Insight from one of the masters - Ferrari Life
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post #1 of 43 Old 12-31-2009, 04:22 AM Thread Starter
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Insight from one of the masters

From Gerald Rousch's New Year letter:

As a result the amount of misinformation
out there about Ferraris seems to have
multiplied. Not that we knew it all three
decades ago, but we knew how to evaluate
sources of information, and which were reliable
and which were not. Today there are
many legend-in-their-own-mind experts
out there pontificating on the internet, with
their “credentials” verified by how many
posts they have in chat rooms.
Which leads me to another major
change I have witnessed. Many of today’s
Ferraristi are not really Ferrari enthusiasts.
They have no appreciation, much less
knowledge, of the heritage, the history, the
mystique of the marque. They may not even
be automotive enthusiasts, with no appreciation
of any of the other great marques of
the past or present.
If anything, they are enamored only by
the image portrayed by Ferrari, and what
owning one of the cars from Maranello
does for their own image. The importance
of the image can be domonstrated by the
fact that Ferrari annually makes more profit
from licensing their image than they do by
selling cars.
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post #2 of 43 Old 12-31-2009, 05:00 AM
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Sounds like the rumblings from a grumpy old man. Of course there are more chat room experts than three decades ago. there was no internet back then. My guess is BECAUSE there are chatrooms there are a great deal more people that know a great deal more about ferraris, and appreciate them, then there was three decades ago. I am one of them. There are probably also a great deal more that only know a little or what they know is false. I'm OK with that. The private little club of ferrari "istas" is a thing of the past. Although i see some of the "old guard" hanging on by their fingernails. Times have changed and I'm all for it. Sounds like mr rousch is a little upset at his fml being buried by the internet. when i first got into ferraris, i used to subscribe to it. now i find it irrelevant. specially his valuations and the asking prices for the cars in his adds.



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post #3 of 43 Old 12-31-2009, 05:26 AM
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biting the hand that feeds him....great...now thats intelligence. Check his post count.

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post #4 of 43 Old 12-31-2009, 05:58 AM
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I'm no expert by any means.... but I've loved Ferraris, the heritage warts and all for more than 30 years. I love that the flow of information over the last ten years has made MY ownership experience a WHOLE lot less painful then its been for owners that have been involved in the mark longer then me. The internet database of knowledge has literally saved me thousands of dollars with my Ferrari. Its a good thing. Yes sometimes you have to sift through erroneous or incomplete info but what's new about that other than the tools used to get there.

AND with that here we go again... yet another individual that instead of embracing and welcoming the change and possibly doing his part to be adaptive and educational seems intent on being divisive and confrontational. I don't get that kind of marketing strategy.

Honestly I've only met a handful of people in my little microcosm of the Ferrari world that I would consider to be uninformed about the mark and involved because of what they think it'll do for their image. Maybe that's a blessing considering the region versus the rest of the community.

As for the wisdom and a being a true master part, it kind of sounds like you got a little cult envy going on there...

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post #5 of 43 Old 12-31-2009, 06:03 AM
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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.
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post #6 of 43 Old 12-31-2009, 06:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bryanp View Post
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 . . . . .
Thank you for your profound comment. I could not have said it better. I do understand than a man like Gerald has seen many things come and go an may argue in light of such long term experience. I respect his deep knowledge very much. If he's arguing about many things going wrong on the net (which we anyway know from other fields) we should tend to rate that as unimportant. Important is what he's provided to the community over many decades. I learned a lot from people like him and Marcel. The only feeling in that respect I have is lots of thankfulness.
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post #7 of 43 Old 12-31-2009, 07:04 AM Thread Starter
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Have you met Gerald? It is a bit harsh to judge him based solely on how many times he might have posted on this specific division of Ferrari Life.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saint Bastage View Post
biting the hand that feeds him....great...now thats intelligence. Check his post count.

