Ferrari Portofino Atelier Appointment - Day 2
After staying overnight at the Hotel Maranello Palace we took a taxi back to Ferrari and to the main customer entrance and waited in the reception for my Atelier appointment with Francesca. I had already prepared for the appointment and had a number of pictures of various Ferrari exteriors and interiors, new and old, that I was going to use as inspiration for my car.
There are two Atelier suites next to each other and Francesca took Nigel, my wife and myself to the suite on the left-hand side. Inside the suite in the centre of the room was a stunning Ferrari Portofino in a matte grey exterior colour with a saddle brown interior. There were also samples of various leather swatches hanging on a wall, interior panels in various colours and different stitching types located on various shelves, on another wall there were rectangular metal panels painted in various car colours and also a selection of steering wheels in various trims and colours. On the floor around the edge of the room were various seat types in a variety of leather and stitching colours as well as a selection of wheels. Finally, at the rear of the suite was a window with a view into the Ferrari Classiche department.
Francesca showed me around the Portofino in the atelier room highlighting all of the options. We then took a walk over to the final stage of production line where cars are thoroughly checked and there were a number of Ferrari Portofino’s and other Ferrari cars to give me an idea of colours, wheel options and specifications.
On our way back to our Atelier suite we visited the other Atelier suite where there was a Ferrari Pista and the room was laid out in a similar fashion to the suite we were in and there were some additional Portofino options to look at.
We then sat at a large table with various books, interior panels, carbon components and a computer keyboard and mouse on it. The keyboard and mouse were used to control the car configurator. I had already decided on my exterior colour, which was rosso corsa and the basic interior colour which was to be nero with rosso stitching and these details were fed into the configurator and displayed on a large screen in the room. I was offered a number of options that were not available to UK dealers at the time, such as two new seat options, ventilated seats and a choice of rear bumper colours. However, as I was unsure about the seat type to have we had to go back to the production line again, where I was allowed to take a couple of pictures of the new style seats, but was asked not to publish them on any social media.
I had previously seen the painted Scuderia shields, which are located on the front wings instead of the enamelled shields, on a Tailor Made Ferrari at an event I had previously been to and these were added to my specification. I decided to have every carbon option both interior and exterior. I had previously decided that I did not like the Daytona seats, but after seeing the new design with the ventilated padding I was smitten and optioned them. I then discussed the interior with Francesca and how it could be made even more special. She showed me a number of interior panels with different stitching and coloured insert panels. She brought out her own laptop and showed me images of some Atelier interiors she had created for other customers. Eventually I decided to have rosso leather inserts in the upper and lower area of the door panels continuing on the rear wall area in a “U” shape. Leather inserts were also added to the central arm rest. I had the Prancing horse logo stitched on the rear wall and finally an Atelier logo dedication plaque located on the central armrest.
The configurator could only show the basic car and standard options. So, the airbrushed shields, Daytona seats and leather inserts could not be viewed. However, Francesca told me that renders of my car showing all of the options would be created and sent to Graypaul Nottingham for them to send to me.
After the appointment Nigel asked Francesca if we could go inside the Ferrari Classiche department. This was not something that was normally offered and she had to get approval from the department’s manager. After a few minutes she came back and advised that we could go in but would had to stay within the yellow guides on the floor. There were about 20 cars being worked on and many had car covers hiding them from view. I asked Francesca a number of questions relating to the cars we could see but she did not know the answers. She disappeared and came back with the manager. Suddenly all the covers were off the cars and I was given a VIP viewing of the cars and being told about the work being carried out. One of the most fascinating items was an engine that had no cam belt and just one main gasket made of metal. It worked like a Swiss watch and rings around cylinders stopped the oil escaping. As well as road cars there were a number of race cars including a couple form the Ecclestone collection. Another highlight was Enzo Ferrari’s personal Ferrari car. After about 30 minutes the tour of the Ferrari Classiche department ended and my Atelier appointment was complete.
To celebrate a successful car configuration, we once again left Ferrari and crossed the road for a lunch at Cavallino Restaurant.
We then drove to the airport and caught a 7:00pm flight back to Heathrow. At Heathrow we said out goodbyes to Nigel and drove home.