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2002 Ferrari Enzo
By David Nguyen

I need to see this car in person. Just about every car looks better in real life than it does in photographs. But in the pictures I've seen it appears rather ungainly. In some front views the headlights even make it look like a mid-90s Pontiac Sunfire. Ferrari and Mercedes, with the SLR concept cars, have both tried to add F1 hints with the fronts of their cars and both end up looking unattractive. Formula 1 cars are very narrow single-seaters and don't have fenders or grills. To try and make a road car resemble that is an uphill battle. Between the F40, F50 and Enzo, the F50's styling is my favorite. It seems more classical and smoother, whereas the Enzo is mostly hard edges. The F40 looks like it is a product of the 1980s. In 15 years I predict the Enzo's styling will appear equally dated.

The Enzo's tail is much more attractive aft of the rear wheel centerline than the rest of the car. Underneath there are some stunning details too. I like the door hinges they used, magnificent alloy pieces. The engine bay is very attractive.

I did notice in the Road & Track (July 2003) comparison between the Enzo, McLaren F1 and Saleen S7 that only the McLaren has a transverse gearbox. The advantage of that is there is so much less mass behind the rear axle line, which makes it handle a lot better. I can hear the Porsche purists about to vent their objections, but it's true. All else being equal, the greater the percentage of the mass you can position between the front and rear axle lines, the easier it is to get a car to change direction. So in this regard it would appear the McLaren has a built in advantage. Plus the Enzo weighs in at a portly 3230 pounds (curb weight), about 400 more than either the McLaren or the Saleen. It's like carrying two big passengers, or a fat guy and a full keg of beer.

However, with a decade between them it would seem the Ferrari's tire and suspension technology would enable it to at least lessen the gap to the McLaren, if not close it, in terms of lap times on most any race track.

A car that is easy to drive is not necessarily a great thing. A car that is satisfying to drive is a great thing. The issue then is a matter of matching driver skill and the demands of the machine. But the more demanding the machine, the fewer drivers will have the skill to find it satisfying. Since even Ferrari makes thousands of cars a year, at very high prices I might add, it must accommodate the average wealthy driver, rather than just the highly skilled wealthy driver. But since there are only about 400 Enzos built, we can be sure that this car is smokin' quick.

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Pictures of the Ferrari Enzo
Click pictures to enlarge

Posted March 12, 2006
Photos courtesy of

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