For gentlemen racers
Two very different Ferarris promise to give their owners equal driving pleasure
TWO very different Ferrari cars made the news this week.
The main attraction is the 2018 Portofino, Ferarri’s latest convertible, which will make its public debut at next month’s Frankfurt Auto Show, selling for $200 000 (over R2,6 million).
Ferarri said the 591-horsepower Portofino uses new pistons, conrods, intake, exhaust designs and twin turbos to wring a bit more power out of the California’s turbocharged V8.
The 0- 100 km/h run gets done in 3,5 seconds and the top speed is “over 320 km/h”.
The other Ferarri that made the news is the one-of-a-kind 1950 Uovo, which sold for $4,5 million (over R58,7 million) at the Monterey Auction in midAugust.
Specially designed by Franco Reggiani for Count Giannino Marzotto, the one-off race car was highly competitive in both Europe and North America.
Seldom exhibited in public, the car was accompanied by a personal report from Ferrari historian Marcel Massini.
He recounted how the four Marzotto brothers, all very talented drivers in their own right, invested large chunks of their family’s textile fortunes to become the best gentleman racers in Italy. He explained the Marzotto brothers were arguably the Scuderia’s most important customers in Ferrari’s earliest days.
“They not only kept the company on its feet by owning multiple Ferraris between themselves, but they also earned Ferrari great fame through their success on the race track.”
Massini said the Uovo is “the living expression of one of the greatest personalities of the Italian early fifties racing world”.
Count Giannino Marzotto won particular fame as one of the few racing drivers to win the Mille Miglia twice — a feat that immediately catapulted him among the likes of Tazio Nuvolari.
Winning his first Mille Miglia in 1950 wearing a double-breasted brown suit, Giannino’s spirit captured the hearts of Italian fans everywhere.
Conceived and executed by Giannino from start to finish, the Uovo is the epitome of a car envisaged by a racing driver without limitation of imagination and financial means. Several crashes also led to several rebuilds, each lighter and faster.
Completed by the factory on February 2, 1950 and delivered to brother Umberto Marzotto, chassis number 024 MB’s first outing was in the Targa Florio, where a clutch problem unfortunately sidelined the car.
The car’s next outing was at the Mille Miglia with Umberto and co-driver Franco Cristaldi.
It was crashed heavily and was fully rebuilt by Ferarri. After the Mille Miglia, the Marzottos were looking for even better results in 1951. Rather than fit the car with traditional coachwork from Touring, Fontana of Padova and the soon-to-be famous sculptor Franco Reggiani were commissioned to create a streamlined body, with maximum efficiency and performance in mind. The result, lovingly nicknamed “Uovo” (“egg” in Italian), was an automotive design like no other.
Heavily inspired by Reggiani’s previous aeronautical training, the Uovo took the shape of a jet, minus the wings. The windshield was made from crystal.
Massini said the opportunities that the Uovo provides its next owner with were limitless.
“Having competed in the Mille Miglia in period, it is of course welcome to return to that event as well as a number of other historic races,” he wrote.
“As it has never been shown at any concours event, it would surely be welcome at the most exclusive concours around the globe,” he concluded.
The 2018 Portofino (left) is Ferrari’s new ‘entry-level’ cabrio to replace the California. Its price of some R2,6 million seems a veritable snip, compared to the R58 million the unique 1950 Ferarri Uovo (right) fetched on auction last week.