For gen­tle­men rac­ers

Two very dif­fer­ent Fer­ar­ris prom­ise to give their own­ers equal driv­ing plea­sure

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING - ALWYN VILJOEN

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.

PHOTOS: FER­ARRI, MON­TEREY AUC­TION

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.

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