Tangled Up in Blue: Ferrari 575 Superamerica by Hot Wheels Elite
Every manufacturer has its own loyal customer base, those who have religiously purchased cars from that one brand for as long as they've been on this Earth. This can be for good, but it also can be for worse, as those loyal customers will often go beyond themselves to make sure a car from that brand is bought, driven, and kept up with the way they believe its best. Ferrari is no different, and their customers can range from the most laid-back, coolest individuals you'd ever meet, to the snootiest, most self-absorbed crazies in the world. But nothing can divide a room of Ferrari enthusiasts more than the mere mention of paint color.
Since the early days of Ferrari and their vast racing history, the color of choice for most models wearing the illustrious prancing horse has been red, or "Rosso Corsa" according to the marque's color charts. The story behind the color is simple: during the early 20th century when automotive racing was in its early years, each country picked a certain color to represent themselves out on the track. Naturally, Italy picked red, and thus every Alfa Romeo, Maserati, and yes, Ferrari, drove out onto the track wearing a thick coat of flaming red paint. But as the years went on and the national racing color idea was abandoned, Ferrari stuck with the red paint, becoming a symbol of the brand.
But here's where I differ: I don't think Ferraris look good in red. In fact, I don't think red looks good on many cars, but that's besides the point. Red is a color that, to me, muddles the fine lines of a car, and for a brand that prides itself on beautiful styling, a bright red such as Rosso Corsa just makes the car look flat. Sure, not all Ferrari reds are awful, some of the deeper ones make the cars look fantastic, but I myself prefer something along the darker side, like a black, or a silver, or in the case of my 1/18 Hot Wheels Elite 575 Superamerica: blue.
"What on Earth is a 575 Superamerica?" you might be asking. Well, during the early 2000s, Ferrari's entry into the front-engined V12 grand tourer market was the 575M Maranello. The 575M was a cracking car, a wonderfully reworked variant of the older 550 Maranello, but Ferrari seemed keen to make an entry into the growing convertible GT market made popular by the Mercedes SL-Class. But, Ferrari being Ferrari, couldn't make a normal convertible, oh no. They decided that the best way to drop the top on the 575M was by means of a retractable glass canopy roof that would fold into the rear area of the car.
The 575M stands as one of my favorite Ferrari models ever made. I think it's utterly gorgeous with perfect FR proportions and simple yet sumptuous Pininfarina lines, but the Superamerica's lack of a roof turns a gorgeous car into a jaw-dropping machine. Think of it this way: Scarlett Johansson is already beautiful as is, but when she puts on a gorgeous black dress, she becomes something almost too beautiful to behold. That's what the Superamerica feels like to me.
When I picked up my last model, the cheap AutoArt Diablo, I decided that it was time to drastically enhance my supercar collection as is, and so my next thought was to find a Ferrari. But, me being me, it couldn't be anything ordinary. No LaFerrari, no 458, nothing like that. It'd have to be something that nobody else could possibly think of. When I saw this Blu Pozzi 575 going for $90 on eBay, I couldn't resist. It was almost love at first sight.
This also stands as my first foray into Hot Wheel's Elite collection. Hot Wheels used to own the license to produce 1/18 Ferraris almost exclusively, and within this time they had two lines with which they operated. The main line was a bog standard bargain 1/18 line. They had quality and detailing that was above the bottom barrel of Maisto and Bburago, but they still couldn't quite match the level of someone such as AutoArt, usually sacrificing opening features to keep prices down. The Elite line, on the other hand, brought the type of quality you'd expect from someone such as AutoArt, with full opening features, higher detail, carpeted interiors, and quirky play features such as pop-up headlamps.
I do have a main-line Ferrari in my collection, that being a 1995 F355 (in Rosso Corsa, but I bought that because of the fact that one was featured in the James Bond film Goldeneye), so I was excited to see how the Elite line differs. I think I made a great choice, because there's a lot of great quality here. It's an extremely well-put together model, with tons of beautiful interior detailing, and wonderful little extras such as the fully-operating roof and a small Ferrari toolkit.
While the F355 suffered from a lack of opening features like the engine compartment and trunk, I'm happy that I can actually open the hood of the 575 and gaze upon the beauty of that V12. The traditional tan interior has a lovely pop against the dark blue exterior, accented with gorgeous aluminum trim and carpeting. Even the wheels and brakes have brilliant attention to detail, showcasing the rivets within the wheels and the deep red brake calipers with the Ferrari script.
But with every model, there's always a few little issues that will bug me and anyone with a trained eye. For example, I can't help but feel like the front suspension on this model sits a little higher than the rear, making the car have this awkward lift near the front. I've never seen a Superamerica in real life, but judging by pictures online, I don't think the front end should have ground clearance that rivals my Subaru Outback. Also, my particular model has a factory defect of a missing Ferrari emblem on the trunk. But, that's not surprising, coming from a company known for barely keeping its tampos together on their 1/64 cars. These are only two small issues though, hardly enough to make this car not worth the purchase in my opinion.
This little blue Ferrari is a perfect example of why I stand by my opinion that these more subtle colors are the best for the brand. It turns the car from a loud, brash supercar into a classier, more luxurious grand tourer, and Hot Wheels Elite did a smashing job of bringing it to reality. I think it's cemented a new rule to my collecting: no more red Ferraris. Now, excuse me while I try to find a silver F40 in 1/18 scale.