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The Ferrari Museum

Not too long ago, I decided to visit Italy, and being a car nut, had to stop at as many car museums as I possibly could which, with national holidays I had not foreseen, meant only one: The Ferrari Museum (aka La Museo Ferrari).

Hopefully the photo and video above is indicative of my not being one to bury the lede, that vandalized fiberglass body casting of an F355 Berlinetta sits outside the museum and has been there for some time looking like that. I’m going to come right out and say it: The Ferrari Museum needed some work. In fact, it needed a fair amount of work, ranging from care & maintenance to curation to location. What with the backing of a conglomerate like Fiat, I guess I expected a juggernaut of a facility along the lines of the Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Porsche museums in Germany, but in actuality, the Ferrari Museum was maybe as good as perhaps a private Ferrari collector’s. I realize that Fiat no longer controls Ferrari, but this museum has been around since they did.

The thing I realized is, that most of the cars featured in the museum could be seen in practically any decent car museum or local concours. Despite their rarity, it seems that 250 Testa Rossas and 250 GTOs are not hard to find on display…and yes…this museum had them. Yippee.

It’s also worth noting that some displays had been around for twenty years as evidenced by the use of a Macintosh Powerbook “Wall Street” G3 in one wall spread. Unfortunately, my museum snobbitity prevented me from taking photos of some of the tackier aspects of the museum, like the photo op Ferrari with a green screen behind it that visitors could pay to sit in and have their photo taken (and composited with a  “visit italy” background no doubt), or the gift shop where you could get just about anything with a Ferrari logo slapped on it (you know, pens, mousepads, shoes, phone cases). One thing I do have a photo of (but can’t find at the moment) was the cafe where they served Coca Cola Classic out of a beer tap, and had local news channels playing on HDTV’s. Classy.

What I had hoped to see there were prototypes, test mules, concepts, and other one-off vehicles. To be fair, there were a couple, barely, but the museum for the most part was stocked with “million dollar a dozen” classics and F1 cars driven by Michael Schumacher (keep fighting Michael), including a half rotunda that had been added on to the museum to house many of the F1 cars in a manner similar to statues of important historical figures.

One element of Ferrari that was completely lacking was any display of road cars from the 1970’s through the 2000’s. That’s right, thirty years of road going Ferraris were absent from the namesake museum. Okay, there was an F40 LM, but that was about it.

I admit that maybe I’m being a little hard on Ferrari, but really, if you’ve been to the car museums in Germany (or any half way decent car museums and most are half way decent), then you know Ferrari could do better. Way better. And yes, I’ll be posting about those German museums, and it is going to take a while.

Also, there were a lot of race cars.

All this being said though, the drive to get there was a dream, and passing by the factory itself was something of a pilgrimage, but first you have to drive by the other gift shop.

I didn’t go in.