Changing Perspectives

Chris Harris asks the important question:

What happens when cars like the 296 appear is they cause geeks like me to stop and rethink what we had assumed were accepted ‘classes’ of cars. This happened to me when I was driving the 296 and following Paddy in the Pagani Huayra BC. Because he was driving something that looked like a livid insect, I assumed it would simply disappear in a straight line. It didn’t.

What we now have is an ‘entry level’ Ferrari that is as fast as one of the craziest hypercars ever sold. It’s a remarkable reset in the history of fast cars, yet it seems to have passed most people by. Perhaps that’s because these machines are so competent that people expect such things to happen. But I can’t quite get my head around the level of performance a 296 offers.

I have no idea where this is all going.  I’ve written before how cars’ performance has increased to the point where very few people can actually drive them without wrecking them — 600hp engines? FFS — and here’s Ferrari making a “street” car that could have won the Monza F1 Grand Prix race as little as ten years ago — or even more recently.

I should also point out that Longtime Buddy and Former Bandmate Knob is on the waiting list for a 296.  I hate him.


  1. /I have no idea where this is all going./

    Well, once all the proles are herded into the cities where they can ride jitneys to work, and the highways and byways are open again, the Good Folk will need a way to speedily get from mountain retreat to seaside resort.
    Going faster means less time harming the environment.

    1. Not jitneys. For some deranged reason the Right People are all passionate about light rail – probably because once it’s laid down its routs help keep a city to Plan, drat them. When the word ‘metrosexual’ first appeared I thought it should denote the sort of politician who gets all excited about Metro-Rail projects.

  2. Not a problem I’ll ever have, but that’s just the “get in the door” price. Post warranty maintenance will be $15-20K a year, if you’re lucky.

    I’d much rather have a newer version of the Fiat 130 you profiled the other day. Except they don’t exist. Today, you’re buying a 3-year ownership experience and a lifetime software rental plan. These cars are essentially disposable toys for the rich.

    1. Quite a few of us are willing to forego having the first of everything, and will happily buy a seasoned 296 and not be deathly afraid of having lint settle on any of its parts.

  3. Let’s face it, the average modern 4-door family sedan (Toyota Camry, Honda Accord) equipped with a V6 engine will easily out-perform most performance cars from previous eras. And will do it without being finicky, without leaking oil, with brakes that actually work, and with a drive train that will easily go 200,000 plus miles. The average man can purchase a vehicle today that would absolutely rule the roads against anything made in the 90’s or earlier (excluding, of course, the fantasy stuff that’s he’d never have the opportunity to buy anyway).

    So when you’re talking performance with the above mastubatory cars for the rich and famous, you ignore all the tremendous improvements in the “supercar” that you now already have. Of course the modern trend toward getting you to pay subscriptions for everything including radio plan, phone plan, extra engine (or battery) performance, etc. is truly sick and I refuse to participate in that nonsense.

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