I was very interested in Mr.. J. H. Thomas’ letter enquiring about Ferrari experiences, but thought I would wait before writing to see what replies you had first.
Mr. Cotter’s letter is interesting, particularly as he brings in the Porsche comparison; as I have had six of these cars over the years, and covered over 250,000 miles in the marque. However, at the risk of causing an argument, I would suggest that they are in no way comparable, both being superb in their way, though in a vastly different way.
Most people seem to be frightened of Ferraris by the so often quoted bugbear of plug fouling, but I can claim to have had considerable experience and, with a slight reservation, have never had this trouble
My first Ferrari was a 250GT Europa of 1956 which I bought in 1962 from my friend JHr Chas de Pesters, late President of the Dutch Racing Drivers Club, and who had raced it with some success in appropriate events in Holland.
I used it for some time in my business as a surveyor and valuer, which often involved mileages of about 100 per day in the streets of Stoke-on-Trent, with heavy traffic, and I had no plug trouble, though I did use a slightly softer plug than standard, changing, for safety’s sake when going on long motorway trips, then not limited to 70 m.p.h. I only sold the car, to John Virr„ because my wife did not like travelling in a 1.h.d. car.
My next, and present, Ferrari is a 250GT Lusso of 1964, which I bought in 1966, and which I have used regularly ever since.
With my left hand firmly grasping a piece of wood, I would say that apart from the usual brake relinings, I have never had a moment’s trouble with this car, again including similar business use until I retired, and numerous very fast motorway trips abroad, and much use on the Riviera, including endless journeys in nose-to-tail conditions, in considerable temperatures, between Monte Carlo and Nice.
Only once in such circumstances did I have any trouble, namely a plug which was worn out, but which, as I never took them out, I had failed to notice until too late.
This car will potter about down to 15 m.p.h. in top gear all day if one is so disposed, bursting into the “song of the twelve” (and there is nothing in this world to match it) at the first touch of throttle. Brakes were at first not too good, but the replacement of the Italian servo with a Lockheed installation has completely cured this, and I would say that they are completely adequate for the very impressive performance of the car. Bodywork is good, though salt has occasioned a little tidying up round the bottom, at which time the car was given a respray.
My only criticisms are that I think it would stand an overdrive, for which, on the short chassis, there is not room, and it does get rather warm inside in high ambient temperatures, though it never overheats.
Like Mr. Cotter I was very impressed with the Dino, and indeed went a long way towards buying one, but when it came to taking the final step, I could not bring myself to part with the Lusso, acclaimed in 1964 by the world’s motoring journalists as “the world’s most beautiful car”, and in the view of myself, and I think many others, never equalled or surpassed.
I also own a 1951, 212 Export Ferrari which I have been restoring during the last year, and which I bought in Switzerland and drove over from there.
This car one would expect to be difficult on plugs, and indeed it can lose several if allowed to tick over for a long time, but a quick burst immediately clears them, and so far I have never actually had to change a plug.
In conclusion I would say that, in my opinion, the Ferrari is an immensely strong car, extremely well engineered, no doubt costly on the rare occasions repairs are required, but backed in this country by excellent and friendly service from the Concessionaires, and a strong and enthusiastic backing by the Ferrari Owners’ Club.
Market Drayton. L. J. Roy Taylor.