Autoextremist: New Ferrari California is the End of Everything

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Self-styled Autoextremist Peter DeLorenzo has few– as in no– kind words to lavish upon Maranello’s latest Parisian fashion. “For me, the Ferrari California is a derivative, uninspiring, design mishmash of creases and folds (and horrific dimestore-quality side vents) that lacks cohesion and imparts an overall feeling of cheapness when viewed in person that just cannot be swept under the rug.” So who’s sweeping? I mean, Sweet Pete must know that there are plenty of ugly, ungainly Ferraris in the brand’s canon. And what possible difference does that make to anyone, anyway? ‘Cause the new California is brand sacrilege! Not only is the car ugly, but “It could also be termed the first ‘parts bin’ Ferrari, as it shares pieces with the Maserati Coupe GT and Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione underneath (even though Ferrari insists that it’s ‘all Ferrari’).” And there’s another problem. “It’s also the first time that Ferrari has come up with a car blatantly designed to expand its production capacity for its burgeoning global reach in markets around the world.” And that puts Ferrari on the same path as Porsche, maker of SUVs and four-doors. What? “With the California, Ferrari’s iron-clad grip on its soul has started to slip. It may be imperceptible at this point, but the fact remains that they made the conscious decision to build a lesser Ferrari – and make no mistake that’s exactly what the new California is – and it will prove to be a defining moment in Ferrari history. As we like to say around here, Not Good.” As we like to say around here, drive the car.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Argentla Argentla on Oct 09, 2008

    Miscellanea: This is not the first Ferrari called "California" by any means. Ford tried to buy Ferrari in 1963. It ended in acrimony, and led directly to the Ford-Ferrari battle at Le Mans in the middle of the decade. The last Dino WAS eventually also badged as a Ferrari -- not the 206/246, but the eight-cylinder 308GT4. See here. It was perhaps the least desirable of all Ferraris, but the world did not end. According to many accounts, Enzo Ferrari was profoundly disinterested in the Ferrari road cars, and openly contemptuous of the poseurs and wannabes who bought them. Part of the reason he courted Ford and eventually got hitched with Fiat in the sixties was that he wanted to hand off responsibility for the day-to-day stuff and the street cars so he could focus exclusively on racing, which was the only thing he really cared about. The new California looks like the post-rhinoplasty offspring of a Mercedes SL and a Corvette C6. I'm not inspired by it in pictures, but I've seen worse.

  • WhatTheHel WhatTheHel on Oct 09, 2008

    Yeah, I used to be one of those types who'd bark on & on about branding and diluting a marquee and what not. Not so much anymore. Come on here, we're talking about a Ferrari, not a badge-engineered Jeep Compass that couldn't make it 30 feet off-road without its shocks giving out. Would an Enzo driver want to unload his ride just because of the California? Do Acura NSX drivers cringe when they see an RSX? Did any ZR-1 drivers turn in their keys when the Cobalt came out? The biggest damage that can be done to the Ferrari brand is not the California. It's the miserable gong show that its F1 team is putting on right now.