Original and unique

Original and unique

An increasing number of clients are seeking the expert advice of the specialists of the Tailor-made programme at Maranello, each one with something different in mind. Over the following pages we present some examples of what can be achieved, from Paolo Pininfarina, who realised an FF in line with the tastes of his father Sergio, to those who wanted to re-create the classic models of Ferrari’s past, with original racing insignia, materials and colours. When it comes to personalising your own car, there really are no limits

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Turnbull & Asser is a classic British tailor on London’s famous Jermyn Street. There’s wainscoting on the walls, a tangibly historic atmosphere, and nods to some of the firm’s best known clients dotted around the building. Since these number Sir Winston Churchill, Michael Caine and The Beatles, we are talking very well-known indeed. In fact, were you to study James Bond’s shirt cuffs in the opening casino scene of Dr No, you’d be looking at a Turnbull & Asser shirt. Tailoring is expensive, of course, but extremely satisfying. You don’t need to be a spy, Beatle or Member of Parliament to understand the appeal of a well-cut suit, or the intense tactility of fine fabrics. Applying its precepts has also become notably more popular among the high net worth purchasers of fine automobiles. Although Italy’s carrozzeria tradition is almost as old as the car itself, there was a time when Enzo Ferrari disdained pretty much every part of his cars that didn’t feature moving mechanical parts. Well, things have changed. Ferrari’s Tailor-made, now concluding its third year, has established itself as one of the most successful personalization schemes in the car business.

Originally split into three categories – Classica, Scuderia and Inedita – which effectively posited three different potential personalities for a client’s new car, Tailor-made has seemingly out-grown its remit. As Andrea Bassi, who has headed up this special department since July this year, tells us: ‘Personalisation is growing, in the mass market as well as the luxury one. Given that it’s part of Ferrari’s heritage going back to the coach-building era, it’s no surprise that we are at the forefront of it. Of course, customers can still stay within those original parameters if they want to, but they are certainly not restricted to them. We prefer to think of them as starting points to inspire clients.’ It’s evening in Maranello, but the Atelier is still bathed in light. In an adjacent building, Ferrari’s Classiche department offers full restoration and certification for some of its most revered models. In the Atelier, the next generation of Prancing Horse classics are encouraged to take shape. Anyone who still labours under the illusion that most Ferraris are rosso corsa would be stunned by the myriad vivid shades that are now available. I haven’t actually got time to count them all, but the Grigio Canna Di Fucile Opaco (a subtle but powerful matt grey) catches my eye, along with an argento (silver) named after the Nürburgring circuit. Whether or not I can count them all is actually immaterial: make an appointment at the Atelier wearing your favourite socks and Ferrari will do its utmost to match the shade, if that’s what you want.

“The only limit is one’s imagination”
The only limit is one’s imagination. Of course, this degree of personalisation has extended into the mainstream – you need look only at the Fiat 500, for example, for which it’s said that more than 500,000 possible trim and colour combinations exist – to see that the desire to stand out from the crowd is one of the notable consumer trends of the 21st century. But as every Ferrari is by definition a singularly powerful personal statement, Tailor-made is about exemplifying quality as much as anything. The variety of materials on offer and the craftsmanship that goes into them adds extra layers (in some cases literally) to an experience that is defined by engineering that is non pareil. It also gives Ferrari and its product managers an invaluable insight into the lives its clients lead, and the things they really value.

“We find ourselves developing new materials that are appearing in cars for the first time”
However, Bassi insists that he and his team don’t indulge in anything as vulgar as up-selling. ‘We are not pushing to expand their palette,’ he says carefully. ‘Our customers actively ask us to help them through the scheme. Some of them really like to play with the different possibilities. ‘Inspiration comes from different fields, not strictly automotive, especially when it comes to Tailor-made. We find ourselves developing new materials that are appearing in cars for the first time. A client might come to us and ask to use the same material they are wearing, and we try to develop it for automobile use. This means running lots of tests for suitability in an automotive application before we agree to the request. ‘But because we have such low volumes, we can generally meet clients’ requirements. We want to develop their ideas. Contact with customers is one of the main reasons for offering a service like this. Of course, Ferrari is a business, too, but we don’t have to push a particular idea on a client simply because we may have sold it somewhere else.’ Long-term fans and clients will appreciate that the interior quality of contemporary Ferraris has reached impressive new levels. Design Director Flavio Manzoni and his team have implemented a striking new aesthetic, navigating a fine line between a highly technical feel and a classically luxurious one. Clients can then move the mood in either direction, according to preference.

The temptation not to push the envelope must be almost impossible to resist, as you can tell from some of the images on these pages. Paolo Pininfarina, scion of that famous design dynasty, exercised great taste and discretion when he specified his FF. Its exterior is an historic “evening blue”, with polished aluminium inserts, and stunning rich Tuscan leather inside. ‘I wanted to create a car that my father would have liked,’ Pininfarina tells us. ‘An FF in this colour, and full of rich, understated and elegant detailing, is the car that Sergio would have ordered. But I’m also drawn to things that are special, that really stand out.’ Another client elected to pay homage to the 1956 250 GT Zagato (see TOFM, issue 20) when he was seeking inspiration for his new Ferrari. The exterior blue might be traditional, but the light blue leather and white inserts manage to reference that subtle Ferrari classic while looking wholly contemporary. True elegance is timeless, perhaps. The F12berlinetta hardly needs go-faster stripes, yet it gains an overwhelming sense of purpose in canna di fucile (gun barrel grey) overlaid with a rosso fuoco bodywork stripe, with a matt black grille, carbon fibre kit with highlights, and painted alloys. This treatment doesn’t just change the car’s character, it gives it a whole different purpose. Inside, the red theme recurs, with “Cremisi” Frau leather on the seats and an amazing black 3D “sail” fabric inlay. It feels technical.

Continuing the nautical theme, Ferrari’s North American team worked with the factory to tailor an FF specially for August’s Pebble Beach concours event. The resulting “Ocean” concept beautifully elucidates the Inedita idea.The exterior is an all-new colour called “Blue CHR” (Californian Hydro Reflection) while the cabin is trimmed in a notably soft furniture leather called Boxmark Royal. The seats are inlaid with Kvadrat Canvas, a contemporary textile that is 90 per cent wool and 10 per cent nylon, and boasts environmentally friendly properties as well as looking good. Italian fashion designer Giulio Ridolfo worked with Ferrari to develop it. Teak wood is used inside, on the sills, and most significantly in the boot area. It’s lacquered in a finish that uses nano-technology to offer the necessary robustness.

“We are coherent with the brand, so we reserve the right to say no”
Naturally, Tailor-made reflects the vicissitudes of global taste. What is au courant in Beijing may not be so in Berlin. Is anything actually forbidden? Aristotle Onassis had the bar stools on his private yacht Cristina O trimmed in whale’s foreskin, a revelation that may have been lost on the likes of Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe and Maria Callas, all of whom stayed on-board. Rest assured, such a thing will never grace the cabin of your Ferrari. ‘We are coherent with the brand, so we reserve the right to say no,’ Bassi says. ‘We balance the business side with growing our relationship with the customer. That’s a good equilibrium point. Everything in a Ferrari is connected with functionality, and we would not do something that doesn’t help us to develop the brand.’ You could call it engineering good taste. James Bond would surely approve.

From issue 23, Yearbook 2013

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  • Rastislav Mahdal

    Určite si to ešte prečítam…,no dnes už nie a aj vám prajem krásnu dobrú noc !!! <3