They say you should never meet your heroes. We did…
Like most regular car guys, I was introduced to Ferrari in car magazines, the old Top Gear and in conversation with friends. We’d talk about our favourite Ferraris, discussing performance figures like bankers talk about interest rates. At the time, the over the top Ferrari to lust after was the Enzo, with its chart beating acceleration and jet-fighter looks. Looking back, among my peers, it was socially unacceptable to not like Ferrari. Anything with a prancing horse was the equivalent of automotive gold.
Years passed and my taste in cars matured. Being raised in Dubai and seeing a Ferrari almost everyday lessened the ‘cool’ factor, as I moved onto Paganis, Koenigseggs and other hypercars.
Eventually, I began to appreciate classic cars, turning my attention to sites like Petrolicious, where one fine day in early 2013, I was introduced to the Ferrari 250 GT Lusso. Watching their video, I immediately made up my mind that this was the single most beautiful piece of metal on wheels that I would ever come across. The sound alone was etched into my memory, reinforced by numerous repeated viewings since then.
Four years on, I’ve been extremely fortunate to experience a diverse selection of classic cars, having enjoyed each encounter thoroughly. Regardless of shape, engine or performance, there was something truly special about every one of them.
However, if one thing hasn’t changed, it’s the fact that I still hold the Ferrari 250 GT Lusso very dear. They say you shouldn’t meet your heroes. Well, if they don’t stand up to scrutiny, do they deserve to be your heroes then?
So, repeating this mantra to myself, I left home one very foggy January morning, to go and see a Lusso. I eventually reached our rendezvous, the Tomini Classics showroom, where the car was being warmed up for our drive. Its beauty was, dare I say it, almost criminal.
How can a machine be this beautiful?
My eyes were still transfixed on the Lusso as we got on our way to our location, the thick fog enveloping us. Riding shotgun in a friend’s SUV, I watched as the Lusso travelled on an empty three-lane stretch of road without a soul for miles, seemingly going back in time. Eventually the car disappeared into the fog, with only the faint sound of that glorious V12 in the distance to reassure us.
Ultimately, we reached our location and everybody alighted to admire the car, while I got busy with my camera.
They say that when a subject is beautiful, half the photographer’s work is done.
In this case, I didn’t feel like I was doing anything, the car was gorgeous. Every angle presented a new feature to capture. Additionally, the beauty was effortless. The long sweeping lines gave the car an elegant figure that one just does not see these days. Large round headlamps, Borrani wire wheels, and beautiful Pininfarina coachwork rendered most onlookers speechless as they stopped to admire the car. Looking under the hood, two banks of six cylinders each are fed by triple Weber carburettors, mounted on top.
In the Matrix (the first movie), Neo and Morpheus are moving through a crowd of black suits, when Neo is distracted by a lady in a red dress. That was the effect the Lusso had on me. There could have been 20 supercars around us at that moment and my eyes would have still gone towards the Lusso. The fact that there was a horse standing behind it probably helped.
These days, car manufacturers focus on making their cars look as aggressive as possible. Look at any modern Italian supercar and you’ll understand what I mean. The 250 Lusso carries off 1960s beauty, without being brash. I could go on about the car’s looks all day and not do its graceful design justice. Suffice to say; I still think the car is the most beautiful thing on wheels that I’ve seen yet.
Climbing aboard, I’m met by lovely brown leather, a large wood grain steering wheel and a number of gauges, the speedometer and tach being mounted in the centre. Starting up involves a three-step process, after which the engine fires to life, settling down to a contented purr.
With everything up to temperature, we moved off, on our way back. The gent driving the car gestured to me to wind down the window and with a swift downshift, began to accelerate. The sound of that glorious V12 filled the cabin, making both of us smile. Where oh where would we be, if not for 1960s Ferraris?
As we continued on toward our destination, I thought about the Lusso and its place in today’s world. Often overshadowed by its siblings within the 250 Series, the car, in my opinion, has begun to receive due attention only now, as the prices of classic Ferraris skyrocket. Disregarding value for the moment, the Lusso is one of those cars that a non-petrolhead would immediately think of when someone mentions classic cars and there’s a reason for that.
With its effortless elegance and heartwarming V12 soundtrack, the car is a representative of a bygone age, when everything we did had meaning. Travelling was an occasion, whether it was by car, train or airplane. People actually derived pleasure from this and took the time to enjoy their travel, as opposed to modern times where everyone is preoccupied with getting from Point A to B in the shortest possible duration.
That’s the thing about the Lusso. Whether you are going for a short Sunday afternoon drive or just going into town, the car will make it an occasion. It is clinically impossible to feel unhappy after spending time in the car, we should know.
It’s one of those automobiles that you grab your gloves, scarf and Persols for, every time. Its beauty will turn heads everywhere, as it glides down the road, the Borranis in a silver blur. It’s one of those rare cases where you can’t place a number value on a material object, at least I can’t.
After all, if it was good enough for automotive connoisseur Steve McQueen, it’s probably good enough for us lesser mortals.
If anyone needs me, I’ll be sitting on the Tomini showroom floor, admiring this beauty.
Special thanks to Tomini Classics, Hashim Vahedna and Kunal Jain for their help during this shoot. It couldn’t have happened without them.