up in the same word the valley's inhabitants use to describe this paradise: superlative. Each switchback required either a downshift or application of the binders, yet fade was never remotely an issue.
Driving down from the Italian Alps, we arrived in Maranello after four, too late to enjoy lunch at Enzo's table at Il Cavallino directly across the street from the main gate of the Ferrari factory. We had always intended to invade Maranello and park both cars opposite the main gate, observing the reactions of passers-by.
At first, the Viper drew the most attention. Maybe it was its front mid-engined configuration that had a sort of kinship to classic Ferrari GT roadsters of the mid-Sixties.
Just after quitting time, a horde of Ferrari technicians and mechanics outfitted in their distinctive red and orange uniforms emerged from the main gate. The crowd was initially dismissive of both American interlopers. Then something unexpected happened: Everyone wanted their pictures taken with the Ford GT. The distant relative of the car that ended the Prancing Horse's run of six consecutive victories at Le Mans was finally afforded the respect it was due from the Ferrari faithful. It was a memorable scene.
We left Maranello about six, headed to Monaco 300 miles away. In a car capable of speeds well in excess of 150 m.p.h., one would think the casinos of Monte Carlo were just a two- or three-hour drive away. Unfortunately, such was not the case. Thanks to a monumental traffic jam and a wrong turn in Piacenza that cost us more than an hour, we did not arrive in Monaco until one o'clock Saturday morning.
The delay enabled me to fully appreciate the Ford GT's outstanding abilities as a long-distance tourer. Despite the day's aggressive itinerary, I never felt fatigued and, after a few miles, really felt as if the car was an extension of each of my senses. The seating position was perfect for my 5-foot-8-inch frame.
Speeding through the Italian night, I was finally able to take advantage of the vehicle's excellent McIntosh audio system, its subwoofer bellowing out crisp, clear bass from its home between the seats.
Our stopover in Monaco was all business. Florent Moulin, webmaster of GT40-1012.com, had arranged to block traffic in front of the Casino Monte Carlo in order to pose our Ford GT with chassis number 1012, a seven-liter GT40 MK II now owned by Yves Saguato. The comparison clearly illustrated how designer Camillo Pardo had captured the true essence of the GT40's classic lines while growing the car 10 percent in every dimension. Maybe Ford should have called it the GT44?
After our photos were in the can, number 1012 was pushed into Saguato's well-equipped trailer. The 1012 was in full vintage race trim, and starting it up in front of the casino--as much as the throng of admirers would have liked--was never considered. It would have woken up all those guests still sleeping in their $1,000-a-night beds.
We headed off to the corniche above the city to get what we really came for, tracking shots of the cars together. This afforded us the opportunity to capture both
|Previous Page||Next Page|