Join Date: Oct 2007
Ferrari Life Posts: 3,996
I started to love italian cars when my oncle went into Alfa's. That was when I was 5 years old in '66. We met at my grandparents house and I washed his car in exchange for being driven around the block afterwards. He had mainly Giulietta's and GTV's. My mother had a Vespa in the late 50's but sold it later. She probably inheritaged the italian engine blood to me, definitively not my father which was "too" rational, which was o.k. on other things. (My parents always had to count every cents not being able to finance anything out of normal. I was raised in a way that everything I wanted, I had to save for it by myself, even as a boy, never received a dime, which I'm very thankful for.)
Also in the neighborhood was a well known private gentleman racer and when walking into town with my mother at hand we passed the place he lived and there was always a Ferrari out there. I remember not wanting to take the public transportation bus home to be able to cross by feet the street to go and flaten my nose on the side window of this genmtlemans Ferraris. In alteration he owned a 250 SWB, 275 GTB, 330 GTC and a queen mary, as much as I remember. Marcel Massini, the F-historian told me just a couple of years ago that this guy died in private racing in the late 60's.
Then in '69 I met Joe Siffert, the Swiss F1 racing driver on a car show and after that I wanted to watch every F1 race showed on TV (the first TV we owned was bought because of the first Apollo landing in '69). Unfortunately Joe Siffert did not drive for Ferrari (he drove a Yardley B.R.M) but soon after Clay Regazzoni, the other Swiss F1 driver was contracted by Ferrari and my mind was in heaven. At that time Jacky Ichx the belgian driver was with Ferrari too (my mother liked Ichx better, probably because of his looks at 20' that time ;-). After watching the F1 races on TV, I went into my little hand made Go kart to drive around the house to have the "feeling" of the drivers. My go cart had no engine, I need to push my legs to enable it to roll..it was great fun. While I raced around the block my mother came down with tears in her eyes and told me that Jochen Rindt died in Monza qualifying 1970. I remember that day like yesterday. One year later, a little after my 10th birthday, my idol Joe Siffert died in Brands Hatch. It was a time when almost every month a racing driver died. Sad.
But back to Ferrari. In the meantime my oncle went over the Alfa time and bought his first Ferrari, a new Mondial 8 in light green (!). I was fascinated. When i was 20, all my colleagues bought their first cars, but not me. Went abroad and into the army on several different occasions and had no money but lots of fantasies. Then I started to work consistently and after 2 years I was able to invest ALL of my savings into my first car, a Porsche 911 SC. At that time the 328 just came out but that was at least 2 leagues to high for my means so I decided for something serious and reliable since ALL money was involved. 2 years later I sold the Porsche to finance the start up of my business in '88. A little later I passed a car carrier with a F40 on its deck...unbelievable...a F40. At the time they traded around 1-2 Mio.'s. Just to be able to have a glimpse on it for 5 seconds created that wish again to own a Ferrari. Any Ferrari but of course never a F40 as someone must be crazy to own such a precious unpayable and unreachable car.....But it took me from there another 10 years of hard work and other importances until finally I bought a brand new 550 Maranello in grigio titanium and beige leather. It was actually my wife who pushed me to the decision (knowing my "skewness" toward "F's") after our first daughter was born. She said: you should give yourself a gift for a job so well done (our daughter that is).....;-). Soon after I bought a 250 GTE 2+2 which my wife says is still the most beautiful Ferrari we ever owned.......