The irony is that purists once accused Mr. Montezemolo himself of selling out the brand. Take the California T, for example. When the first California made its debut six years ago, the notion of adding a front-engine, V8-powered convertible to Ferrari’s lineup—not an extreme sports coupe but a powerful, balanced grand touring car—struck many as a misstep, déclassé, an Italian Corvette.
But Mr. Montezemolo’s Midas touch didn’t abandon him. The California is now Ferrari’s volume product, with more than 10,000 sold from 2008 to 2014. A staggering 70% of California owners are new customers, and one in three is American.
The California needed more power and better efficiency, which obliged Ferrari to use a forced-induction engine in a road car for the first time since the F40 in 1987.
And thanks to Mr. Montezemolo, it sounds like a Ferrari. The key piece of hardware in this tale is the engine’s wildly complicated, cast-and-welded equal-length exhaust runners, metallic knots of alloy tubes around each turbocharger. When I visited the factory in June, I asked the head of powertrain development, Vittorio Dini, about the unusual-looking headers.
“Oh, you ask my boss [Mr. Montezemolo],” he said with a laugh. “That is a crazy way to do it. I mean, technically, yes, but in business?” Mr. Dini went on to explain how the only way for his team to meet its aural targets—to give the turbocharged car a Ferrari’s characteristic brassy resonance, its heavenly shout—was to use this aerospace-complex and expensive part.
But the Big Guy said go for it, and so another Ferrari was born.
Who’s going to go for it now?
Automotive jobs to be done was most recently discussed on Asymcar 18.