Last edited by michaelbayer; 12-31-2009 at 08:20 AM. Reason: typo
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post #8 of 43 Old 12-31-2009, 07:09 AM Thread Starter
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Well written gentlemen, the fact Gerald hasn't posted here is not a valid measure of his worth, he is a wonderful guy, a fabulous resource and endlessly patient with those of us who have asked him for insight.
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post #9 of 43 Old 12-31-2009, 07:32 AM
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The fact that we are having this debate may be evidence of the contrary?
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post #10 of 43 Old 12-31-2009, 08:19 AM
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Seems to me there are good points on both sides of the debate. There is a need for the guys with the detailed Ferrari knowledge gained from dedicated research over many years.
On the other hand there are many people that love to own,drive and care for the cars that dont necessarily want to burden themselves with minutia of details that do nothing to improve their relationship with the marque.
Then there are those that have the cars as a sort of fashion accessory or status symbol. These people are OK as well. In their own way they help to keep the marque going by actually owning the car. Some will become enthusiasts and some wall fall to the wayside as soon as the next " newest thing in town" comes along. When they dump their cars then true enthusiasts get a chance to oun A ferrari with much of the depreciation hit taken the Bling Bling owners.
The world is a huge place and has enough room to accomodate us all with our various tastes, beliefs and proclivities.
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post #11 of 43 Old 12-31-2009, 08:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ollenaram550 View Post
Then there are those that have the cars as a sort of fashion accessory or status symbol. .
I think we could all agree these people have existed since the begining of the marque. They probaly play an important role as well. Without them the factory may not be able to turn a profit.
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post #12 of 43 Old 12-31-2009, 09:11 AM
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I think what Bastage is saying is the letter comes across in a very bad way on a site like this. Some of our top posters own several cars from Maranello as well as other marquees. Anytime you make a broad statement like that you'll cause a stir. I have personally met several of the guys here on FerrariLife and would call all of them automotive enthusiasts. I am not going to get specific with examples of members here that fit the bill I'm talking about, its pretty obvious with the quality of content and posts we have, ranging from stories of 275 ownership to the super cars and everything in between. Just thumb through an issue of FLQ..., not enthusiast? Just last issue we had one owner write passionately about the differences in his love of German AND Italian cars.

And to be frank, Ferrari has been associated as a image of success product since the '80s not since the birth of online social media like FerrariLife. It isn't in anyway a new phenomenon, the internet just gives those that care about that side of the ownership another place to flaunt it.
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post #13 of 43 Old 12-31-2009, 09:15 AM
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We need to merge this with the other topic, double post
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post #14 of 43 Old 12-31-2009, 09:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bryanp View Post
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.
Nope. have the utmost respect for those guys and their accomplishments. I consider them the backbone of ferrari knowledge. my sights where set much lower.

My response was not targeted at Gerald rousch, but the sentiment i got from the edited statement posted here. The "grumpy old man" is a stereotype in the hobby, not gerald himself. I understand that the snippet posted here was only a small part of his letter and i was responding to that. perhaps i should have read the whole thing. damn internet chat rooms.

but i stand by my theory that the old days are over and the internet has changed the dynamic. sure there are a lot of internet experts. But i don't think that is necessarily bad considering the good that has been accomplished. Frankly, i see the real experts jump all over bad info as soon as it's posted. It amazes me that sometimes it's mere minutes. Couldn't do that back in the horse and buggy days.

I may also have a rose colored view because i don't deal in the minutae of the rare and less understood ferraris of the 50's and 60's and i imagine there are more problems in that area than the more generalized knowledge that i have.

Hope i didn't come off as being to critical. Simple case of reading an out of context snippet of a larger article without thinking it all through.

Hey old guys , follow the phillips' lead and help out us "young" guys instead of rejecting us as a bunch of rabble rousing know nothings?



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Last edited by wetpet; 12-31-2009 at 09:33 AM.
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post #15 of 43 Old 12-31-2009, 09:42 AM
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Good points... It does seem as if Mike purposely meant Gerald's quote to be taken out of context perhaps to illustrate his own perceptions of the hobby in its current state.

