You won’t see the Icona Monza models in Singapore unless it’s behind closed doors, but these new barchettas are hugely important for Ferrari. Here’s why…
MARANELLO, ITALY — Ferrari took the wraps off two versions of a car from its new Icona series, the Monza SP1 and Monza SP2 today.
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The two are limited-edition cars that will be offered to customers by invitation only, and eligible buyers pre-selected by dealers were in the iconic brand’s hometown of Maranello in Northern Italy to have a look, starting yesterday.
What’s the idea here?
“Icona” is a new segment within Ferrari that plumbs the brand’s evocative past, in this case from the 1950s. It’s one way Ferrari can boost profits without raising its production volume in a way that would dent its exclusivity. If anything, the new cars intensify Ferrari’s brand value instead of detracting from it, by reminding everyone that its 70 year history is full of iconic cars.
Which particular icons are being mined here?
The Monza SP1 and SP2 are a play on the racing barchettas of the past — the term is an Italian one for “little boat” but is used to refer to open top two seat cars. Ferrari’s 166 MM from 1948 is one inspiration, due to its race-winning heritage — it triumphed at the Mille Miglia, a thousand-mile race on public roads from Rome to Brescia and back, which explains the “MM” designation.
The new cars more obviously recall the 750 Monza (pictured above) and 860 Monza racing models, which won races repeatedly in the World Sports Car Championships.
Why two versions?
The SP1 and SP2 and single and dual-seat versions of the car. Customers can choose either one, but not both.
As with the original Monza racers, the main idea is to take the cockpit-like environment of a Formula One racing car and transplant it to the road, but with the biposto you can take someone along for the ride, screaming beside you. There’s racing precedent for that; the Mille Miglia was run with co-drivers.
But are they just retro styling exercises?
Far from it. If anything, Ferrari styling chief Flavio Manzoni says he wants the cars to get as far away from retro as possible. There’s some interesting tech in the form of a virtual windscreen — an aero device that blocks air and shunts it up over the driver’s head. Super slim full LED headlights are another tech highlight, along with forged 21-inch alloys and a full-width rear LED lamp that looks like it flowed straight from a designer’s pen.
What’s under the bonnet, then?
Here’s where the SP1 and SP2 get properly hardcore. Ferrari focused on — what else — loads of power and chopping weight. The V12 (all the front-engine icons of Ferrari have 12 cylinders) that powers them is the most powerful one Ferrari has ever built for a road car, with 810hp at 8,500rpm. It’s revvy, too, with 710Nm of peak torque at a frantic 7,000rpm. Ferrari says its variable length inlet tracts are straight out of F1.
Most of the body is carbon fibre (more than 215 square feet of the stuff has been used, on a car with a footprint of 100 sq ft.) to keep the weight low. The SP1 weighs 1,500kg and the SP2, 20kg more. They’ll hit 100km/h in 2.9 second and, more importantly, blitz past 200km/h another 5 seconds later.
Ferrari’s marketing boss Nicola Boari says it’s a thrilling car to drive but isn’t difficult. It’s also the closest thing to F1 that Ferrari offers, he reckons.
But it’s full of modern tech, such as the “e-diff” traction apportioning system, and four wheel steering. Fast but not fearsome, is our guess.
Looks like you’d need a helmet?
That sure seems to be the case, and a whole lot more besides. Ferrari has teamed up with high-end fashion labels Loro Piana and Berluti to develop a range of accompanying pilot attire — a driving suit with accompanying gloves, scarf and so on.
A helmet, goggles and driving shoes are also in the works. The good news is, they’ll come with the car.
What’s the bad news?
If you haven’t already been invited to buy one, you probably never will, even if several Toto tickets come good for you at once. Ferrari says it will build “less than 500” of them, which likely means 499 in total. Ferrari isn’t sharing a price until the Paris motor show later this month, but our guess is that it’ll cost seven figures pre-tax.
We’re also guessing all of them will be booked by the time you read this.
The SP1 and SP2 split will be determined by market demand. You won’t see one on Singapore roads, though, as it’s left-hand drive only. This is one for the collectors, in other words, and those always sell out.
What about the SUV?
There isn’t going to be one. At least, not for a while. Ferrari’s new CEO Louis Camilleri (pictured below) presented the company’s plans from now till the end of 2022 to the press and investors, and he said A, it won’t be a true Sport Utility Vehicle, and B, Ferrari won’t build it until after the current five-year business plan is over.
But everyone is doing an SUV! Rolls-Royce… Lambo… Aren’t they missing out?
Camilleri said Ferrari won’t release the new car until it’s “perfect”. He grimaces whenever someone mentions a rival brand, but from the little details he shared, it does sound like it will be different: it’ll be hybrid, a four-seater and it will have a transaxle layout (meaning the engine will be up front while the twin clutch gearbox will be in the back), for better weight distribution and with it, better handling.
No other details?
Just one: the new not-SUV will be called the Purosangue. That’s Italian for “thoroughbred”. Say “pyoo-ro-san-guway”.
Erm, pyoorosanguway. So… more of the same from Ferrari until it comes?
Yes and no. Camilleri has committed to doubling Ferrari’s earnings to 1.8 to 2.0 billion Euros a year (that’s S$2.9 to S$32 billion) by the end of 2022, so he’s going to have to sell more cars, and find a way to charge more for each of them.
How many more?
He won’t say, but not so many that Ferraris become commonplace, of course. Anyway his plan is to broaden the product line-up, not just build more of the same cars.
The mid engine V8 car range will split into hardcore and softer sportscars, and the same will happen to the V12 GT models. “Not everyone who loves Ferrari yearns for a high performance sports car,” he said. Some people are drawn to the brand’s “authenticity”, craftsmanship, quality, comfort and so on.
Michael Leiters, Ferrari’s chief technology officer, indirectly said that there will be a mid-engine V12 model, which the brand currently doesn’t have. You know, a bit like an Aventador.
Leiters and gang are also working on a V6 engine family. They’ll use turbocharging to boost performance, and borrow hybrid tech from F1 to do the same (improved fuel economy will be a bonus).
So… lots of new stuff is coming?
Yep. Basically, Ferrari will have one mid-engine and front engine platform, V12, V8 and V6 engines, hybrid tech and turbocharging to play with. There will be 2 seaters, 2+2 seaters and a 4 seater (that is, the Purosangue).
Mix and match them all and you’ll see 15 new models debut between 2019 and 2022. By then, 60 percent of Ferrari’s output will consist of hybrid cars.
“Take our money! Take our money!”
And don’t forget the new Icona line. 500 Monzas at say, a million bucks each is one way for Ferrari to add an easy half a billion to its top line.
So many Ferraris, so little money…
Well, maybe you could start by looking at Ferrari’s shares? They’ve more than doubled since the company was first floated in 2015, and Camilleri seems committed to keeping shareholders happy.
He’s increased the dividend payout ratio and says Ferrari will buy back 1.5 billion Euros of its own stock. This isn’t financial advice* of course, but if you can’t buy a Ferrari… maybe you’ll get closer by buying a slice of Ferrari itself?
*seriously, do NOT take financial advice from us