as analogue a driving experience as you can get. It has no power steering, no traction control or ABS, a pretty clunky manual gearbox and absolutely no creature comforts. And when those turbos kick in…

When did you acquire it? What is special about this example?

I bought it from Graypaul Nottingham just over two years ago. I wanted one of the first fifty cars with Lexan side windows, no door cards, no catalysts, non-adjustable suspension, low mileage and Ferrari Classiche certified.

How many miles have you done in it and what is it like to drive?

Sadly, I’ve only done a few hundred miles in it. If I’m honest, I bought the wrong car to be stacking the miles on as it had only done 1,900 km from new when I bought it!

Moving on to the F12, tell us how this came about.

I was invited to buy the TDF when it was first announced and we went over to Maranello to do the spec in May 2016. 

Did you intend to be so bold with a Tailor Made spec from the start?

I’ve never spec’d a car with resale in mind since I’m doing it for me, not the next owner. I also vowed from the first new Ferrari I bought that I wouldn’t do a red one. You can come up with some good designs on the dealer configurator and even more so in the Atelier in Maranello but we really wanted to do this limited-edition car justice with a full-on Tailor Made spec.

Can you talk us through the spec on this car?

The colour is Verde Masoni which, as far as I’m aware, is a one-off. Aside from the unique body colour, the main feature on the exterior is the airbrushed Scuderia shields. I wanted oversized ones like those on the 1950s and 60s Grand Prix cars. The Ferrari badge is painted matte black and the whole engine bay is carbon fibre, as are the headlight ‘buckets’ and rear fog light.

It’s the interior that really got the Tailor Made treatment. All the interior carbon fibre is matte olive green – racing seat shells, door cards, dashboard inserts, steering wheel and paddles, centre tunnel and parcel shelf. I wasn’t keen on the ‘standard’ TDF seats so had them swapped for GTO seats with racing harnesses and trimmed in special 3D technical fabric and Alcantara. The same technical fabric is used to trim the roof lining and lower dashboard detail. I wanted a very utilitarian (bordering on military) look so many of the small interior details are in matte black like the rubberised rings around the air vents and the aluminium flooring. I also wanted a few splashes of yellow to match the rev counter, so the rings around the 3 buttons on the centre bridge are yellow, as are the markings for the gear shift paddles and air vents. Finally, I got the luggage set trimmed to match the seats with 3D technical fabric and Alcantara.

What was the buying experience like?

I think the basic premise of Ferrari’s Tailor Made programme is “the answer is yes, now what would you like?”. Consequently, you’re a kid on Christmas day in a sweet shop having already had 3 cans of Tango and a family pack of all blue M&Ms – the only real limitation is your imagination. For me, the best part was sitting with a couple of Ferrari’s design consultants and trying out those ideas on screen in real time. We tried a lot of different ideas and combinations before the spec
was finalised.

Are you happy with how the colour turned out?

I’m delighted with the colour. I’d seen a sample in Maranello and an on-screen render but until it’s on the actual car with all its curves and angles you don’t get the full effect. It turned out even better than I’d expected because it really shows off the car’s lines. What I really like about it is that in artificial and dull light it looks really matte but in bright daylight the metallic flake really comes through and it has a silky sheen.

Is the paint hard to maintain?

I’m told by everyone in the know on these things that repairing it would be a serious challenge which is why I got a full body matte PPF wrap before the car went on the road. It’s a pretty tricky one to wrap being so wide and having lots of curves and aero details but the guys at Reep have done a great job on it. I was sceptical about PPF initially but if you hadn’t seen the car before you wouldn’t know it’s been wrapped. The full effect of the paint still comes through and the gloss carbon details are super shiny.

What’s it like to drive? 

Early impressions are that it is significantly different to the F12. Upshifts feel quicker and more aggressive and there is a much more pronounced blip on downshifts. And that noise on the over-run… I’ve only driven it on the road so far and I imagine the real differences will come out when I do the first track day. I can’t wait.

Is it a keeper?

That’s the intention. Either that or I’m stuck with it because no one else wants such an outlandish spec! 

What was it like having the three together on the road for the first time for the shoot?

The whole experience was a bit surreal. Seeing your cars from the outside being driven gives you a different perspective and I have to say they did look awesome together. I do feel very privileged to own these cars and, as a kid growing up on a council estate in the 70s and 80s, I could or should I say could only have dreamt of it. While the three cars are connected by brand, they are so completely different and really represent their respective eras. All three engines are special in their own way and epitomise Ferrari’s engineering excellence over the decades. I’d say it would be difficult to find a better V6, V8 or V12 but I suppose I’m biased!

Did you plan to have a Tricolore themed Ferrari trio or has it happened by chance? 

It was a complete fluke, especially given my aversion to red Ferraris! Good job they only made the F40 in red or it wouldn’t have happened!

What’s next? 

Having owned a 488 GTB I’m very excited about the lightweight version that will surely follow, whatever it’s called (GTO, Scuderia, Challenge, who knows?). If the difference is anything like that between the F12 and the TDF or the 458 and the Speciale then it will be phenomenal.

Tell us about your custom Rolex.

The watch is made by Bamford Watch Department (BWD). It’s based on a Rolex no-date Submariner. I designed it with George Bamford who is a serous car fan. He is one of the few watch customisers that can do colour PVD coating (everyone else only does black). We managed to get a matte green that is pretty close to Verde Masoni and then designed the face with a silhouette of the car and a couple of yellow details – the circle on the second hand mimics the 3 yellow buttons on the bridge in the car and the inverted triangle at 12 o’clock is like the Scuderia shield on the wing. I am really happy with how it turned out and it’s the ultimate accessory and another one-off to match the car.