12 Sep 2013

I am Ferraristi. I am Tifosi

I haven’t enough money. I don’t mean my pockets are perpetually empty, my bank account is penniless and I can’t buy food. I mean I don’t have enough to buy a Ferrari.

Of course that isn’t very important in the grand scheme of things. I can put clothes on my back food on the table, and buy car magazines with pictures of Ferraris in them. However actually owning a Ferrari, paying for its upkeep, fuel, tax, servicing is just a really stupidly daft thing to do.

Even if I counted up the money from every car magazine I bought since the age of 12 which had a Ferrari in it – which is roughly six quid a month for 27 years – that only comes out at £1944, which is terribly ironic as I used to own a Porsche 944.

Even a ‘cheap’ Ferrari would set me back £25,000. And every time it coughed, farted, spewed its guts all over the road or spat me into a hedge, I wouldn’t see much change out of another £25,000 to sort it all out again. So no, I can’t afford a Ferrari, and to be honest if I could, I am not even sure if I would buy one.

However there is a need in me, that has grown from boyhood, to sit on a leather seat embossed with Cavallino Rampante, to hold a steering wheel with Cavallino Rampante in its centre, and prod at the machine-drilled accelerator hovering above a plush cream carpet laid out on the belly pan of one of Modena’s finest examples. I want to drive a Ferrari.

However, for you the reader, I need to put this into some perspective. When I was in my early twenties, I wanted very badly to sleep with Gillian Anderson from The X Files. It was quite ridiculous. I hated The X Files but I would have gladly bled to death at the hands of that Pattinson chap for even a hint of a snog. It got so bad that I even dated a girl who looked very like her, but ironically, she was such an arse that it put me off wanting to have anything to do with Gillian Anderson. So you see it has to be the real thing. No imitations.

Which also brings us to the ‘pay as you go’ track days and similar opportunities where I could, without any complication, get to drive one, in a heartbeat. A very close friend did this, hired a 348tb to drive up and down a motorway, under the watchful eye of the guy who was making money out of it. He loved it, was completely blown away by the spectacle and the sound and the thrill, and he owns a Monaro with a decent punch more of BHP than the 348 has. He is, and will always be, aPetrolhead.

And you see this is also fine for you, the non-petrolhead over there, reading this, who fancies a wee blast in a silly red Italian car that makes a funny noise. Also fine for you lot over there in the other corner, who like the thought of driving a fast car for a few hundred quid then walking away with no guilt if you send a cylinder through the engine block with a fluffed gearchange.

I fall into neither of these groups, for I am Ferraristi. And I am Tifosi.
Froilan Gonzalez - Ferrari 375
Ferraristi and Tifosi are to Enzo Ferrari what the 12 disciples were to Jesus Christ. Ferraristi live for the cars, the history, the drama, the romance. On a Sunday, Tifosi scream at their televisions in the hope that their (usually anguished) passion adds extra horsepower to the cars of Scuderia Ferrari Formula One. To these two groups of people, being in the grandstand on the straight at Monza is like kneeling at the feet of God himself as his voice booms across the universe.

The Ferraristi who cannot afford a Ferrari, buy magazines, books, model cars, posters, pictures, key rings, mobile phone covers, mobile phone apps, dvds, baseball caps, duvet covers and watches, or anything else that has Cavallino Rampante on it.

The Tifosi pour adoration on a formula one team that can stretch its history back to 1948, and hold aloft pictures of Ferrari F1 drivers like they are holding aloft pictures of their new born children.

Ferraristi and Tifosi want a Ferrari over any other car because it stirs the soul. Makes the blood race through the veins instead of simply flow. It’s the difference between your grandmother making you a sandwich and Nigella Lawson serving you steak inside an Igloo while wearing nothing but a pair of Jimmy Choos and a damp blouse made of tissue.

I am Ferraristi. I am Tifosi. This is why when someone lets me drive their Ferrari, it must be a cherished Ferrari, a loved Ferrari, a preened unsoiled delicately but fastidiously maintained Ferrari, fettled gingerly by a qualified Ferrari mechanic and stored only in a way any passionate Ferraristi would – in a cotton wool lined glass case. Yes I can hand you a wad of notes so you can let me drive your Ferrari up the motorway, after he has driven it up the motorway, and him, and her, and that other guy, and that girl over there. But you don’t love that Ferrari. You are its pimp.

Ferrari owners, I mean the proper ones who lavish them with love, lick them clean, forbid anyone to breathe to close to them but regularly spank the living daylights out of them, aren’t fond of handing their keys over to a stranger ‘for a giggle’. They cherish their cars in the same way they would cherish a supermodel bride. Frankly, if their pride and joy was even sullied by the hands of another male, they’d be suicidal. You wouldn’t see Brad Pitt lending Angelina Jolie to Ant and Dec for example, purely because they wanted a ‘go’.

But I won’t be beaten. I am determined that, one way or another, I will find THAT Ferrari owner who WILL hand those keys over and say ‘just be careful’, because he or she will understand where I am coming from, and remember how they felt when they didn’t have one. Unlike me, they were able to buy the real thing. I have only gone as far as putting a small one on my office desk, to stare at, to help me dream.

From this point on, I am determined to make my dream a reality. I am Ferraristi. I am Tifosi.

Article by Jon O'Rourke

This article originally appeared on Jon's website, Mannish Words

Check out Jon's collection of Ferrari memorabilia below