If you have booked a Ferrari and are waiting for it, the Italian supercar manufacturer will send you a copy of The Official Ferrari Magazine every quarter. And they’ll keep delivering four copies a year to you for the first three years you own the car. But if you’d like to receive the magazine but cannot afford a Ferrari, you can always subscribe for it at 250 euros, or around Rs 16,000. Then there’s the third option — get somebody who’s intimately involved with Ferrari to send you a copy.
In this case, it was TCS who sent across the bulky December edition of The Official Ferrari Magazine, which also doubles up as the 2009 yearbook. And what a lovely book it is! Lavishly illustrated and beautifully printed, the book has some fabulous features that only an in-house magazine can bring out. For instance, it has the step-by-step process of producing the first 458 Italia — the all-new Ferrari that has left reviewers completely walloped — and the behind-the-scenes details of the gigantic Ferrari World theme park and circuit coming up at Abu Dhabi. Heck, legendary supercar collector and Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason writes his own article in it! TCS of course, provides IT support to Ferrari’s racing and Gran Turismo programmes. Thirty lucky TCS employees are stationed at Maranello, while there are others who work out of TCS’s Ferrari offshore development centre in Chennai. I have heard that the next issue of The Official Ferrari Magazine will have a more extensive article on TCS’s involvement with the Prancing Horse. You have our address, guys!
Some heritage cars from the fabulous Vijay Mallya collection are housed very close to the Business Standard office in Mumbai. The private museum also doubles up as a restoration garage. It is of course a regular pilgrimage destination for me. There are various cars in different stages of restoration including a Fiat Balilla, an ancient De Dion Bouton and a fabulous Packard V12 aka the Twin Six. And there’s another one that looks as if it’s just wafted out of the showroom. It’s a 1956 Cadillac Sedan de Ville, a large, luxurious barge boasting tonnes of chrome, a voluptuous V8 and power everything — it’s one of the cars that exemplified America’s most heady days. The Caddy belonged to Vittal Mallya; maybe if I can get VJM to pilot it, there’s a nice story there in the making...
Sometimes I also drive around in our long-term Maruti Suzuki Ritz; my other long-termer is the Mercedes-Benz C 230, you see. This week, while I was parked, a complete stranger and prospective Ritz owner checked out the car and extracted all the information about it from me. He had also shortlisted the Chevrolet Beat and wanted to decide between the two. If only I had our February issue with me — we have the very same comparison test in that. And what do we recommend? I’m not telling; you’ll have to get yourself a copy of the magazine. Nobody has come and asked me about the ownership experience of the C-Class, however.