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January17th 2007

Italians in Detroit
The Detroit Auto Show 2007

Story and photos by Werner Pfister

Ferrari was still a big hit in Detroit despite the fact that it did not launch a new car at this show, thanks to the 599 GTB. The stand at Cobo included a requisite Rosso Corsa 599, a Black Metallic 612 and a 430 GT from Risi Competizione in Houston.

Although Ferrari had introduced the 599 in Geneva last March, its first official USA coming out was during the LA Auto Show in its new time slot late last November. Nevertheless the press and the public in Detroit loved the 599 that Ferrari North America brought in the classic color combination and sporting optional 20” wheel rims, Carbon-Ceramic brake rotors and Daytona Style leather rear luggage shelf.

Unfortunately for many ravenous buyers, Ferrari is already behind in the production of this car for the American market and this has further exacerbated the supply versus demand situation. Prices are very high even by Ferrari standards. For example, the base price for a non-optioned, 6 speed model is $255,484 although currently no 6 speed models have been produced for the US. The available F-1 version comes in at $265,295 but Ferrari has decided that everyone should have the previously announced big brakes for an extra $18,550.

With its extensive list of options it is not rare for well equipped 599s to exceed $300,000. Despite this price, the demand is so strong that some people have reported that market value of this car is currently about $175,000 to $200,000 over the MSRP shown on the window label.

Designed by Pininfarina’s Jason Castriota, the car has many classic Ferrari styling cues. One notable feature is the use of single rather than double tail lights which reminded us of the 275 GTB series and its predecessors. However, the car is also remarkably contemporary with an aggressive headlight and front grille treatment which photos cannot adequately convey. The hood also has a major design element which stands out only when one is positioned directly in front of the car. It is then that the outline of the long nose and side pods of Schumacher’s F-1 car are revealed.

Ferrari’s Managing Director, Amadeo Felisa, indicated that in 2006 Ferrari produced 5,700 cars worldwide. He went on to say that the North American market remains the largest and most important one for Ferrari. Perhaps that is why he and FIAT CEO, Sergio Marchione, were both present in Detroit along with many other Ferrari S.p.A. and Ferrari FNA personnel.

Felisa took this opportunity to emphatically state that there is no “Dino” project in the works. He said that Ferrari is committed to making high performance automobiles under its name and that there will not be “cheap” car made contrary to what some of the press has stated. You figure out what he means!

Maranello may not have had anything new to show in Detroit but the Modenese firm certainly did. Maserati took this opportunity to introduce the full automatic gearbox version of its successful Quattroporte.

Although the Maserati QP is already the most successful model in the company’s history, many potential buyers walked away from the F-1 style Duo-Select gearbox. Maserati tried very hard to win over buyers with the Duo-Select by having the gearbox default to auto mode when starting the car. Further, Maserati introduced a revised reverse lever which allows forward engagement as well. Finally, Maserati softened the shift points through computer programming changes. Nevertheless, some buyers still held off taking the plunge with a QP.

That has all changed with the introduction of the 6 speed ZF engineered automatic gearbox. This new car has a traditional automatic stick in the console but can be ordered with optional paddles for $1,150.

The new gearbox rides up front in the usual spot next to the engine as opposed to the transaxle layout of the Duo-Select. Amazingly, moving the location of this large drivetrain component has only slightly changed the QP’s excellent weight distribution from 47/53 to 49/51 front to rear. This minor shift will ensure that automatic equipped Maseratis will enjoy the same great driving dynamic as the previous models and they cost only $1,250 more.

The 599 single taillights bring back memories of the 275GTB.

You can just begin to see the F-1 Nose outlined in the 599 hood bulge.

Carbon ceramic brakes, red calipers and ball polished wheels are some of the more popular options.

Maserati automatic with optional paddles.

The 599 engine is derived from the Enzo and includes chain driven camshafts.

Risi Competizione’s 430GT is a more serious racer than a 430 Challenge car.

This 612 featured a diamond quilted leather interior.

A pearlescent white “Fuji Bianco” automatic version of the Quattroporte.

Automatic Maserati’s have blue rather than red cam covers.

The six speed ZF Automatic is mated up directly to Maserati’s 4.2 Liter V-8.

Ferrari’s accessory line includes driving gloves, F-1 Sculptures and luggage.

FXX model on display in Ferrari’s “Living Room” setting at the Detroit Auto Show.

Past Issues



Shell Historics at Moroso

CCCA Tour Part I

Classic Adelaide 2007

Mugello 2007 Part 2

Malta Vintage GP

Mugello 2007

This is Hershey

Coppa d'Oro 2007

Pebble Beach Tour

Carmel Concours

Oldtimer sideshows at the Ring

35th Oldtimer GP Nurburgring

Ferrari Concours in Maranello

Sestriere Rally 2007

Turin Concorso

Ferrari Days GB

Greenwich Concours

Mille Miglia 2007

Italian bikes at Half Moon Bay

Shell Historics at VIR

Italian Auto Moto Festival

Alfa Day GB

California Mille

Villa d'Este 2007 part II

Villa d'Este 2007 part I

Shell Historics at Infineon

Geneva take Two

Geneva take One

Paris Pot Pourri

Retro Italia 2007

Paris and Retro 2007

Cavallino 2007

Shell Historics, Moroso 2007

Detroit 2007


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