Lose Pounds, Quickly
Oi, ferrari, ya fat bastards.
Back in the very early days of cars, they were ‘series produced’ but not yet truly mass produced; that is, each was a faithful copy of an original, but not yet built with interchangeable parts made to strict tolerances
So the people assembling the cars were ‘fitters’, meaning they had to massage the parts to make them go together – ease out a hole, scrape a bearing surface away slightly, and so on. With time and experience, they learned to achieve assembly removing less and less material, which lead to something called ‘dimensional creep’. The finished cars grew minutely larger.
Cars have been getting bigger ever since. We all know that a new VW Polo is bigger than the original Golf, and that a so-called Mini has the same wheelbase as the first Range Rover. Is there a car that became smaller? I don’t think so.
A lot of people imagine that the rash of short cars we’ve seen over the last decade or so – starting, famously, with the Smart FourTwo – will ease congestion, but I’m not so sure. It’s great for parallel parking, but not traffic jams. The length of the road is not the issue. It’s the width.
More heat, less meat. Ferrari should try my egg curry.
It’s therefore the width of cars that counts, and my concern is not with congestion, but fun. Cars are getting wider as well as longer and taller. Meanwhile, the sort of road where a supercar would be a right laugh hasn’t really evolved that much. I’m talking about winding back roads in England, Italy, France. They’ve been the same width since the Middle Ages.
The Ferrari GTC4 Lusso I drove last week is a tremendous car, but it would be even more tremendous if I could’ve punted it with vigour down a B-road. I couldn’t, not with complete confidence, because it was often more than half-a-road wide, and Antonio could be coming the other way in his van.
Now I have a Ferrari 308, I realise how much bigger the Ferrari 458 is. It’s 217mm wider, which isn’t a lot if you’re buying a house but a hell of a lot when you’re driving a car. Look at 217mm on your ruler. You get that much extra clearance on one side, in effect, because the other side of the car is at the edge of the road.
Extra power begets fatter wheels, which means more bodywork and more weight, and needs a beefier gearbox, and so it goes on. I want Ferrari to make something mid-engined but not much bigger than an MX-5; with a fizzy 2.5-litre turbo V8 of 375hp and weighing not more than a tonne. Fastest car in the real world, probably.
I’m avoiding saying ‘Dino’, because that’s what everyone always says. But you know what I mean.