When the alarm dock rings before the rooster wakes up, it means that the day is going to be pretty special. Many were waiting for the month of September for their holidays, some because a song of Green Day says that – I was because I have an appointment in Maranello, at Ferrari HQ, where the new California T Handling Speciale is waiting for me being at disposal for an entire day. Its about a bunch of intense hours carefully planned with several details, allowing photographers to do their job, but also providing a test that is able to give me all the necessary feedbacks for being able to give my humble opinion on the first turbocharged product that spots the Prancing Horse on its bonnet, since the acclaimed F40.
The journey to Maranello runs smooth and shortly before leaving the motorway we behold the sun rise, a prelude to a warm late summer day. Entering in the homeland of Enzo Ferrari, every angle of the town speaks of passion for the “Rossa”, every house, every intersection – we are in the heart of the Italian motor valley, where it all began and where the supercar par excellence breathe deeply, in an almost surreal atmosphere, as you get closer to Via Abetone Inferiore. We go through the gates, and we are immediately greeted by the press office that does not waste any time and illustrates in detail the path traveled from the first series of the new generation of California, through the new T, until the Handling Speciale, which would soon be all for me.
If you say California I immediately think of a wonderful coast that kisses the ocean, a blue water invaded by surfers and swimmers that seem to come out of a classic American TV series. Sun, wind and freedom. The original 250 California was just that and was commissioned specifically to meet an ever-growing desire for Ferrari in the stars and stripes market. It was a global success and various versions followed for what is probably the most iconic roadster in the world, then and now, after almost 60 years.
In the second half of 2008, a 2+2 with a front V8 has been released, but with a folding hard top and also in this case sales gave reason to Ferrari, who scored a major achievement, winning customers who absolutely does not want to give up the possibility to drive a purebred supercar and therefore opt for this great grand tourer. Performance and handling are however not comparable to those of the F430 (mid engine two-seater in production in the same period) and very often, this “Cali” has been labeled as a girly model. Its been seven years, and California has risen with a letter more. The “T”, which stands for turbo, is here to point out how things have radically changed.