By Walter Sanders
We almost made it to the Enzo Ferrari House and Museum in Modena, Italy. The founder of the legendary automobile brand was from this prosperous town in Emilia-Romagna.
The museum was open. We were well within visiting hours. We had the money to enter.
But I got distracted.
A young woman standing on the sidewalk outside the museum entrance was handing out flyers. She was promoting Ferrari test drives.
And what a perfect spot for that offer! Passers-by arriving there have already self-selected their interest in Ferrari and the museum.
We talked for a bit. She explained that there were a couple of cars — a pair of Ferraris — just down the street available for driving. I could take a short spin for 150 Euro.
“That’s a lot of money. But at least we could have a fun photo opp with a car.” I said to Sharon.
Then Sharon said, “Hmmm, let’s take a look.” I interpreted that as maybe, just maybe, tacit approval.
This was our last full day of a ten-week adventure in Italy. I had logged just shy of 4,900 kilometers from Milan through Sardinia, Sicily, Molise and back again on a more-than-adequate Peugeot 308 station wagon.
It was sporty enough with six forward gears and had shapely lines for a middle-of-the-road passenger automobile. But a thrill to drive? No.
So perhaps Sharon encouraging this Ferrari flirtation with me was some sort of payback for handling the unique opportunities and challenges that define driving in Italy. I’ll never know. I didn’t ask and Sharon isn’t talking.
But as we headed down the street, I was getting excited.
A Sexy Beast
The 488 Spider is an enticing, sultry machine. It is high velocity sculpture even standing still … a marvel of aerodynamic flow. It is beyond graceful, but it looks menacing too. It is both beauty and the beast in one enthralling, high powered, four wheel package.
My heart jumped as we neared it. I admired it from afar, but up close I wanted to caress it.
Sharon continued to encourage me. “How often do you get the chance to drive a Ferrari?” she teased.
Sharon was right.
I seized the opportunity.
The drive was thrilling. Lorenzo of Mr. J Test Drive rode shotgun and was my copilot in the sleek cockpit. He explained the manual paddle shifters on the steering wheel, he helped me adjust the mirrors and seat to my needs. Then we roared off.
Kicking A Ferrari 488 Spider
It was solid, fast, and nimble. Driving on city streets and a bit of highway confirmed the profound power and agility of the 488 Spider. At Lorenzo’s urging . . . press all the gas! . . . I kicked it hard a couple of times. The thrust was exhilarating yet I felt at ease, comfortable, and confident in the driver’s seat. The Ferrari fit me like a glove.
The ride was over in no time, but I glowed for days afterward.
My recommendation? If you can get behind the steering wheel of a Ferrari, do it.
Here’s GoPro footage from the highway portion of my drive. It’s loud and windy, so adjust volume accordingly. The Spider looks, goes, and sounds fast.
Information on Mr. J Test Drive that arranges the test drives in Modena:
Here’s Ferrari’s promo video for 488 Spider
And, rounding the home stretch, my top tips for Driving In Italy
Leave a comment to tell us about your wildest experience on Italian wheels.