�When asked, � What most impressed me with the car ?� my answer related to the fact that not only did I purchase the car, but also commissioned modifications solely by telephone.�
-Ron Busuttil, M.D., Ph.D.
"Doug, your reputation is beyond reproach. I have bought several Ferraris in my lifetime, and I know when I buy from you I am buying a car from a reputable person."
"The exhaust and engine work you did are spectacular! The car sounds completely wonderful - I can actually hear it swallowing air, and I have no doubt the bad headers were causing all kind of backpressure issues -- the increase in power is kind of breathtaking. Obviously the timing correction has a lot to do with that as well. I feel pretty sure the car runs better than it did when it was delivered new to Sonny Crockett back in 1997. And it sounds like a Ferrari again, not a landscaping truck!"
"The engine compartment is vastly improved as well, and the resurfaced console etc. looks most excellent."
"None of this was cheap, but it was all well worth it. A job really, really well done!"
This Issue's Fun Fact!
Last Issue's Fun Fact and trivia question:
The famed 250 GT SWB was designed by Pininfarina. There were 168 250 GT SWBs made, some alloy-bodied, some steel-bodied. Some were even re-bodied by one of my favorite coach builders, Piero Drogo (who, incidentally, was the original owner of 0714 TR, a very famous 1957 pontoon-fendered 250 Testa Rossa that's coming up for auction in Maranello, 17 May 2009).
But two of the 168 250 GT SWBs were designed by Carrozzeria Bertone: 1739 GT and 3269 GT. One of these cars is also coming up for sale at the RM Auction at the Ferrari factory in May (1739 GT). The other one - 3269 GT (the shark-nosed example seen below) - was designed by a now-famous automobile designer during his tenure at Bertone, before moving on to work for Ghia. Who is this famous designer...?
Our Fun Fact winners are:
John Erdos, Paul Bianco, Carmelo Crisafulli, Erik Nielsen, Jack Spiegelman, and...
Alan Boe: The answer to your trivia question is Giorgetto Giugiaro. He was the designer at Bertone who did the body on SWB 3269 GT. Actually, Ferrari produced 164 SWB chassis (not 168), but only 158 had the familiar Scaglietti SWB body. The other six were bodied by Bertone (two, 1739 and 3269), Pinin Farina (four, two in steel and two in alloy). The Pinin Farina SWBs look like 400 SA coupes. I recently had occasion to recount and review the SWB numbers since I was writing a piece for Prancing Horse 171 on the model. A total of 88 steel SWBs were built by Scaglietti with 70 in aluminum alloy. All but 14 are left hand drive. Two were built in 1959, 61 in 1960, 53 in 1961, and 48 in 1962 & 1963.
Thank you, Alan, and congratulations to you and our other winners!
1979 to 2009: Thirty Years of Renowned Ferrari
Restorations, Service and Repairs
For the June 2009 issue of The Berlinetta Letter we have some cool stuff lined up for everyone, including our June Fun Fact and Trivia Question! For the first reader to respond: a $150 gift certificate to the restaurant, Ferrari dealership, store or 'whatever' of your choice.
Do you like the new look of The Berlinetta Letter? Well, it mirrors the new look of Berlinetta Motorcars' 100-point, ground up, freshly restored website; so stay tuned for that as well. The Trivia Question will be directly related to the new website.
Now for this issue's Fun Fact and Trivia Question...
For years I've heard Ferrari's Boxer engines referred to as '180-degree V12s'. I never understood why people couldn't simply say 'flat 12' - but who am I to question it, right?
I recently learned that Ferrari's Boxer engines are referred to as '180-degree V12s' because, technically, they are not true boxer layouts. A true boxer engine, used by both Porsche and Alfa Romeo before Ferrari was a company, is one in which the pistons move simultaneously - in an out at the same time like clapping hands, or two boxers punching each other. That means that each piston has to have a separate crankshaft pin - a setup that's as expensive as it is inherently well balanced. BMW's motorcycle (correctly referred to as a 'Beemer', whereas the automobiles are known as 'bimmers') is another example of a true boxer engine.
Getting the 'boxer' engine right was not an easy mountain for Ferrari to climb. In the mid-'60s, Ferrari's attempts were not notable. But by the end of the decade, Ferrari got it right.
