I look at cars all the time. You know that. I’ve told you before – I love cars. I love to watch them move and race and even just sit there. I am inspired by beautiful automobiles, moved by what amount to mobile and practical sculptures. And I truly feel both sadness and anger when a company with the potential to create moving art wastes immeasurable time and money on what ends up looking like a giant Tylenol.
Sometimes when we’re out shopping or something, my wife will backhand me across the chest and tell me to quit staring at the girl in the Corvette. Without really noticing the rebuke, I tell her that I really prefer the newer model to the old one, and I inevitably receive another whack. It’s sometimes difficult to convince her I really was looking at the car, and that I think that the Corvette’s most recent styling changes were a monumental improvement.
One of the reasons I like the styling of the newest Corvette is that it has obviously been inspired by some of Ferrari’s most gorgeous cars. But in recent years, Ferrari cars have suffered from some sort of homogenizing agent. Everything the company has produced since 1992, save a couple examples, has been… dare I say it? Blah.
OK, don’t get me wrong. The company has not been turning out Tauruses. Every car they have sold has been more beautifully created than almost every other car on the planet. But really striking designs from the Italian maker over the last 20 years have been exceptions to the rule. And the recipe seems to be: red sports car, basically bullet-shaped, with some subtle curves and a dash of air intakes.
Seriously, they’re all like that: the 1992 456 GT, all of the 348s and 355s from the 90s, the late 90s 550 (I seriously think the 550 Barchetta was Ferrari’s attempt to copy the Corvette – what?!). The 456M from 1998 (I think “M” stands for “Mom”), the 2003 Challenge Stradale, all of the F430s (six years of the same shape!), OMG – the 2007 Sessanta (I think this is Italian for “nap”), then the SuperAmerica (we have enough dull cars – don’t pull us into this mess), and the plain ugly mistake of the new California. What the hell’s been going on ?? Are all the good designers taking a Sessanta?
Now, I would be remiss to omit four lovely models: the F50, the 360 Modena with its unique vibe, the 2002 Enzo flagship and it’s insane bat-sibling the FXX, and the 458 Italia, which has some striking features (like bursting into flames, although that is apparently being resolved).
Four. That’s the number of distinguishable, inspired Ferrari cars from the last 18 years. Eighteen years! That’s too long, especially considering that four is also the number of bizarre auto-styling mistakes the company has produced in its entire 60+ year history prior to 1992. Hideous blobs include the shoebox-inspired 1973 400, all of the the (sorry, they are not exciting) 365 Daytonas no matter what Richard Hammond says, anything with Mondial in its name, and the stunted and deformed 1987 408 4RM).
Seriously, I used to know the name of every car on the street. Largely because I could tell them apart. Now I can’t. They are over-engineered bars of soap stuffed with computers. I sort of expect that from Toyota and Nissan. Even Audi and BMW. Boring, number-crunching people shall design boring computer-stuffed automobiles. I can deal with ignoring cars that blend in with the cement blocks of the buildings to which they’re designed (term used loosely) to transport the humans.
But please, Ferrari, reach deep and and go all Hot Wheels like you did in the sixties, before we all go business casual and order beige Camrys. Or Altimas. Or Accords. Or A8s.