In my day job, I occasionally find myself in a roomful of people asking, “What’s your favorite brand?” I prefer knee-jerk answers—the ones from the heart. Nike. Starbucks. Louis Vuitton. Then, I walk them backwards to understand why they feel an emotional connection to a product, and it’s often tied to a personal story. A memory, an ambition, an idea of who they are.  

Photography: Christian Cipriani

For me, that brand has always been Ferrari, and if you read this site you may feel the same. Ferrari is a continuous red thread running through my life, captivating and inspiring me on an emotional level. More so than many others, my Ferrari memories wash over me like an old box of photos spilled across the bed.

Ferrari is Family

Christian Cipriani Maranello

It’s my father smiling with his excited sons whenever we unexpectedly saw a prancing horse: The old man in sunglasses slowly rumbling through Toronto’s Little Italy in his red F40, chomping on a cigar and smiling like he owned the place. The watery Azzuro California hues of a 550 Maranello floating through the window of Pittsburgh’s only second-hand exotic car dealer. The F40 and F50 that overtook us one summer on the Massachusetts turnpike, our minivan flanked by two screaming streaks of red lit up by the setting sun. The guy from LA at my aunt’s wedding telling 12-year-old me about the thrill of driving his 328 flat-out in the desert.

These are memories that still warm my heart. Other moments: A white-knuckled ride in a Testarossa for my 21st birthday. The Christmas a six-speed 360 Spider rolled up the driveway and into our garage; later, an F430. And of course, passing through the redbrick arch at Maranello to tour the factory with my father.

Ferrari will forever be part of our family fabric.

Dream Cars Book

Ferrari is Heritage

As a third-generation Italian-American, I was raised to always view the tricolore as a reliable symbol of excellence. Food. Fashion. Design. Cars. Italy was always the last word in beauty and creativity; if someone did it well, Italians did it better.

I would pore over editions of my dad’s Car & Driver and later, Evo. I flipped through my 1990 copy of The Great Book of Dream Cars until the pages tattered. There were so many beautiful cars—wild concepts from Bertone and Pininfarina that championed an indulgent brand of Italian futurism. It made me so proud of my roots.

Ferrari is Perfection

The world is full of wonderful supercars and hypercars, so comparing them can feel silly, like ranking Olympians when you can’t fit a second between gold and silver. But I will say this: When everything else is too…something…Ferrari is always just right. It’s the Goldilocks of exceptional cars.

From this perspective I present “Driven by Design,” in which twice a month I will focus on the visceral, emotional art of Ferrari. This is no quest for converts. It’s a place to debate teologia rosso amongst devout Ferraristi and to explore the rich heritage of Italian automobile design. Along the way, I welcome the expertise and opinions of this community, and hope to learn more about engineering and history through both my own reading and your insights.

Start your (V8 and above) engines, and happy reading.

Above: Getting ready to drive a Testarossa on my 21st birthday, in 2003. I was more excited than I look.
Below: Enjoying moments in the 360 Spider and F430 Spider, circa 2003-2006.

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