Unfortunate if that's the case as all that does is help create more division among the various personalities and enthusiasts levels that exist within the community.

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post #16 of 43 Old 12-31-2009, 09:59 AM
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A few observations from a relative "new guy" in the small vintage world:

- some of what you read is the grumbling of folks who no longer control the field; why is telaio a secret society?

- some of us new guys are spending very large sums to restore cars neglected by the old guys

- the old enthusiasts seem to have spent a fair amount of their time cutting coupes, separating cars from their original engines, squirreling away parts for profit, building fakes, etc.

- "enthusiast" at times seems to me to mean little more than "one who agrees with me"

- I spend many days every year at race tracks, racing. Spending concours weekends sitting on a lawn chair next to your pristine car, or tut tutting as others bid on cars at auction, does not make you a better enthusiast

- having met Enzo does not make you a better enthusiast; it makes you a guy who met Enzo

- the old guys direct much hatred at the factory and, in particular, Classiche - until they need something, at which time the nasty little Fiat minions busy wrecking the Ferrari heritage suddenly become reasonable curators of the myth

- I love the 50s and 60s 12 cylinder cars, they are to my eye beautiful; I own two at the moment, but have owned more. They are prettier, but not "better" than my 612 Scaglietti

- having been around since the old days does not of itself make you anything other than old

I have benefited greatly from the long years of work by Messrs Rousch and Massini, both of whom have provided me with information - unavailable anywhere else, to my knowledge - about my cars. I have given them both whatever little information I can provide. None of my observations relate to them. I am a longtime FML subscriber. I own Urban's book. All of us who own and love the older cars owe careful historians a great debt. We owe a lot of the other oldtimers nothing.

Last edited by wch; 12-31-2009 at 10:11 AM.
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post #17 of 43 Old 12-31-2009, 10:42 AM Thread Starter
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I am sorry but: "...purposely meant....illustrate his own perceptions...."?????

Quote:
Originally Posted by barcheta View Post
Good points... It does seem as if Mike purposely meant Gerald's quote to be taken out of context perhaps to illustrate his own perceptions of the hobby in its current state.

Unfortunate if that's the case as all that does is help create more division among the various personalities and enthusiasts levels that exist within the community.
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post #18 of 43 Old 12-31-2009, 10:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelbayer View Post
I am sorry but: "...purposely meant....illustrate his own perceptions...."?????
you quoted it.... what are you confused about?

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post #19 of 43 Old 12-31-2009, 10:56 AM
 
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As a newbie, non car owner and a simple man. I can identify to some extent to what Mr. Rousch is saying. The internet can definitely bring out the crazies, but As far as purrests are concerned- it is their perspective on what appears to be happening to something they all worked very hard to do(the research and logging all the historical data) when the factory didn't care.
So I can see why it could be offensive for some of these folks to read all the ridiculous crap found in some of these threads.

The other point I see that I don't agree with is the enthusiast comment. From my perspective- I grew up only loving two things- Legos and Ferrari's.
I do have a number of books with the history etc. I am in no way an expert on anything Ferrari but.....Having been on the boards since 07, I now have a wonderful opportunity to not only see some of these vintage cars being restored, I can benifit from people like Mr. Massini.

It didn't take long for me to recognize who actually knew what they were talking about from the ones who just had enough knowledge to be dangerous.

Unfortunately for some of the old guard- the world is changing and with that change i think the word " enthusiast" truly takes on a whole new meaning. But I think it is sites like Ferrari Life and Ferrari Chat that really help bring new folks into the fold and like myself- gives me a whole new understanding of Not only Ferrari but the people who own them.
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post #20 of 43 Old 12-31-2009, 12:00 PM
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I think it means that since Gerald only got a stocking full of coal he's now finally ready to buy a Ferrari!!!
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