So what was the only one-off Ferrari, in which a flat 12 was placed, that mopped up the competition in a series of events, and what was that series of events?
The first person to completely answer the question correctly will receive a Berlinetta Motorcars baseball cap (black or navy blue).
If you think this question is hard - wait until next issue when we put your knowledge to the test for a $150 gift certificate. So stay tuned!
The 2009 New York International Auto Show
The 2009 New York
International Auto Show didn't quite measure up to previous years. In light of
the current economic climate, some manufacturers chose a smaller, boutique style
display, while other car makers pulled out altogether. Some of the bottom floor
sections of the Jacob K. Javits Center, where the show is held every year, were
closed; previous years saw those sections filled with cars and
But despite the lack of attendance, I saw something very interesting; something that more than made up for a less-than-stellar show.
Do you remember Alfa Romeo's three concept BAT cars back in the early 1950s? Neither do I, since my father wasn't even born when the first BAT was shown at the 1953 Turin Auto Show. But from 1953 through 1955, Alfa's three BAT concepts, the BAT 5 (1953), the BAT 7 (1954) and the BAT 9 (1955) were all shown consecutively at each year's annual show in Turin. For many of us, they have become a staple in Italian automotive design.
Alfa Romeo's Bertone-designed BAT 5, BAT 7 and BAT 9 -Wikipedia photo
While the cars never went into production, the design studies behind all three concepts were aerodynamically based, as evidenced by the name: BAT = Berlinetta Aerodynamica Tecnica. Each year's concept, all designed by Bertone's Franco Scaglione, was different from the last, but all three had features resembling the wings of a bat. The coefficient drag of the BAT 5 was 0.23; the BAT 7, 0.19.
In 1963, a young gentleman named Gary Kaberle purchased the BAT 9 from a car dealership in Greenville, Michigan. For nearly three decades, during the ownership of BAT 9, Kaberle became the foremost authority on Alfa Romeo's three BAT cars.
In the early '90s, Gary was forced to sell his BAT in order to finance the treatment of his wife's breast cancer. Despite the best efforts that money could fund, Deb Kaberle passed away. Now, more than 15 years later, Gary Kaberle has combined the love of his late wife with his passion for the Bertone-styled Alfa Romeo BAT cars. He commissioned Stile Bertone to resurrect a half century old concept that revolutionized automotive design.
A front three-quarter view of Gary Kaberle's BAT 11dk, at the 2009 NYIAS
Back to present day, in steps the BAT 11dk, penned by Stile Bertone's Valery Muller. The BAT 11dk (dk in honor of Deb Kaberle) is an impossibly fluid combination of angles and curves. It is an avant-guard progression in form-meets-function beauty; the front fenders are designed to move in and out when the wheels turn left or right.
Gary Kaberle visited Bertone in November, 2006, where he brought with him an extensive archive of catalogued home movies and photographs, many of which featured his daily-driven BAT 9. During his visit, Gary spoke of his idea for a new BAT and even funded part of the dream that is now a reality.
BAT 11dk is based on the platform dimensions of Maserati's Gran Turismo, which itself is a longer wheelbase version of Alfa Romeo's 8C. Alfa agreed to let Bertone adorn the BAT 11dk with an Alfa Romeo badge as long as Bertone didn't use it to redesign its established corporate look. The BAT's chassis is that of Alfa's 8C, and the engine will be none other than the Ferrari inspired 4.7-liter V8 currently featured in Maserati's Gran Turismo.
A rear three-quarter view of Gary Kaberle's BAT 11dk, at the 2009 NYIAS
The BAT was supposed to appear at this year's Geneva Motor Show in March. But after booking the stand, Bertone canceled at the last minute. Instead it was unveiled at a private party for car designers in downtown Geneva. Suddenly I don't feel so bad about missing the Geneva Motor Show, and I'm quite content with the downsizing of this year's New York International Auto Show.
While there were other sports and luxury cars at this year's auto show, none could hold a candle to the BAT 11dk.
Bentley's Continental GT
Praying ..or Preying?
The word 'mantis' is Greek
for prophet or fortune teller. While I claim to be neither, I think that the
growing success of the new Mantide (MAHN-tee-day, Italian for 'mantis') is very
telling of the future of Stile Bertone.
