Vellum Venom: 2012 Ferrari FF
Jeff Sanders, my best friend and reason for this series’ existence, once said “Ferrari’s are the tits” for all designers. It’s true, as his immense skill received far more praise from the design boffins at the College for Creative Studies when he set his sights on a Ferrari instead of his beloved American brands. But tits for all (so to speak) changed when a friend gave me her guest pass to the Ferrari Club of Houston’s monthly meeting. Arriving in appropriate style thanks to my brother’s Testarossa, I chilled out with my Ferrari lovin’ gal pal. I also prepped myself for the Pimp-Mobile Testarossa jokes, often rehearsed by heavily depreciated Ferrari 348/355/360 driving bon vivants. It was a CCS design review all over again, to a lesser extent.
Then I opened the showroom door and saw my first Ferrari FF. Everything about this day changed. Won’t you join me for the rest of the story?
Much like the Cheshire Cat’s mischievous grin compared to a normal feline, the FF takes what you know about Ferraris and makes them silly, overwrought and decidedly in need of anger management therapy. Not that the FF’s predecessor, the 612 Scaglietti, was Enzo’s gift to rolling beauty…but it’s positively tame compared to the FF.
The grille, headlights and body are all way out of proportion. If only the grille’s smile was more like a normal cat.
Probably Definitely my favorite part of the FF. The grille to bumper ratio looks about right. It’s easy to imagine this as a modernized Ferrari 250 GTO. Hey, a wannabe-designer can dream, can’t he?
But then you notice just how much real estate the Cheshire Cat grille truly occupies on the front bumper. This is starting to get ridiculous.
The headlights look sporty enough from this angle, the need for anger management isn’t obvious when taken out of context with the rest of the front fascia. The black spot (for headlight washers?) is a buzz kill for a vehicle this expensive. Oh well.
What really kills me is how this angle looks like the perfect foundation for a proper successor for the F-body Camaro. Instead, we got that massive tribute to half-assed retro design…but I digress.
The F-body references continue here. Note the interesting mix of a hard bend in the hood’s cutline added to the subtle curves in the hood, highlighted by the twisted, dancing beams from the overhead lights. Being this low and sexy isn’t a bad thing, Chevrolet F-body or Ferrari.
I know LED thingies are all the rage, but they need toning down. This pulled back, mohawk-esque, headlight goes into territory that belongs to the fender. Boo.
But they are mighty pretty!
One fender, fighting for its precious real estate. Nothing takes away from the flowing lines, grand touring proportions and cab-backward design of this fender more than ‘dat LED.
And while I have a love and hate relationship with directional wheels, these are horrid. Seemingly inspired by a plastic wheel cover on a Chinese home market sedan, these overstyled spokes are almost an insult to the brand. Maybe if the spokes were flatter, and didn’t extend into the natural space of the wheel lips/rims.
Less whimsical wheels belong with a fender this tall and boxy. Now, let’s be clear: the space between the wheel and the door (dash-to-axle ratio in Car Design speak) is a sight for sore eyes. Our society killed other GT/luxury coupes with such design, so it’s important to recognize a beautiful form by itself. Even if that cove and fender grille look a bit like an afterthought from here.
The cove looks pretty damn logical and necessary from here. Plus, the yellow Ferrari shield makes sense on a fender this T-A-L-L when residing in such a cove.
Perhaps the cove is a complimentary form to the FF’s bizarre greenhouse. They certainly do make sense together.
Even better, the dash-to-axle ratio ensures that the A-pillar and fender meet in a certain way. What IS that way, you say?
In a way that ensures zero chance of DLO FAIL! The mirror is mounted logically against the A-pillar, no black plastic triangle needed here. Then again, clock the FF’s asking price. It better not have DLO FAIL!
I was fixated on this mirror’s flat plane base, as it starts innocently enough at the door and cleverly slices through the dome of the mirror assembly. Quite the slick piece, this mirror. I wonder what the Ferrari Club of Houston was doing right about now? Hmm!
Probably not enamored with side-view mirrors, that’s for damn sure!
While I don’t know how/why the Corvette and modern Ferrari GT cars look so similar, the FF’s rocker panel, quarter panel and door could easily be associated with a C5 Corvette from this angle. At least the top is far more elegantly contoured (yet still overly voluptuous) than said Corvette.
If you don’t see what I mean, peep the flop between bright light and shadow at the top of the door. You don’t get this subtle attention to detail in a Vette. Hence the Pininfarina badging, naturally.
But this so isn’t a Vette. And yet it so isn’t a Ferrari. Then again, when your local Ferrari dealer has as many models as an Eisenhower-era Oldsmobile dealership, maybe the four-seat, boxy butt FF makes sense. Maybe someone does need a Ferrari that looks like, umm, this.
A Ferrari station wagon: someone out there is lusting for it.
As far as Kammback designs go, this one is a treat. The C-pillar flows back to the rear elegantly enough and the rear glass fills the void without being anything other than a logical extension of the C-pillar’s lines.
The cutline at the rear is elegant enough, even if I wish it tucked in (toward the center-line of the car) instead of bulging out to the corners. The round tail lights, seemingly slapped in, remind me of a Terminator-esque cyborg that lost its cosmetic façade while hunting down John Connor. This exposed plastic lens thing doesn’t work with a vehicle so expensive, so exclusive. It looks…cheap.
More to the point, I’m gonna get you John Connor even if it’s the last thing I’ll do!
I don’t know why there’s a misplaced eyebrow growing from the FF’s bumper corners. Perhaps it wouldn’t suck so hard if the rectangular reflector light below didn’t fight ‘dat flow. The light must empathize with this eyebrow, matching flow and location from start to finish.
The template is set: much like the marker/signal lights that occupy the same space as the fender flare. Take the C7 Corvette, for example. Please.
HASTA LA VISTA, GOOD TASTE! Exposed plastic eyeballs are a sin against automotive design. At least the quad exhaust tips look interesting!
Little vortex-looking things inside the exhaust? Yup, this must be an exotic car. A proper exotic, a proper Ferrari. If only I didn’t have to get up and look at the rest of the FF!
Unlike the exposed taillight eyeballs, these Euro-Foglight-American-Whatever lights have an elegant plastic housing around them. It looks suitably expensive. Or suitable for one of those disturbingly well-designed Kias made these days. Hmm!
The lower airfoil thing is quite cool too. No doubt it makes the FF do something faster and better, because the wind tunnel says so!
The FF is surprisingly “joyful” here. The negative area containing the license plate is quite the happy fellow. The cutlines for the trunk give the bumper’s corners a cheeky and jolly presence. It would be quite silly, but the black trim in the lower bumper (and that cool airfoil) adds a sinister touch. It waters down the overtly joyous portion that’s painted body color.
Or maybe not? This is quite a silly smile on a short (length-wise), tall (height) and flat (facade-wise) buffalo butt. Then again, your butt would look this goofy too…if you wore the same Cheshire Cat grin as the FF’s front end.
(Put another way, on a vehicle this large and tall, please integrate round lighting forms. This isn’t a pleasant design!)
And, perched atop the rear glass, here’s the obligatory bump for some sort of in-car entertainment or navigation. Did you really think they’d give me the keys to look inside and find out?
The Kammback Ferrari is a bit upsetting, but not without its charms. Note how different sources of light (natural from the left, artificial from the right) dance on the subtle creases and bends on the FF’s quarter panel.
While my friend Jeff was right about Ferraris being “the tits” for everyone, not all Ferraris are created equal. I just wonder how the lovers/haters ratio stacks up for the FF.
Thank you all for reading, I hope you have a great week!
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