Where did it all begin. Who is the man behind Ferrari? Where do you go if you want to test drive one of the stylish cars in motor history. There is a town in northern Italy, near Bologna, called Maranello. This has been home to Ferrari since the 1940s. The location size is about 250,000 sq metres, a few factories here and there. Well about 45 buildings to be exact and more than 3,000 workers is where it’s all happening. Red signifies the word passion. So the super cool Italian called Enzo was a man of innovation he created a company famous for GT and Formula 1 cars. On 3 December 1942, Enzo Ferrari chose to go to Maranello because, as he wrote in his memoirs, he owned “a piece of land in the immediate vicinity of where the factory is today”.
Dream Comes True
Who is Aven Dawson? He is good looking, well spoken Englishman and very educated indeed. In fact he has a life time of celebrity stories than one could not even find in Hollywood. The following picture and story is Aven Dawson living out his dream. For me any man turning up in a vintage Panda is brave indeed. So much so Aven got some smiles from the Ferrari team when he turned up at the factory. Out of respect to Aven who showed loyalty to the Italian Fiat car dealers. Was given a Ferrari sticker for him to stick on his Panda. In a heart beat this is Aven’s story about a man who went from rags to riches if only for an hour.
Modena, Enzo Ferrari Modena
Like everything on this trip I had no Idea what to expect, of course Home of Ferrari and the Italian F1 Race track Modena. I had booked a hotel for 3 day 2 nights, the 1st day spent recovering from a weeks cruise infused with too many G&Ts, with occasional Safire Collins. When I turned up at Modena I was looking for parking, but I must have taken a wrong turn as suddenly I’m right in front of the original workshop where it all started, I got out of the car to see where I was. Unfortunately no chance for a photo of the Panda as someone promptly pointed me in the right direction, shame it would have been a great photo!
The Italian Men Culture and Style
This town has about 70 Ferraris running around at the same time during the day. So fair play to these locals chilling out when from 1pm – 4pm everyone goes for lunch and the local town is somewhat a stone cold silence. I met a local and he said that the local cafe had some locals that had worked at Ferrari in the pits back in the late 40s, early 50s, So I found it and had a coffee or two! They were all sitting playing cards, you could tell they were real characters, all dress different one in a suit, one even chewing on a cigar! I did want to be rude, but I did manage to get a couple of discreet photos!
Museum was good, quality not quantity, I was lucky due to my press cards, I managed to get in before they officially opened, Hence the almost empty rooms!
Time For Take Off
The draft team gave me the keys, See Ya!! I walked around town and yes, Ferraris everywhere, must have seen 40+ for a fee you can Test Drive any Ferrari for 10-20-90 mins, so I booked a 10 min drive in a 430. The next day, at lunch time, all the Ferraris have to leave town, so as the locals can have their lunch in peace from the noise, however there was a California (that is usually double the price) that had yet to leave just sitting in the drive. So as they couldn’t bring a 430 back they let me drive the California. What they do is have a guide sitting next to you showing you the best roads to take! (and to make sure you don’t drive it home). Due to my work I have driven a Ferrari before. In pure Italian style a long detail lesson took place before take off. (5 min) . So I managed not to stall her! That’s respect to the industry right there.
So out the open road I go. Now keep in mind I am use to a very fast vintage panda and it’s not worth over £200,000. Super excited we are out of the pit stop and adrenaline has kicked in. We are off. Then those famous words and a look said, Forza Italia, go, go go. This is no time for backing out when you have a screaming Italian guide at your side. And off we went, like a passenger sitting in the plane taking off. Yes the power of a Ferrari will set you back right in your seat. Now I am use to having to see many cars from behind. But hey I just got remind by the indestructible Italian guide. I kid you not, he really thought this car was fearless. He said it’s a clear pass, GO, GO, GO. Sweat poring, biceps pumping, I am Michael Shumacher in the making. Once again the force of machine that defines a man which is me is now riding those corners like skates to an ice- ring. I use to be a professional ice skater. So I know what it feels like.
The Italian guide somewhat impressed by my driving skills.This Italian guide was a tad impulsive. He realised we needed to fuel up. Now that’s ok when you are use to driving into a petrol station in a vintage panda. Not sure what was more stressing driving at a speed of lightening or trying not to smash into a petrol bowser. We survived and take of out of the pit once again. This time, no need for encouragement. I’m formula 1 Aven Dawson in the making. A quick glance at my Italian navigator. The sign of respect was given and off we went. This car can go from zero to 60miles per hour in 3.4 seconds. I just want to remind you that a Ferrari can go as fast as 200 – 220 miles per hour.
I would highly recommend this to anyone. Probably a good idea to get lessons first as these Italians really do think that the Ferrari can drive on it’s own. It’s an experience of a life time and one I shall return to next year. I am Aven ‘Schumacher’ Dawson. Who lived a dream and set off in my epic vintage panda. Back to reality.