Back in November, 2007, Bertone filed for Concordato Preventivo - the Italian (and much better sounding!) version of our Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. On the first of January, 2008, Lili Bertone, widow of Nuccio Bertone, announced that she decided to sell Bertone to Domenico Reviglio, the founder and president of Gruppo Prototipo. Gruppo Prototipo is best known as the owner of the Nardo test track.
Fast forward to the present day and we have a one-off super car unlike anything anyone's ever seen. Adding to the intensity is the designer behind the project: Jason Castriota. If his name doesn't ring any bells in your head, then certainly you know his designs. Though he just turned 35 in January, Jason's r�sum� already includes Ferrari's 599 GTB Fiorano, the Maserati Birdcage concept, Maserati's Gran Turismo and Jim Glickenhaus's Enzo Ferrari-based P4/5.
Any of those ring a bell?
Born in the Bronx, Jason's talent and hard work have taken him across the Atlantic to flourish in the heartland of exotic cars. It is here that the Italian automotive design renaissance took place. Influenced by those before him (Pininfarina, Gandini, Fioravanti, Scaglione, Giugiaro), Jason's vision carries sentiments of the past proudly into the future.
At Bertone, Jason's freedom of expression is limitless - as evidenced by the brilliance of the Mantide. While the body is clearly an original, the chassis and running gear are that of Chevrolet's Corvette ZR-1. The only change made to the Corvette platform was a Capristo exhaust in place of the stock unit; the all-carbon fiber body is straight out of Jason's cortex. The 640-horsepower Mantide weighs in at just 3,200 pounds.
The Mantide is aerospace and F1-inspired. Its fastback silhouette is instantly recognizable but the details within are daringly unique. From above, the fuselage-like shape of the car is narrow at the back and widens as the lines angle forward - sort of like a long, rounded-edges triangle. From the front, the Mantide really does resemble a praying mantis. The high side mirrors could pass for stubby antennas. From the windshield forward, the Mantide is one solid, angular structure. A collection of circular perforations act as a grille in the nose of the car.
But as the sweeping lines of the gullwing doors stretch rearward, the details are an evocative composition of aggression, beauty and complexity. From either side of the rear wheels is a buttress that flips up from the bottom of the car and meets with the top of the door line. These buttresses lend depth to the rear of the car, and look as if they could unfold and double as wings. The car is function driven, Jason says, like a Tourbillon watch, and the success of the Mantide wouldn't be possible without his technical team. On board to help fabricate this dream into reality were Danisi Engineering in Torino, and Ferrari's F1 technical partner Belco Avia, who manufactured all of the interior and exterior carbon fiber parts.
All of the body's lines seem to be pulled to the rear of the car - like strands of hair in a pony tail. The rear taillights resemble squinted eyes and are separated by an aggressive triangular nose/mouth combination of naked carbon fiber that contrasts from the car's DuPont Ferrari-Alfa-mixed red paint. The black roof separates the canopy-like roof from the rest of the body. Two rectangular exhaust tips extend through the center of the rear diffuser. The black wheels are devoid of spokes and are composed of shapes that add to the originality and uniqueness of the overall design. The wheel wells are not simply semi-circle cutouts, but asymmetrical rhombus-like voids whose subtle angles actually add symmetry to the body.
Jason credits his success to the tremendous opportunities he had early in his career. But adding the Mantide to an already impressive curriculum vitae reveals a pattern of triumph whose compelling designs have garnered a worldwide following. Irrespective of the design house that employs Castriota's creative genius, Jason will always have fans who love his work and look forward to his next masterpiece.
Speaking of his next masterpiece, Jason is tied up with the Mantide's world tour for the rest of 2009, but hopes to release another one-off in 2010. Demand for the Mantide is congesting Stile Bertone's phone lines and e-mail inboxes, but Jason says that three to five will be made. Those lucky enough to own one will write a check in the neighborhood of 1.5M €uros.
For those of you interested in seeing the Mantide, it will appear at this year's Goodwood Festivals of Speed, Pebble Beach and at the Corvette museum in Kentucky. I called Jason to get the low-down on the Mantide and he said that it will eventually make its way to New York this fall - and he promised he'd give me a ride in it. I bet it'll be intense and amazing. But like I said, I'm no fortune teller ...so we'll just have to wait and see.
All images courtesy InsideProjectM.com
Formula One Report
Who doesn't want to be Sir Richard Branson right now?
