Ferrari FF, Meet World. World, Ferrari’s First-Ever AWD

Bloomberg — April 6, 2011

Ferrari keeps its secrets better than a Cold War spy agency. No one saw the radically-shaped, two-door, four-seat Ferrari Four coming.

It broke cover in late January, along with the news that it would be the company’s first-ever all-wheel-drive.

Two months later, I’m tucked behind the wheel of the $300,000 FF, testing its V-12-powered moves deep in the Dolomite mountains of northern Italy. Talk about a happy turn of events.

Painted a luminous blue, my Ferrari is tackling a series of thickly stacked switchbacks, white snow spilling onto the asphalt on both sides. Continue reading…

Introducing the World’s Coolest, Super-Secret, Supercar!

By Jason H. Harper;

APRIL 1, 2011 —Tirana, Albania

Call it the greatest supercar you’ve never heard of. Experience this ethereal bullet and you’ll ask yourself, “Bugatti what? Ferrari who?” But only if you can pony up the $666,666 and get on the invite list.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Several weeks ago, I received a golden ticket in the mail, requesting my presence at the famous Shqiponja racetrack in Albania, just outside the capital of Tirana. The only other identifier on the invite was a silhouette of a low-slung sports car, impossible to identify, but obviously sexier than Angelina Jolie.

Intrigued, I booked my ticket through the anonymous 1-800 number on the invite — the still unknown company’s PR team/concierge service.

This morning I was met by on the tarmac by a S500 sedan, black as a stallion, with frosted-out windows. The back door opened, and I met the man — the visionary behind the most extraordinary car in the world.

Fab-Veloce CPA-MMTL 16W

The only snap shot I was able to sneak of the fabled Fab-Veloce CPA-MMTL 16W.

Few have actually met Fabio Veloce der Maschine. Heck, in the industry he’s like Kaiser Soze — alluded to, rumored about. A top member of a high-powered PR team, who also worked for Princess Diana, supposedly spent six months as der Maschine’s attaché, but will only talk about it when he’s topped up with several bottles of vintage Perrier-Jouët. Continue reading…

Crashing the $550,000 Gumpert Apollo (It Wasn’t Me!)

Orange Crush: The $550,000 Gumpert Apollo

By Jason H. Harper – Jul 22, 2010 (Bloomberg News)

You don’t want to be the guy who crashes someone else’s $550,000 supercar.

That’s obvious, but never more so than when you watch a half-million-dollar car getting towed from the racetrack into a garage where the frowning owners stand.

I wasn’t that guy, thank heaven. It was the dude right after me who lost control of the bright-orange Gumpert Apollo, helicoptering off the track and into a tire wall, cratering the nose.

Then there was the fellow just before me. He spun it but didn’t hit anything.

Super sensation: Hey, it's only, like, half a mill...

I drove about six laps in the violently powerful, German- made supercar, treating it like a pit viper with irritable bowel syndrome. Very, very delicately. Continue reading…

An Obituary to the Much Loved Manual

(Bloomberg) By Jason H. Harper – Jun 10, 2010

This is a love letter to the manual transmission. Or perhaps its obituary.

Still ballin': The Ford Mustang still has a six-speed manual... for now.

I understand the emotion that a stick and clutch engenders. Passionate drivers often feel they’re better connected to a car which can be shifted manually. Others go even further. A fellow once told me, “I’ll let go of my stick when you pry it out of my dead, cold hand.” Continue reading…