Right. Sure, I can understand this, but it still doesn’t mean I’m happy about it. When spy photos leaked a while back showing something that looked like an updated Lancia Stratos, the automotive world was abuzz. When it turned out to be true, and that the wealthy (okay, richer than Croesus) German fellow had the car built using a Ferrari F430 Scuderia as its base, our lust was justified on a more than looks alone. Then things got even better. There were growing rumors of a limited run of these beasts being available for us, the little people, to, if not purchase, then at least lust after.
Sadly, our (lottery winning fueled) dreams have just been crushed, it would seem. Ferrari, makers of the F430 Scuderia have apparently said ” alcun modo all’inferno ” to the limited production run idea.
The original Stratos was really the first purpose built rally car. Up until it rolled out of Bertone’s and Lancia’s shops back in 1971/72, the world of rallying was an arena for stuff like Citroen DSs and Volvo Amazons and Mini Coopers. Lancia bringing this thing to a rally competition was like someone bringing a rocket launcher to a knife fight. Not just in terms of looks alone (which are, to this day, stunning and modern), but also from a mechanical perspective. Sure, it had state of the art this and that, but it also had a full on Ferrari V6 residing under the rear clamshell.
It did to its competition what Conan the Barbarian could only dream about: “Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.” Or, in the case of the Stratos, the lamentation of a bunch of Scandinavians who were getting beaten like gongs.
Fast-forward forty years (give or take), and out comes this new “one off” Stratos. No, there were not any racing plans, so there was no lamentation from the likes of Sebastien Loeb or Petter Solberg. But there was a lot of lamentation from the likes of people like me when it turned out to be one guy’s ego trip. Sure, the rumored limited production run had me re-jiggering my list of cars I’d get when that Lotto ticket pays off, but that didn’t seem all that likely (both the limited run and me winning the lotto).
So, in some ways, the mention that Ferrari is putting the kibosh on the deal both confirmed my vainglorious lotto musings and seemed par for the course for the boys from Maranello.
Ferrari has been crazy vindictive at times when it comes to people nosing in on what they consider their territory. Have you ever heard the story of the Favre GTO reproductions? It’s nasty. Screaming. Yelling. Threats of suits and counter suits. And finally, very mysteriously M. Favre ending up murdered in his garage. No, no one is saying Ferrari had anything to do with his death … but before that, they were falling on him like a ton of lead.
That’s not the case with the nouveau Stratos though. Even though Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo only had positive things to say about the Stratos when he gave it his imperious once over a few months back, the creators of the car now say they have reached something of a deadlock on the project. Ferrari will not allow its suppliers (specifically Pininfarina, who did the design and assembled the New Stratos) to take the car from the single example it currently is into being a limited production ride. And this is in spite of the more than 40 prelim orders the new Stratos has received from potential (stunningly rich) buyers.
Ergo, the New Stratos guys are looking into “other avenues” for production.
What does “other avenues” mean? Hell if I know. But if they think they can do an end run around Ferrari/ Pininfarina, they might want to ponder on that for a while. Sure, Northern Italy is choked with panel beaters and automobile subcontractors, even ones that can do full blown race car tech for anyone with a checkbook (Dalara, for example), but the “little shops” in and around Maranello will essentially have to answer this question: “Would I like to be in on making 40 or 50 or 60 really cool follow-on Stratos for this century, or would I like to work for Ferrari again?”
Because, you know that Ferrari would most likely take a dim view of someone who was complicit in doing an end run around their wishes.
Hmmmm …. I wonder if McLaren has any free space in their kilns?