Is it true that Ferrari’s are built to exact measurements of their buyers and you can’t buy another if you crash one?
Daniel Becker, Patent Attorney and Early-stage Engineering (2013-present)
- built to exact measurements: Maybe you are thinking of some very high end, custom built models?
Ferrari has a personalization program for people for whom money is no object and who wish to pay a ridiculous amount of money for a car which is really only moderately different from an existing model. Also, Ferrari has had a few models which not individually-commissioned as part of the program, but which are designed to specifically fit a particular driver. One is the recent (now discontinued) Ferrari LaFerrari. Yes, that is what it is called.
In most cars, the passenger seats are components which move within the interior of the car, and is moved relative to the cabin, with the pedals and steering wheel located relative to the dashboard and firewall. Most cars have steering wheels that are moveable relative to the dashboard, but primarily, the seat position must be able to be moved around, for people of many different sizes to fit.
In the LaFerrari, Ferrari decided that, to save weight, minimize the amount of space necessary in the cabin, and to better locate the driver in a consistent position within the car (which has other benefits, such as safety, visibility, and consistency in the role of the driver’s mass on the performance of the vehicle), as well as to lower the center of gravity of the car, and to provide an ultra-low seating position (which is fun, more than anything), they would eliminate the seats themselves and shape the interior into an adequate surface for a seat, and then put the padding for the seat directly onto the seat-like surfaces in the car. To facilitate the ability of the steering wheel and the pedals to accommodate drivers of a variety of sizes, these components were given a long range of adjustability, so that the controls essentially are ~brought-to~ the driver, rather than the driver having to located relative to the controls.
Because the padding is not adjustable, Ferrari custom-fit the padding to each driver, if I recall correctly.
This process is also used in many racing cars, for all of the same reasons as I recited above.
- As for “You can’t buy another, if you crash one,” I don’t know about that, but I’m under the impression that this may actually be a confusion of two potential factors:
- The cars which Ferrari are making that are like the ones I just described are all very limited production. They only make a few hundred of any of the periodically-engineered supercars, like the LaFerrari, which was preceded by the Ferrari Enzo Ferrari (yes, that’s what it was called), and then the F50 and the F40. We’re also living in a time when there are so many extremely wealthy people that by the time each of these cars are offered to the public, they tend to already have all been sold. Further, Ferrari has an unusual practice of giving preference to potential buyers which have a history of owning Ferraris. Ferrari touts it as a reward for being loyal to the brand, or something to that effect. They let these people know of the vehicles earlier, and give them an opportunity to reserve one, before it is offered to the general public.
- So, independent of the SEATS not being adjustable, it’s quite possible that each of these are fit to the buyer, and then, by the time there’s a crash, all of the others are spoken for. It isn’t so much that they don’t LET you buy another one. They just aren’t going to make anymore. However, Ferrari can’t prevent someone from buying another one, from someone else. It’s just the property of a different person. They don’t regulate ownership. I also suspect that they will be only too happy to accommodate ANY owner of one of these high-end models with a reshaped seat. Ferrari produces these cars as representatives of the bleeding-edge of their technologies for every era, and wants them to be regarded well for a very long time. They do not want owners to become dissatisfied with the brand. HOWEVER… they aren’t going to do that for FREE! No no no. It’s a multi-million-dollar collectible with exotic technologies that requires a fortune to keep running. They will charge some extraordinary amount of money to do that, but I’m sure that they can only get away with it because someone with the money to OWN a Ferrari LaFerrari will be able to easily afford it.
- I seriously doubt that Ferrari would be so spiteful as to refuse to sell a car to an owner that wrecks one of their cars. That scenario implies that they do have another instance of one of the cars to sell, which has not already been sold or reserved. They would have little reason to sell two or three such cars to anyone, in that scenario. And the whole point of this whole practice is to foster brand loyalty among very very wealthy people. I am sure that Ferrari loves it when someone buys an Enzo, and then a 488 GTB, and then a california, and then sells all three for an old model or a very very old, restored classic model, and then trades that up in a very visible public auction for a larger amount of money, and then buys a Laferrari, and/or loves it so much that they also sign up for its replacement (such as the convertible LaFerrari Aperta, which came out later).
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