Speed / April 2019

Italian Masterstroke: Ferrari’s Convertible GT

The Italian powerhouse’s latest creation is intended to offer a blend of traditional Ferrari performance and relaxed ‘grand touring’ cruising ability – making it perfectly suited to relaxing on a sunny coastal road after a quick trip across California.

It’s said that the romance of racing informs a manufacturer’s sportscar offerings. In the case of Ferrari, racing was the only reason for existence. Founder Enzo Ferrari only built cars so he could race, and he only raced to win. Any model built for the road was simply so he could profit and continue building cars for the track. “Nothing else matters,” he famously quipped.

As a result, every Ferrari ever built is race-bred. Indeed, the very name Ferrari has become synonymous with the greatest sportscars in the world. Fortunately for Enzo, the surge in popularity of the mid-century GT meant Il Commendatore could continue funding his racing obsession.

The concept of the GT is firmly Italian. Make no mistake, the British, for one, were making very fast, reliable and reasonably comfortable long-distance performance cars as early as the 1920s (think Bentley). But the concept of a Grand Tourer – taken from the Italian Gran Turismo – didn’t really emerge until after World War II.

The key classification for a GT was the harmonious combination of supreme performance and luxurious comfort for extended periods. Since a quiet cabin was an important aspect of this, hardtops – not convertibles – qualified.

Contributor

Jared Zaugg

Jared Zaugg is insatiably curious and a raconteur by trade. As a marketing and branding consultant focusing on the intersection of lifestyle, motoring and culture, he has a weakness for the classics that resulted in the book Gentlemen, Start Your Engines! (Gestalten 2015).