There are those experiences in life which turn out to be so interesting and different that you love to recount them, just for the story telling appeal. I find that when it comes to stories about Ferraris though, few are able to appreciate the full meaning of the events that make up the tale. But those few read these pages, and I thought this might be an enjoyable anecdote.
John is a good and very generous friend who owns a number of Ferraris. He alternates his time between coasts, so I was happy to see him back here, blasting by me in his 1959 250 GT California Spyder on a sunny afternoon in our small, southern California beach town. John believes in using his Ferraris. So instead of renting a car when he arrived, he just used the California Spyder during the 2-week stay. I flagged him down and we made plans to get together for drinks at a local club that evening.
He pulled up in front of the club, top down with a respectable rumble in the gleaming red Spyder. The valet was more than happy to leave the car parked in front at the curb, and John introduced me to the owner of the club who had come out to see what the ruckus was all about. It was to be a "happening" night at the club, and John wanted to make sure that I had a good time, so he asked the owner to find a "great girl" for me. Why not? It seemed harmless enough.
The evening proceeded uneventfully until John invited me to drive the Spyder. It was one of those moments filled with both anticipation and anxiety: a fulfillment of a dream with a dear friend?s inordinately expensive car. I stifled visions of burnt clutches and tow trucks and accepted. As we got up to leave, the club owner said that he had a "great girl" he wanted me to meet who just happened to be there that night. Girl? There?s a California Spyder at the curb. Who cares about the girl?!
So John and I went out to the car. I clicked open the driver?s door, hooked my right leg under the large, wood steering wheel and slid into the supple, tan leather seat. It reeked of classic Italian exotic that only those who drive them and those who poke their heads into them at shows have experienced. I inserted the key into the ignition and with a roar (and a little too much throttle) the car came to life. John identified the row of gauges, which I forgot immediately since they were all in Italian, and requested, "Please, try not to slip the clutch." I looked ahead at the large van parked just in front of the very long nose of the car and realized we were on a hill. Great. Well, at least he would be with me to instruct me on the finer points of classic Ferrari clutches and inclines.
Just then, the owner of the club came out dragging this "great girl" behind him for me to meet. She can be described best as... well, a bimbo. She was blonde, coppertoned, tipsy and wearing practically nothing: a short skirt, if you can call it that, and a tiny little string-top thing. Now, don?t get me wrong; I appreciate scantily clad women admiring beautiful cars as much as the next guy. But when you can look at a her face and realize that she?d rather be inside dancing than reliving Ferris Bueller?s Day Off, it?s pretty clear your "Ferrari appreciation evening" is just about done.
So John stood off to the side as the club owner sat her next to me in the car. And with that beast of an engine idling and a flip of her fake blonde hair she acquiesced, "Ok, let?s go for a ride."
I looked at John. He thought this was a great idea and waved us off.
So I pulled this better-portion-of-a-million dollar car away from the curb and around the van as a group of onlookers stared after us. I?m sure they were envious, but they had no reason to be. With the chatterbox bubbling about how much she "loves to party," they had no idea weight of responsibility<