50 Years of Ferrari StyleMy first walk around a completely new car tries to be a Gestalt, a process during which I perceive the "phenomena as organized wholes." It requires abandoning critical faculties, ignoring aesthetic values and being blind to the details, all in an effort to understand the underlying "significance" of the phenomena.
This exercise isn't so easy at a crowded car show, but, earlier this year in Geneva, my first glimpse of Ferrari's new 612 demanded that walk. The big GT was designed by Pininfarina, and its lines were at once familiar but also obviously something new. Surrounded by the usual wild car show concept studies and weird little runabouts that clutter the European market, the 612 exuded a quiet, studied presence, a gravitas that made the car seem larger than its dimensions.
My Gestalt suggested that Pininfarina had once again contributed a classic design to the Ferrari family, carrying on a tradition that harks back to the very beginnings of the two firms. The 612 has the modern touches that are gestated in the technical department and refined in the wind tunnel, but it clearly has styling cues that reference notable Ferraris of the past. For instance, the scalloped sides are from the famous 375 MM that Roberto Rossellini had built for Ingrid Bergman.
Though the 612 had a favorable impression on me, several colleagues felt differently, opining that it was derivative and uninspiring. Such is the nature of style; it provokes a wide range of reaction.
However, we're featuring another Ferrari in this issue which has elicited nothing but awestruck admiration for the sheer uniqueness of its design. Hidden away for almost half a century, the Abarth-bodied 166 MM was lovingly restored to pristine condition using the same techniques from 1953 when it was first fashioned.
This incredible 166 is one of many hundreds of remarkable Ferraris that will be gathered together this August at the Monterey Historic races, when the Italian firm once again is the honored marque. It's a show I wouldn't miss, and we'll bring you all the highlights in a future issue.
See you there.
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