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Like the residents of Niagara Falls in Canada, who never ever get over the awesomeness of this great natural wonder, the man-made wonder that is Ferrari, cannot ever stop being exciting for those who work at the place I went to for this story. For every little boy, including the ones old enough and rich enough to able to afford to buy one, the wondrous emporium in Egham that sells Ferraris to the Surrey Elite, Maranello Sales, is a place of legend. My friends’ little boy James begs to go that route on the way to grandma’s house, so they can see the Ferraris all lined up.

This little boy arrived a half hour early.

Yes, like mendacious business executives getting on aeroplanes and pretending they hate to fly, Maranello employees absolutely must get a little frisson, every single time they arrive at work. Driving into the gates of the old BBC Television Centre was a similar excitement for me, no matter how many times I went.

And it is funny how we have preconceptions about a brand. My only first hand experience of Ferrari had been the chap at Ferrari North Europe, who is a 24 Karat Righteous Dude in my book. He answered my initial voicemail message and has been as good at keeping me in the loop as anybody I ever dealt with, since. It may be to do with a bit of an insight I had about the nature of Ferrari infotainment. For there is a special aspect-ratio screen, an oblong, made just for use by your passenger, placed right in front of them. And amongst a collection of other things, it can operate the sat nav. The passenger can program in an extra stop en route, while you are live on the navigation. I immediately said that this was unique, while we were talking. Not Rolls, Nor Bentley, nor anybody has done that. To his credit, he could tell that I knew my stuff.

Prior to this, my entire experience of the brand has been other journalists’ output and F1 coverage and Clarkson on Top Gear. And bizarrely, I had a massive misconception about the whole thing. I had thought Ferrari was a rather strait-laced, stiff necked brand, all pompous and remote and lofty.

It isn’t. THAT is a simple product of the cost of them and how people get treated when they are of high net worth. It is also why the wealthy like to blend in sometimes, so they can tell how people treat them when they are ‘just folks’. I learned this reality, the actual philosophy, inside the car, with one of the specialists. It isn’t just about the driver. Ferrari fully recognise (and I suspect they always have) that the passenger is getting their very own part of the sheer delight of being in a Ferrari. To this end, in the Lusso, there is a special touch screen display for the front passenger. And it is what this does that has all the proof one might ever wish, that Ferrari want you, as passenger, to be having almost as much fun as the pilot. It is so cool…

There was a decent run-up to get to see the car (labile delivery dates, and I think a VERY famous journo who had a go on it first) and a part of that was effectively about sufficient introduction to be allowed access and assistance at the dealership. I guess I had become a little blasé about being around these cars, (without losing the thrill, mind) because of my work with the Billionaire Boys’ cars at Auto Audio in London. I had been setting up to do high-angle intro shots of the shiny Ferrari sign, when I got told off. I had arrived horribly early as the M25 from M1 to M3 is an ugly section to rely upon and rather than nag the executive who was busy at his desk in the hour ‘before the journalist arrived’, I said my ‘hellos’ to the receptionists and figured I would save time for later and just shoot the intro images.

However, what I hadn’t had the wit to realise is that these cars were all for sale and were going to become someone’s private pride and joy. Thus seeing ‘your’ car all over social media or where ever, prior to your purchase is really a bit infra-dig - even worse if you are the dealer. A little lack of experience there. After that, I was introduced to the unlucky executive who drew the short straw…me. Neil was unflappable, knowledgeable, rapid on the uptake of the audio fodder I gave him and good and clear on camera, without any nervousness at all. I just had to press ‘go’ on the camera and use the Woody The Cowboy Doll trick of just pulling the ring on the string and letting Neil do his thing. As you will see, the passenger is not just ‘hang on and shut up’. The maker wants you squealing in delight.

Now the gently funny bit is that being Ferrari, there is often a little upwards-filtering of the charm of the handmade. This is not a hard-edged corporate environment. There is passion and sheer giddy excitement in the mix and when we got to the petrol station, my pilot actually had to look out of his door the check which side the petrol filler cap was on. The arrow by the gauge, I learned about on YouTube, or the petrol hose nozzle is used to show which side on the binnacle display…sometimes! It happened to be the same side as the hose on our gauge. For when fuel is low, the warning indicator dominates the screens with efforts to prevent you from embarrassment. Thus, we had to fuel the car just to show me the infotainment. It meant I felt a tad of the six hundred horses, capable of over 200mph. (But maybe not with me in it….)

A massive thanks to the folks at Ferrari North Europe for organising this for me and the inestimable patience of the executives at Maranello, who delegated Neil to look after me and resulted in some great material, that I think may well get well-viewed. The little ride to the petrol station was a delight.

Check this deeply animated LUSSO T website thing.. it is rather whizzy…

If you want to go drool and shop for one, then this is a good place to start. http://www.london-maranello.ferraridealers.com/en_gb/

Their Twitter account https://twitter.com/MaranelloSales

Yes, there are other dealerships… but this is the one I too was driven past as a lad. They have been there a long time. For 2017 is Ferrari’s 70th year, and Maranello’s sixtieth, (they think, I just asked!) I know it is going to be there for the next generation of motor car fanatics to dream about shopping at.. just like me, Adam Rayner aged fifty-five, and James Durward-Brown, aged ten.



CONFESSION EDIT: I made a major boob, and the sales chap at Maranello was so in awe of the fact that I knew JBL meant something, that he let me steamroller over the inaccuracy.


The rear entertainment screens that can be ordered as an extra, are exactly that. The MAJOR innovative step is the graphics made to fit the smaller passenger FRONT screen, the one with the special aspect ratio, to operate the sat nav. VIDEO ALSO EDITED.