Cars

<em>Photo: Dennis Noten</em>

Made to measure dreams

Belgian Ferrari owners are keen Tailor Made customers. From denim interiors to saddle leather seats, they are amongst the programme's best ‘ambassadors'
Words

Sylvain Reisser

Whilst for most people owning a Ferrari is the realisation of a life’s dream, there are many who want to go one step beyond: putting their own stamp on their dream machine. For these die-hard Ferraristi, there is the Tailor Made programme, which continues to tradition of “made-to-measure” vehicles begun in Maranello in the 1950s and which ensures that every such car produced is truly unique. Almost anything is possible, provided that the marque’s high standards of safety and quality - along with the tradition and prestige of the Ferrari brand - are respected.

Yellow and white stripes on the wheel rims are distinguishing features of this Ferrari 458 Speciale A<em> Photo: Dennis Noten<br /></em>
Yellow and white stripes on the wheel rims are distinguishing features of this Ferrari 458 Speciale A Photo: Dennis Noten

Tailor Made models are particularly popular with clients in Belgium. Indeed, explains Stéphane Sertang, the director of Ferrari Francorchamps Motors in Brussels and of the Francorchamps Motors service point in Luxembourg, his customers are amongst the best ‘ambassadors’ of the programme in the world, presenting their cars to prospects and telling them about their choices and their experiences with the programme.

Some models are over-represented, Sertang explains, referring to the 488 Pista, 488 Pista Spider and some V12 series. “More than one in two 488 Pista Spiders delivered by our Brussels dealership have participated in the Tailor Made programme, which has already completed more than 40 models since its launch in 2011”.

Top: a Ferrari Portofino with 'intrecciato' workmanship; bottom: this 488 Spider salutes the Ferrari 212 Inter of 1951<i> Photo: Dennis Noten</i>
Top: a Ferrari Portofino with 'intrecciato' workmanship; bottom: this 488 Spider salutes the Ferrari 212 Inter of 1951 Photo: Dennis Noten

This passion for personalisation owes nothing to chance. Within the extended Ferrari family, Sertang has built a Tailor Made community that meets regularly, and the circle is always growing. Two to three times a year, his Brussels dealership organises events dedicated to this special programme. With some 30 to 50 guests in attendance, these gatherings enable Tailor Made customers to share their experiences with enthusiasts who are themselves thinking of joining.

In addition to these occasions, a number of even more exclusive encounters are held: four times a year, dinners prepared by award-winning chefs are hosted for couples and small groups – of no more than ten people each – uniting Tailor Made ambassadors and amateurs who are considering going down the route of customisation. Sertang also relies upon the presence of one or two Tailor Made vehicles in the dealership to help guide customers as they choose from the vast array of options in the customisation catalogue. Sometimes he asks to borrow cars from his clients. Nobody has refused him yet.

The steering wheel on this Tailor Made GTC4Lusso carries the colours of the Italian flag<em> Photo: Dennis Noten</em>
The steering wheel on this Tailor Made GTC4Lusso carries the colours of the Italian flag Photo: Dennis Noten

“Customers are always very proud to show off their creations and share their passion”, he observes. “We were lucky enough to have been given the opportunity to make one of the first denim interiors for a 458 Spider. We’ve shown it to many devotees. Every time, it enables us to check how the denim fabric is wearing over time”. Not everything is allowed, of course: Ferrari does not allow the use of certain materials if the criteria relating to quality and longevity are not met.

For example, a few years ago one customer with a sweet spot for Riva motor boats had asked to cover the floor of his Ferrari with the same wood used in the Italian marine runabouts. At the time this was not possible, for safety reasons. In the event of an accident, the floor could have broken, injuring a passenger. “But the experts in the Tailor Made department eventually found a supplier who made a material with fibres that don’t break on impact and they were able to satisfy the customer’s request”, Sertang states.

The 458 Speciale A also carries a white stripe on the rear spoiler, another nod to the 2007 F1 victory <em>Photo: Dennis Noten</em>
The 458 Speciale A also carries a white stripe on the rear spoiler, another nod to the 2007 F1 victory Photo: Dennis Noten

Each project is exclusive, and designed around the owner of the vehicle. Participants in the pro- gramme are invited to the customisation workshop at Maranello, where they finalise their options. The combination of colour charts, upholstery options and interior materials means that several thousand combinations are available.

The requests keep coming in and Sertang is happy to be kept busy: “Our next Tailor Made project is a model decked out in the colours of a Ferrari raced by Belgian gentleman driver Jean Blaton, aka ’Beurlys’, during a career that included participation in no less than fifteen 24 Hours of Le Mans races”, he concludes. The message to enthusiasts is clear: let your imagination run wild.

Ferrari