Things aren't looking good for Ferrari in this year's Formula One season. After five races, Ferrari has amassed a whopping six points - dwarfed compared to Brawn-Mercedes's 68 points, 41 of which were scored by came-out-of-nowhere Jenson Button.
After starting sixth and seventh respectively in Australia, Massa and Raikkonen DNFed after 45 and 55 laps due to suspension and differential issues. Malaysia was a little better with both drivers finishing the race - but neither with points, let alone a podium finish. Felipe finished just 20 laps in China before retiring early due to electrical problems. Kimi managed to finish the race in the Far East in 10th place.
Four races into the season, the Scuderia finally put their name on the board in Bahrain via Raikkonen's three-point sixth place finish 42 seconds behind Brawn-Mercedes's Jenson Button. In Spain, Massa doubled Ferrari's points with a sixth place win that was 50.8 seconds behind - you guessed it - Jenson Button's first-place finish. Kimi ran just 17 laps before hydraulic trouble took him off of the circuit.
What's going on? Perhaps it's too early in the season to tell; maybe there are too many variables to extrapolate a definitive explanation. Could be that Jenson is just really on his game right now. Last year's World Champion, Lewis Hamilton, has scored just nine of McLaren-Mercedes's 13 points.
Some teams are struggling to master their KERS. Hamilton's honeymoon is obviously over, and with the absence of the great Michael Schumacher, the playing field has been razed - and seemingly repaved by Virgin-sponsored Brawn.
The 2010 season will pose more stringent rules on every team. So right now it looks like everyone is scrambling to master their fate before it's outlined for them next year. And while rain and faulty hydraulics and bad suspensions and disqualifications are road-blocking many teams in the point race, J.B. is establishing a very impressive pattern.
In other news, Autoblog.com recently posted an article that suggests that Luca di Montezemolo is considering taking Ferrari out of Formula One and refocusing their efforts at Le Mans.
Montezemolo has been invited by the ACO to ceremonially start this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans. Speculation divides the armchair quarterbacks into two groups: some say it's a harmless invitation; others say it's Luca snubbing his nose at the cost-cutting, regulation-crazy Max Mosley.
Ferrari is the only manufacturer in the history of Formula One to compete, however superbly or poorly, in every single F1 season since the inception of the sport. If Ferrari pulled out, the tectonic plates of motorsport would irreversibly shift.
While it's all mere hearsay at this point, tifosi around the globe are paying closer attention to Ferrari's moves both on and off of the track - even Sir Branson.
This Issue's Featured Ferrari Sale
|Here we have a beautiful 1966 Ferrari 275 GTS. Liveried in silver
with black leather, this stunning convertible is an excellent candidate
for Ferrari's Classiche certification. Additionally, if entered in
competition, it is a wonderful choice for Class and Preservation awards.
This 275 GTS is a totally original, unrestored car that comes with tools and a tool roll; 36,000 miles. Call Berlinetta Motorcars today to inquire about making this dream come true.
| Is there ever really
a time when there is no Ferrari news?
But there are certain times when a single piece of Ferrari news deserves to be separated from whatever else may going on.
Now is one of those times.
As we mentioned in the last issue, RM Auctions, in association with Sotheby's, had an auction at the Ferrari factory in Maranello, Italy, this weekend, 16-17 May 2009: The Ferrari Leggenda e Passione. Among the amazing collection of Ferraris that were up for grabs, one car stood out above the rest.
Serial number 0714 TR, a 1957 pontoon-fendered 250 Testa Rossa.
In the spirit of Ferrari fashion, this history-rich racecar broke the all-time world record for the sale price of a car at auction, selling for 9,020,000 Euros - that's $12,122,550...!!!
I don't know who the lucky bidder is, but I can tell you with certainty - it wasn't me.
1979 to 2009: Thirty Years of Renowned Ferrari Restorations,
Service and Repairs
For the June 2009 issue of The Berlinetta Letter we have some cool stuff lined up for everyone, including our Trivia Question: a $150 gift certificate to the restaurant, Ferrari dealership, store or 'whatever' of your choice.
Do you like the new look of The Berlinetta Letter? Well, it mirrors the new look of Berlinetta Motorcars' 100 point, ground up, freshly restored website; so stay tuned for that as well. The Trivia Question will be directly related to the new website. All coming to you next month.