Stamped into history
There's a new stamp out in Italy and I'm quite excited by it!
I doubt many people on here are avid philatelists so I'll keep this as car-based as I can. There's a new stamp out and it's got a bonkers Ferrari on it.
If you're going to pick a subject for a stamp, you can't go far wrong with a Modulo.
That car is the 1970 Ferrari Modulo. There's only one of them, it was originally built as a pure show car, to be paraded around at shows to show off just how good the pen of Pininfarina is, and a little bit as to how the Ferrari of the future could look. This was after all the 1970s, concept cars of the future were wedgy, low slung wonders of engineering powered by a 5.0 V12, ideal for 2020 really... But ignoring Ferrari's horrendous foresight into a world so vastly different to when this car was launched, let's take a peep at what makes this so special.
A Ferrari 512S shot at Castle Combe back in 2017 by yours truly.
If we were to piggle back the white sculpted lines of the Modulo we'd find the Ferrari 512S, a racing car. The Modulo is built on chassis number 27 and it's a matching numbers car, yes, the engine from the 512 racer is still there. It's the engine that gives the base car its name, a five-litre, twelve-cylinder engine. The banks are at 60° and with dual overhead cams, it produces 552 brake horsepower. This is then mated to a manual five-speed transmission and it sends its power to the aft to a set of massive tyres. I think they are the same dimensions as the ones you got on the Testarossa, but I could be wrong. Anyhow. The 512S was a decent racer and faced off against the Porsche 917K and pretty much lost. Ferrari's outdated management of the racing outfit, heavier car and a centre of gravity that was higher than the Porsches meant that the 512 wasn't that much of a competitor.
Mike Parkes driving a 512S to 4th place at the 1970 Nürburgring 1000kms.
Anyway, the Modulo, yes. It's built on chassis number 27 which was a then converted to the Can-Am spec 612, the next step was to take away most of it. Everything was pulled from the car apart from suspension, wheels, brakes. The engine and gearbox were replaced by casings, it was a show car, a thing to put on a stand for people to go "oooh" at, it didn't need an engine in it. Paolo Martin at Pininfarina then fitted it with that spaceship bodywork and called it a day. The reality of it is that Martin was supposed to be working on the Rolls Royce Camargue at the time, but seems to have spent a lot of time moonlighting on this which resulted in the decidedly porky looking Roller. Attention was clearly going on his pet project, and not the 2-door Silver Shadow. Still, the car was finished and was painted tuxedo black and shown off at car shows around the world. It would spend a few moments of its life on the road being pushed down hills to give the illusion of speed, and freewheeled onto show stands. Up until about five years ago.
Artwork. Literal artwork.
The car went on a world tour which lasted 17 years oddly enough, and for this, it was painted white, which is the colour everyone knows it as. And then it sort of disappeared. A few museum appearances, and little else. Then a man called Jim Glickenhaus decided he'd very much like it, so he got on the phone to Pininfarina, who were a little tight for cash at the time, and if they'd gone bankrupt, chances were that the Italian government would have snatched it up as though it was a national treasure. So when Jim offered the good people at Pininfarina some dollar bills in exchange for the Modulo, they said yes, we'll take $2.3 million off of you.
In its 'tuxedo' livery
And that was pretty much that. For the princely sum of two-point-three million dollars, Jim had purchased a car with no engine. So he then put an engine in it. Because that's what you do isn't it? Giordano Diena and Andrea Silingardi, the sons of Gianni Diena and Aldo Silingardi, two blokes who in 1967 opened Sport Auto Modena, it was set up as an official Ferrari service centre and instead of paying them, either because he didn't want to, or because of Ferrari's near-constant money troubles, Enzo usually paid the men with bits. Literally with parts and components that they would catalogue and keep. They had all the engine parts needed to pull out the fake casing in the Modulo and slap in a proper 5.0 V12, as well as a gearbox to hang off the back of it. Add in some mirrors, a set of wiper blades, some custom road tyres from Michelin, and a ventilation system "otherwise you'd carbon monoxide yourself to death". And that was that. The Modulo's transformation from stage queen to an actual car was complete. A few other things had to be adjusted so you could actually drive it, like the steering rack, to allow the ginormous front wheels to turn under the spats, you know, the little things.
Such a striking design!
So a damned special car indeed and worthy of being on a stamp. While the car is way beyond the financial reach of us mere mortals, the stamp is a reasonable €1.10 and comes with a little booklet, and inked stamp of authenticity, all to celebrate 90 years of Pininfarina, and technically the 50th birthday of the Modulo. You can only get it from the post office of Cambiano, a town in Turin, Italy, and the home of Pininfarina. Ah well.