We all know that cars being ugly is no barrier to them selling well, but if you had the chance to make a good-looking car, why wouldn’t you?
Might I be bold enough to suggest that the new Competizione special edition of the Ferrari 812 Superfast is one such thing? I’m fond of the overall shape of it, certainly more than I like the regular 812 stance in itself, but more than that, I find myself going back to it to peer at the details.
I like the way the rear wing partly covers the tail-lights and that the swoopy bonnet-band-vent thing disappears into the wing tops, then seems to appear again at the bottom. These features add some intrigue without – to my eyes, at least – seeming too fussy.
Ferrari’s design takes a while to evolve. It has model lines that stick around for a while and then typically carries architecture over across a couple of model generations.
Flavio Manzoni became Ferrari’s design director in 2010 but hasn’t over fuel economy killed it entirely. had platforms whose evolution he has overseen from the outset for very long; but the Roma and this suggest that things are progressing nicely.
I’ll be interested to know, though, just what this new 819bhp monster is like. Extreme versions of midengined V8 Ferraris (the 458 Speciale, 488 Pista and so on) are brilliant but predictable in their ethos. They’re lighter, rawer versions of the original and standout Porsche 911 GT3 RS rivals.
But Ferrari has a habit of going off-piste when it comes to extreme variants of its V12 sports car.
The 599 GTO was slightly closer to the Speciale way of doing things, but it wasn’t as docile as one of the V8s.
And the F12tdf was wild. Ferrari wanted massive agility so effectively tried putting rear tyres on the front, and then, after realising that this made it undrivable, added active rear steering to make it (marginally) less frantic. And the engine? One Ferrari engineer confided to me that he thought it might be too responsive; yet the best way to get more power out of it will be to increase the revs and so the responsiveness again.
I hope this new 812 Superfast is as cohesive to drive as it is to look at. But I’ll appreciate the drama either way.
By the time you read this, I’ll have been jabbed. Encroaching middle age means I’m in the group currently being called up. The nice thing about this is that I’ll receive it at Bicester Heritage, the old airfield turned classic machinery hub near where I live that has been repurposed as a Covid-19 vaccination centre.