A few weeks ago I mentioned that I'd recently been over to Europe on business. One weekend during my stay I hopped on a train down to Milan to see an old friend, and had the whistle-stop tour of the city. At a certain point, we 'accidentally' stumbled on the Ferrari store and I was impressed by the ability of the prancing horse to market everything. The store obviously had Ferrari-branded merchandise - everything from shirts and mugs to cellphones and key rings. But upstairs they had an interesting display of used parts for sale. Fancy the crankshaft from an F2008 F1 car, used in a race? For €3850 you can take it home in a nice glass display case. Same goes for connecting rods, pistons, valves, and even smaller items like cam cover screws. If a full-sized engine is more your speed, you can have a raced F1 engine from the 2003 or 2005 season, nicely mounted on a pedestal, for a pinch under €12000. It was an impressive display of marketing and being an F1 fan I could easily see how a hard-core Tifosi would empty their bank account for some of the items on sale. I personally particularly liked the carbon fibre front wing from the F2010 that they had mounted over the stairs, but (a) - it was predictably expensive and (b) - I don't have anywhere to put it (never mind (c) - how do I get it back across the Atlantic?)
Outside the store were two Ferrari California 30s (a hardtop and a Spyder) and a Lamborghini Gallardo, and as I was browsing their forms, a store representative came over and asked if I'd like to drive one of them. Obviously, the answer was yes, but only if I could take it out of the city to the nearby Monza track. Sadly of course that wasn't what was on offer. I could drive one of these beauties around Milan's choked streets if I liked, as long as I paid the insurance and rental cost. Tempting, but pointless. Ferraris and Lambos don't drive very easily at slow speeds (so Top Gear tells me) and it would seem cruel to be behind the wheel of such a car and not be able to use it as it was intended. I'll have to wait for another time and another place.