Ed - I think you have to break down the internet/car enthusiast issue into two components - the (1) accessibility of information for consumption/education for the enthusiasts and (2) legitimate research of the marque.
On part 1, I generally agree w/ you; you no longer have to subscribe to Prancing Horse, Cavallino and Forza to have an understanding of Ferrari history (although I think you are much, much better educated if you do). Much of it is available on the internet - not necessarily in any cogent format - to give enthusiasts a basic education on most of the history.
Leading to part 2, if you really want to get into the historical nitty-gritty, you are a fool if you rely on information from a lot of internet sources - Barchetta.cc comes to mind - since there is a ton of bogus info out there that seems to become legitimized thru repetition on the internet. Perfect example is our Mondial; the info on barchetta.cc on our car is completely screwed up (between the listings on 0446 and 0556) and has never been corrected even though the correct info has been sent several times in the last 8 years or so. Easily more than half of Marcel Massini's posts in vintage f-chat are spent debunking bad info.
The notion that "the little club of ferrari 'istas' is a thing of the past" is a little irritating to me if you are referring to people like Merritt, Roush, Bachelor, Seielstad, Bluemel, Massini, etc. that have spent decades smoking out the history/truth on these cars. I personally spent more days than I care to remember looking at microfilm of Italian sport newspapers from the 50s to help dad compile his database on race results - and I am a research gnat when it comes to the rest of the guys I just listed. What the internet has done is to provide a platform for faster communication between the researchers - telaio is based off the f-chat platform. But the really serious researchers communicate via email groups. It comes down to the reliability of the source of the info. The first things I think when I see some new historical "fact" on the internet is "who are you" and "what is your source". New stuff does occasionally come up on the internet - the "vintage Ferraris in Venezuela/South America" threads in f-chat vintage come to mind.
As for Gerald - I think he is actually doing just fine - I believe his circulation has increased w/ his online publication and the portion of the business that sells out-of-print Ferrari books is doing well as these books get harder to find. I bought the out-of-print Massini book on the 250LM at Cavallino last year from Gerald and Carol and asked Marcel to sign it since he was standing right there! For post-factory information, Gerald's info cache is staggering when you consider the thousands of Ferraris that have been in the FML since 1976. If you are ever looking at a used Ferrari, you can email Gerald and he will give you - for free - whatever history he has on the car; all he asks is that you give him the current info on the car. In the article Michael is citing, Gerald gives credit to the internet for allowing the online version of the FML; and he marveled at how far the publication process had come since the days when he and his wife stapled, folded and stuffed the FML into envelopes at the dining room table. He is a great guy and likes his single malt . . . . .
Last edited by bryanp; 12-31-2009 at 07:06 AM.