In every car guys life there is a least one ultimate goal, a lifelong dream, a pilgrimage if you will. No I’m not talking about a religious act or even a family tradition, I am talking about the few things you put on your bucket list before dying. For some it’s going to the Indy 500 or to drive a race car, for others it’s simply to meet someone like Carroll Shelby. For me it was visiting the Ferrari Factory!
Ever since I was lucky enough to have gotten a job at International Auto restoring vintage Ferrari’s as a teenager, I have had the urge to make a pilgrimage to the Ferrari Factory. I would hear stories about how the wealthy doctors I worked for would get flown to the factory by Ferrari to view their new models. It sounded so cool I immediately made visiting the factory one of my top goals. Fast forward 20 years later and I finally did it!
Let me first say it wasn’t the easiest to find. We flew into Milan and made our way towards Modena after staying a few nights in Venice. I went cheap and declined Hertz’s $300 up-charge for GPS and decided to use a map purely out of spite (not the best idea). After driving aimlessly for 4+ hours I knew I was getting close as signs for Maranello began to appear. Soon thereafter I glanced to my right and behind the trees and bushes on the side of the road looked like what appeared to be a race track. I thought to myself could it be? Yes it was! The Ferrari test track. As I continued down the road another few minutes, and as the trees cleared away, there it was, just like I imagined, Ferrari heaven!
I turned off the main street and pulled in to a large parking lot which was surrounded by the Ferrari Museum, multiple Ferrari stores, cafes and most importantly Ferrari rentals. I was immediately overwhelmed and couldn’t speak as everything became silent; my wife was snapping her fingers in front of my face to see if I was still conscious. A nice Italian boy walked up to me and asked if I wanted to rent a Ferrari and I just starred at him. Ferrari’s were driving past me from the left and from the right. It was so much sensory overload , I really almost shut down. Finally my wife grabbed me with both arms and pulled me towards the museum as I was unable to make any decisions.
We paid the 13 Euro entry fee and walked around in awe at the display of race cars, models, trophy’s etc… I took a ton of pictures and will have a post specifically on the museum soon after this post. Upon leaving the museum I ran into that kid that asked me if I wanted to rent a Ferrari earlier that day. Without hesitation I said yes. Fifteen minutes and 85 Euro later I was in a Ferrari California Spider with Francesco and my wife flying down the back roads of Maranello; more on this to come as well.
I had 2 more stops before leaving this magical place; the actual factory and the test track. While both of these are off limits to common folk, you could still drive to it, pay homage and snap off a few pictures, both of which I did.
More to come on actually going through the Ferrari Museum and my test drive of the Ferrari California.