Friday, January 10, 2020

A FERRARI STORY: Maria Assunta di Rossi-Ledesma Dares to Dream (1st of 3 Parts)

Text and photos by Jules Ledesma IV

Luna di’ Miele: Vignettes, Musings, Moments


Delivery Hall. The Ferrari Factory turnover with Assunta.

PROLOGUE - THE FERRARI FACTORY TURNOVER

In the beginning... we were late.

Autumn, it’s a glorious fall day, high noon. Sunlight a warm gold- tinged orange against a brilliant azure sky. An impish frivolous breeze. Light cold and crisp, as if to remind that winter beckons. 

We’ve arrived two hours late for a very important event; not of our doing, yet late just the same.

We’re here, Oh, dear Lord! We’re actually here. Maranello, Modena, Ferrari World.

At the main gate, we were directed to the reception and receiving lounge; a modern glass and steel addition adjacent to the much older and larger brick building- the former assembly building. Clad in ochre, is a gate, more a square tunnel punched through the brick façade. Its other flank adjoins the glass and steel reception lounge.

The entrance is more like a portal to what lies beyond. Above the entrance - the firm’s signage. And just like the structure, though seemingly aged, is clean, simple, and ‘as new’. The name says it all... FERRARI.

We were fashionably late; in time to witness a stream of crimson clad workers-off for their midday break. I see our hosts inside the reception and receiving area also coming out...we're gonna-do-a-Jay-Kay.

The stark contrast from where both groups alight; the purpose of our visit, and all the events leading up to and including this moment, elicit a melange of emotions so strong I have to stop, take pause, step back, and just "live in the moment".

THE TURNOVER - JULES AND ASSUNTA DO A JAY KAY

Assunta and I are at the Ferrari HQ and Factory in Maranello to take delivery of our new "baby". Having been accorded the turnover ceremony, is akin to a ritual, a rite of passage. I learned of this in an article featuring Jamiroquai’s Jay Kay, a kindred spirit and gear-head of the first order.

When he took delivery of his Enzo in 2003 he was given the FULL MONTY- FERRARI Turnover Ceremony. "One day.. I’d like for OUR’s to be LIKE THAT," I thought... AND that’s when we have our honeymoon.

We dared to dream...and on Nov.11 2005, having sold our beloved Porche 996 Turbo, we started the journey. We took the first step...that step now to be culminated on 8th Nov. 2006 by the Formal Turnover rites. The beginning of our oft, set-aside, much delayed- and yes much deserved, honeymoon.

Our first Ferrari, and here we are in Maranello, and YES, THEY'RE GOING TO BESTOW US THE FULL MONTY....w'ere gonna do a Jay Kay... were gonna do a Jay Kay... were-gonna-do-a-Jay-Kay....

The full-Monty Jay Kay aka. Special Client Turnover is an Event. It includes the reception, a privately guided tour of the facilities, a luncheon at the now legendary Montana’s- aka. Schumi’s fave, and finally culminating with the Delivery Ritual.


Our first taste of Sophia, our new baby.

The Factory Ceremony accorded to special clients and to Assunta and I were made possible through the aegis of Willi Soong of Formula Sports Inc., and Hong Seh Motors of Singapore, who sent Ms. Agnes Ng, Commercial Manager to assist and join us.
Thank you, you shall always and forever be part of our saga. "Shall we do lunch at Montana’s, Sig. a Sra. Ledesma?" M. Rossella’s Montana - Schumi’s tagliatelle ...the lunch we really looked forward to, but had to pass on.

Our original appointment was to have begun at ten a.m. and the tour of the facilities would’ve been the first order of the day. Luggage left in Dubai on the 6th, & supposed to have arrived midday, the 7th, had not. We finally got luggage at a half past 9 on the 8th. With barely enough time to get appropriate clothing pressed we left for Maranello - a 50min. commute at 11am. In fact had we not been able to make it by lunch break, the cermonial turnover would’ve been cancelled. God provided - praise Him.


Honeymooners in Italy.

It was either lunch, or the factory tour, not both. We had to check out around 15:30. We also had to repack our clothes in the custom fit Super America luggage, and then do the 125 km drive from Bologna to Florence. Lunch, given the chaotic morning, was furthest from our minds. Truth be told - as frayed and brittle as our nerves were; our stomachs doing flip-flops, I would’ve settled for a Triple Martini. Our hosts were disappointed - it was lunch break, but they too, realized our time constraints...‘allora’...next time.

As we make our way to the third facility, the engine assembly line and the final nit assembly lines, we pass some hall of sorts. Rubber necking and I spot something inside sheathed in red. I slow down automatically. "Later Sig. Giules’ we’ll get to your car later". Ah, so that is the Delivery Hall. Sweet.

"Later Sig. Giules, we’ll get to your car later"... Right, yes, try telling that to a 6 year-old, while he’s trying to locate the gifts - with JULES on the tag -- on Christmas eve. Heck, if we could just skip Misa de Gallo and Noche Buena, and go straight to the gifts, we would. Now, try telling that to a 46 year-old who knows what lies under the red cloak. He, who’s read, re-read, and then yet, read once more, thrice weekly – EVO83. It’s ratty, frayed, and mushy-soggy to the touch, just like an old favourite comic book.

Lunch, even without a tour of the facilities would have cost us an extra 1 1⁄2 hour vs. a foreshortened factory tour. We ended up touring the engine assembly which had a v8, v12- line. Finally the Staging & Final assembly lines of the 430 and the 599/612’s.

- End of Part 1/3

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