Fasten your seat belts for a frontline report from the mean streets:
It takes a truly spectacular automobile to get attention and draw a crowd on the streets of Manhattan.
It takes a truly spectacular automobile to draw a crowd on the streets of Manhattan
Porsche 911? Nah, everyone has one.
Rolls-Royce? Half a dozen midtown hotels use them daily for limo service.
Lamborghini? No big shockers there; the city is full of the rich and ostentatious.
Ferrari? Close, but no.
A stop at Ralph Lauren on Madison Avenue; click to enlarge. Jacket by A/X; cap by Brooks Brothers; sunglasses by Paul Smith; scarf by Etro; gloves by Madova. Photo by Fernando Morales.
Well, maybe—if it’s a classic.
And for those of us who remember the ’80s fondly, or at least watch Magnum, P.I. reruns on Netflix, classic Ferrari means only one thing… 328 GTS.
The 328 GTS epitomized the ’80s in terms of excess and prestige
Angled, muscular and mean, the Ferrari 328 was the natural succession from Tom Selleck’s 308, with greater displacement, more horsepower and improved bodywork.
This automobile epitomized the decade in terms of excess and prestige.
Men wanted to drive one.
Women wanted to be picked up in them.
A stopover at Ghurka in the Sherry-Netherland to load up on beautiful canvas and leather luggage; click to enlarge
And teenagers had posters of them on their walls—right next to Farrah Fawcett.
And this really wasn’t all that long ago.
Classic Car Club of Manhattan lent us the keys to this beauty
On our last trip to New York City, DRIVEN was handed the keys to a brilliant Rosso Corsa ’88 example by the awesome guys at Classic Car Club of Manhattan, and off we went in search of our inner Gordon Gekko.
Of course we had to have a suitably stylish home base and all-round cool spot to pull up to in between excursions.
Where else but the ultra-elegant Mandarin Oriental?
At the luxurious Mandarin Oriental the doorman brings our Filson bag out to the car; click to enlarge
The city’s top modern luxury hotel is perched atop the Time Warner Center high above Central Park, a stylish aerie from which to survey the skyline and indulge in the pampering the brand is world famous for.
The city’s top modern luxury hotel is perched atop the Time Warner Center
A chic, soothing retreat where gracious service, all the amenities you could possibly want, and décor to match.
Pulling up in the Ferrari we felt right at home, and the staff always managed to have it ready and purring for us when we descended from the clouds after a sybaritic night’s sleep.
And as elegant and stylish as our room was, it was tempting just to linger in the lounge and be waited on hand and foot while taking in the incredible view from the massive windows.
The Mandarin Oriental’s luxurious lobby lounge; click to enlarge
Then there’s the brilliant MObar, a perfect place for an elegant cocktail or two, where director Whit Stillman joined us to toast the success of his new film Damsels in Distress.
We all agreed it was as chic and sleek as any of the world’s top nightspots, but totally devoid of pretension.
The sleek and chic MObar, where we met up with director Whit Stillman
And to top it off it happened that the dignified bartender had a small part in Whit’s film as a college professor.
A master mixologist and an actor to boot – that’s the Mandarin Oriental for you.
And of course the hotel has a great spa, pool and even yoga classes when you need to recover the next day.
From an excess of mixology or simply too much luxurious hotel living, it’s hard to say.
Guest room at the Mandarin Oriental; click to enlarge
We’re told their Asiate restaurant is to die for as well, though we didn’t get a chance to sample it on this trip.
Call it an excuse to come back, as of we needed one.
The Mandarin Oriental is at the heart of the world’s most vibrant city
The Mandarin Oriental was also perfect because of its central location at the heart of the world’s most vibrant city.
Of course, driving a Ferrari in Midtown traffic isn’t the dream most of us have when it comes to saddling up in the prancing pony.
Most of us would wish for an open autobahn, or twisty mountain roads in Tyrol (or even Oahu) to get it out and let her rip.
Michael Williams of ACL tries out the driver’s seat; click to enlarge
But the truth of the matter is, this car belongs in New York.
Shouts of approval, thumbs-up from passers-by outside the Mandarin Oriental and our other stops, and the constant flash of cameras told us this car is welcome here and that everybody remembers what it stands for.
Shouts of approval, thumbs-up from passersby and the constant flash of cameras
And it actually suits the Big Apple just fine, and looked almost as good elsewhere as outside the hotel, where it was admittedly most at home.
The rev of the V8 and the clink of the gated shifter while dodging potholes and herds of wild gypsy cabs is just as smile-inducing as any backcountry jaunt.
Because with a car like this, the experience isn’t just about power and handling, it’s about the lifestyle that driving it suggests.
It looks like you’re staying at the Mandarin Oriental even if that’s not actually the case, though if so it screams “Presidential Suite.”
And it is just as awesome watching it unfold from the sidewalk, as you can see from the photo at the top taken outside Levi’s super-cool Meatpacking store.
At Pearl Oyster Bar on Cornelia Street; click to enlarge
The GTS is not tremendously powerful, it’s not particularly sophisticated or luxurious, but it is red, mean and awesome.
It’s a Ferrari!
Despite its aged styling and lack of electronic doodads, our stops at a number of NYIAS press events tell us this car is still pertinent in a world of massaging seats and Bluetooth.
Driving this car in a city like New York really is the Ferrari fantasy
Pulling up to a Land Rover event in Chelsea, men in headsets told each other to “Get that thing out of here!” for fear it might take attention away from their new models.
And outside of an unveiling for the new Porsche Boxster, all eyes were on us as we pulled up to the curb.
Bottom line: driving this car in a city like New York really is the Ferrari fantasy, complete with all of the pomp, circumstance and prestige to go with it.
You won’t get this kind of feeling in the 599 or the 458, but you will in this wonderful wedge of red.
Long live the ’80s…
If you’ve been kicking the tires on your own membership to the Classic Car Club, now’s your chance. Annual CCC membership points start at $8K for 35 – 40 days of driving in 40+ cars with 60 years of automotive history.
Click here for details or call 212.229.2402 for an appointment.
With UrbanDaddy editorial director Randy Goldberg at UD HQ; click to enlarge. Photo by Paul Underwood.
- Posted July 09, 2012
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- Jared Paul Stern for DRIVEN