The Other Ferrari

An email from Reader Larry F asks:  “I know you love the Dino 246, but you also admit that they’re not that great to drive.  If you could have any recent Ferrari (produced since the Dino), which one would you choose?”

That’s actually an easy one.  The only Ferrari I’d care to drive today (other than the Dino 246) is the last model Ferrari offered with a stick shift, the 599 GTB of the early 2000s.

Here’s a comparison of the two:

I need to make a couple of points, though.  One of the things I love about the earlier Ferraris like the Dino is that they’re small and nimble.  After that they started growing and growing, until we finally arrived at elefanti  like the 599.  Here’s the comparison between the Dino and the 599 (l-r):


By comparison, the Dino is the nimble teenager while the 599 is its fat-ass Italian mama.

Of course, the power is not comparable, the 246 GT’s V6 192hp being dwarfed by the 599’s V12 612hp (which it needs to get that extra 1,600lbs moving).  I wouldn’t care about acceleration (0-60:  7.0secs vs. 3.7secs) or top speed (148mph vs. 208mph) unless I were at Spa-Francorchamps, which is never gonna happen.

I’ve never driven the 599, but it’s probably a lot easier to handle than the Dino, so there’s that.

But in looks, the Dino still wins by a country mile.  The 599 looks like a fatter Mazda Miata RF:



  1. While I would never drive an Italian car (especially one prone to catch fire), there’s a lot to be said for smaller and more nimble.

    Your examples parallel my two motorcycles. One is a smaller more nimble (albeit slower) antique with no creature comforts. The other is a larger newer (faster) touring bike with ABS, cruise, stereo, and tons of other bells and whistles. When I rode 7000 miles to San Diego and back, obviously I took the touring bike, but when I want to have fun tootling around on the evenings or weekends, smaller and nimbler definitely rules the day.

    The touring bike makes trips more comfortable. The antique makes riding around more fun.

    1. Ugh. You talk about motorcycles in a post about Ferraris? Other websites would have banned you for such heresy.

      1. Meh. I’ve been banned for lesser things.

        And I mentioned fiery Italian cars, so my reply was technically about Ferraris.

  2. So I’m not the only one who has noticed the death of the sports car. “the last model Ferrari offered with a stick shift” – really sad.

  3. Here is what I don’t get and I’m not entirely certain I care to get.

    If I were to drop that kind of money on a car, why on earth wouldn’t I get it with a manual transmission? How do you drop hundreds of thousands of dollars on a car and then not bother to learn how to drive it?

    If you buy one of those pasta rockets (e.g. Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc.) without learning to drive stick, give your balls a tug and learn or buy a minivan instead. Automatic transmissions make driving a car boring. My first car was a 1984 Ford Escort with a manual transmission. To this day it is still the most fun car to drive that I have ever owned. The most fun I have driving now is trying to not get nagged to death by all the lane departure assist, parking assist (which goes off at stop lights), and collision detection. We call that car Karen for a reason.

  4. Quite a lot of the weight (and cost) increase found in current versions of previously “sporting” vehicles can be found in the mandated structures used to protect occupants, and pedestrians.

  5. Dinos are cool.

    Another Ferrari that I always liked was the 308 GTB/GTS, AKA the “Magnum P.I.” car.

    And of course, who doesn’t like the Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona.

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