Oh, Baby, I'm in a Ferrari


"We have lots of entrepreneurs. We have lots of corporate CEOs. We have a lot of people you would never recognize on the street. There are certainly people you would recognize -- athletes, CEOs, whatever. All walks of life," Andy said. "Those who own Ferraris typically own other luxury brands. Again, most of our owners have multiple cars in their fleets. They might have two, three, four, five … 10 … 50."

Fifty cars? I don't even own 50 pairs of socks let alone 50 luxury cars.

And that's only if you can get your hands on a new one. Turns out, paying the steep price is only half the battle in buying a new Ferrari. There is waiting list for a new 599 GTB.

But Matteo said some customers actually sped up the process by flying in their new car straight from the factory in Italy, which saves about a month.

Ferrari sold about 1,500 cars in North America this year and hopes to sell more next year.

And the company's customers are loyal -- more than 60 percent of those who buy Ferraris already own or previously owned a Ferrari.

"A lot of people, when they pick up their car, say, 'Put me on your list for your next car,'" Andy said. "They may keep the car they already have, but they are in that cycle."

A new Ferrari starts at just under $180,000. But Andy suggests to new customers that they buy a used car in the meantime.

"Ferraris are generally not everyday driving cars. Generally speaking, people don't commute to work in a Ferrari," Andy said. "So they tend to be lower miles. So you can buy a 2- or Ferrari with 5,000 miles on it. It's a great way for the customer to get into the lifestyle and develop a relationship with the dealer."

Three Words

When I think of Ferraris, the three words that pop into my mind are Italian muscle, power and style.

For Andy, the favorite word was "passion." For Matteo, it was "tradition."

"This car wants to be in the tradition of other Ferraris of the past. It recalls other Ferrari models," Matteo said.

The 599 GTB looks like its ancestors. It has a long hood, the cabin is pushed back, and the rear end is decorated with round, red taillights. My two-seater GTB was dressed all in black.

For a quarter-million-dollar car, I expected the door to fly open, futuristic-style. But nothing fancy here -- it's actually quite heavy and bulky.

The smell of the charcoal leather in the 599 was no different than any other luxury car. It also feels the same. The seat feels like sitting in a baseball glove.

In the driver's seat, I sat looking slightly upward; my head and arms protected on all sides. I was face level with the steering wheel. There was no need to look for arm rests or cup holders because there are none -- the aerodynamic design didn't leave extra room for such trivial amenities.

There is, however, an advanced stereo and air-conditioning system.

"Breathtakingly fast car. Unbelievable performance, but still you want to be comfortable," Andy said.

I immediately wanted to check out how cool I was sitting in a new Ferrari. I turned down the sun visors to catch a glimpse of myself, but no mirror.

I was forced to push myself up from my seat and look through the rearview mirror. Yeah, I looked awesome!

But what was even more awesome was that almost everything I needed to drive the car was located around the steering wheel.

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