Celebrate the End of Winter by Driving a Classic Ferrari
Photography by Markus Haub
The winter can be quite long in Germany. And snow or salt on the roads make it unadvisable do drive your classic car. For petrolheads like us it’s an endless time. I try filling the gap with memories of the last season. I dream of the beautiful rides and experiences and revel in photos. However, memories fade over the time. The sensations of driving disappear from my treasury of souvenirs and the longing to replenish them grows stronger and stronger.
Then at last, suddenly spring arrives and the roads are clear and dry. When sun rays finally warm the skin, the time for the first ride of the year has come. It is always exciting, but that anticipation is tinged by the fear that something might not work, may be broken, or the car won’t even start. In Germany, that day came last week.
The winter was luckily quite short this year and we didn’t have to wait too long for that first drive of the season. I opened the garage, took the cover off the Dino and was immediately excited anew by the lines and proportion. It’s so flat, so wide, so angular–so 70s! I lifted the front trunk open and unplugged the battery charger. Then I unlocked the driver’s door and slid behind the wheel. The signal-horn button is adorned by the black horse on a yellow background, which distinguishes this GT4 as one of the second series. My Dino was completely restored in the early ’90s and has a new alcantara/leather interior that smells a bit different than the original.
The instruments were all in the zero position. I turned the key one notch, my heartbeat quickened as the fuel pump hummed to life. Then I stepped on the gas pedal a few times to prime the carburetors and turned the ignition key completely. As always after a long slumber, the starter had a bit of trouble firing up the engine. But finally it began to groan and start. It smelled a bit, but it ran.
Carefully, I exited the village on one the my favorite roads. It takes quite a while for the oil to warm and thus I keep the engine below 3000rpm. While I wait for the temperature to climb I pay attention to all the sounds and from time to time scan the instruments: oil pressure, oil temperature and water temperature. Everything looked good. A radio was never installed following the restoration. And why should it have been? The symphony comes from the 3.0 liter 8-cylinder engine in the back.
The temperature finally climbs to proper operating range and I can increase the speed and accelerate. I run through the gears–second, third, fourth, oops, way too fast. The GT4 is so wonderful on the road and the engine revs so freely that you forget about the speed. On the highway I can take things a little faster. The Ferrari rapidly gets up to 200km/h. That’s pretty infernal and my hair is almost standing on end. How I missed this!…Even the shortest winter is too long!
In the evening I drive to industrial port in Mainz. It’s a huge construction site where soon a new district will be built. The former wine warehouse, and its beautiful old crane, is a nice spot to meet friends, enjoy the evening sun, have a drink, or just dream. It’s also a perfect spot to take some photos while the sun goes down.