Well, the title is not exactly accurate. The mileage on the car in question hasn’t even hit 100,000. I am moved to write this based on a spontaneous morning coffee in Palm Springs with my friend James Taylor as he was traveling from LA to Phoenix. Jim lives in upstate New York with a wonderful and very eclectic collection of cars, all of which are used, and regularly. He’s also one of the founders and long-time supporters of the Saratoga Automobile Museum in Saratoga Springs, NY.
In Palm Springs that morning, we had a great, if too brief, conversation covering topics from cars to date shakes and yoga. Jim and I can speak on a wide range of things and I never know which of the world’s problems we would solve before we part.
One of the best things about seeing Jim that morning was that he was driving his ‘beater’ Ferrari FF. It is something that I always enjoy seeing, especially when it’s streaked in dirt and dust. It already has 37,000 miles on the clock and Jim is determined to get to 100k miles before the warranty runs out 6 1/2 years from now.
We talked about how great it would be to take one of these cars and match Irv Gordon’s 3 million mile Volvo record- although Jim wondered about going past the warranty on the Ferrari.
Modern high performance cars have been engineered and built to be reliable and usable. We are a long way from the days when my good friend Aaron Newman bought a brand new Ferrari 250 GTE from Chinetti Motors in New York City in 1963. Flush with the success of his musical electronics business, he decided to trade up from his Saab 96 to the Ferrari of his dreams.
Making one of the most dramatic trades up imaginable, from 3- to 12-cylinders in one bite, he drove his new Ferrari back home to central New Jersey- downshifting in the Lincoln Tunnel just to hear the glorious noise.
He returned to the dealer a week and a half later for his 500 mile oil change and announced to the service manager that he and his wife were planning a drive up to Montreal later in the week. The service manager replied in astonishment “In this car? A drive that far? Do you think that’s wise?” Needless to say, my friend was less than amused that his expensive new Ferrari couldn’t actually be used as a car. Of course, he made the trip anyway, and actually made it back.
We are a long way from those days- and to me nothing is more tragic than reading ads for late-model exotic cars which boast of their ultra-low mileage. It is ridiculous to own a car which has been created to provide miles of driving pleasure and let it sit in a garage, no matter how luxurious that garage might be.
Besides Jim Taylor, there are people who drive their ultracars- one being artist, collector, writer, enthusiast, rancher and philanthropist Miles Collier, the guiding spirit behind the REVS Institute in Naples. FL. Among the many amazing cars in his possession is a McLaren F1. Widely acknowledged as the most notable ‘modern classic’, this masterwork of engineering and design is the pinnacle of 20th century road-going sports car development.
As lovely as the McLaren looks on display at the REVS Institute (formerly the Collier Collection and now open to the public), it’s even more beautiful when Miles and his wife Parker drive it from Florida to their ranch in Montana. That’s a road trip. It’s an inspiration to me and I hope to all.
As for Jim Taylor’s goal, I can’t wait to see him get to 100k and beyond. Way to go, Jim !!!