I recently viewed some new design patents from Ferrari that were on the Autocar website. They speculated that it’s more than likely they’re for the new California. The original California—yeah, that one—in my opinion at least, should accompany the Oxford English definition of elegant. With Eva Green sitting in it. It’s an absolutely phenomenally designed car (especially in darker colors). It’s a classic Ferrari—with that V12 up front, gorgeous Pininfarina styling all around, and made in infinitesimally small numbers, it caused a stir in 1957, and an uproar in 1960, when the SWB variant was unveiled. That’s the version that sold for more than $10 million a few years back.

So, California. It’s a big nameplate to live up to, being one of the most iconic and desirable cars of all time. This latest one, while undoubtedly a great car, hasn’t quite lived up to its name. First and foremost, it’s just not that pretty. While from certain angles, and definitely with the roof up, it can look quite good, its ass is just too big. The designers got more than a bit messy with the rear of the car. Secondly, it’s got a detuned variant of an out of date engine with the wrong number of cylinders. Thirdly, it’s marketed to the wrong people. Instead of being on the low end of the Ferrari lineup, it should be at or near the top. Ferrari should reincarnate the Dino badge if they want to have a cheap (relatively speaking, of course) model (well, they should anyway, just because), but they shouldn't damage a badge that could be great for their brand.

Let me be explicitly clear: I don’t give two shits about the brand of car you drive, the designer who made your clothes, or how much you pay for anything you own, and I do not intend to sound like a brand-obsessed snob. Personally, I think this new California is a brilliant marketing excersise on Ferrari’s part, since they’ve sold tons of them while creating a new customer base. But I do think that this California badge could be hugely valuable to them if they used it in a different way. If they positioned the California below the LaFerrari and above the FF, put a whacking great V12 in it, and styled it with no regard to aerodynamics, just prettiness, they’d be on to something great. Don’t make it look aggressive, don’t give it the smiling shark grill that all their other cars have, and don’t put the pointy steering and stiff suspension on it either. Make it an old-school GT car, charge half a million for it, and put that Dino badge to good use, replacing the spot the California vacated as an overpriced Maserati Granturismo rival. They'd get great publicity, retain the customer base that they gained with the California, and possibly tap into the Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead market.


Here's the link to the autocar.co.uk article on those designs: http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/new-c…