Saturday, August 1, 2009

Why? Because driving is better than... not driving

First day of the trip was a success, though not without stress. The team made it to Manhattan!

Dramatis Personae: Glenn, an ever-congenial, laid-back builder from Maine. Glenn is who we're depending on to sweet-talk us out of difficult situations. Mark, a Brit, just flew in and will be serving as the voice of reason and science, as well as using his considerable amateur photography skills. Dennis, the self-aggrandizing, obsessive-compulsive who's attempting to keep up with all of this new-fangled technology and serving as scribe for the trip.

And Dan, our favorite ex-pat from England, now a successful software executive and Ferrari Challenge racer. Dan is the happy owner of all four cars. He needed to get them to Monterey for the concours next week, and rather than ship them out in a transporter, decided that the PROPER way to do it was to invite some good friends to make the trip behind the wheel(s).

An article on this journey will appear in an issue of a major automotive magazine later this year, in which we'll discuss our opinions of the cars, how they compare, how they worked, amidst the background of a hopefully-humorous travelogue. So we won't get into that here (or on the social networks). Rather, this blog is intended to update our family and friends of our travels, as well as the challenges we'll inevitably face. The regular Twitter and FB posts will consist mostly of the daily/hourly ephemera that those darn kids today seem to lap up.

So, how was Day 1?

Mark flew in from London and, despite having to come the longest way, made it to the hotel first. Dan and Glenn put the top down on the Ferrari 16M and cruised to Long Island, where they picked up the McLaren F1 (shop manager: "wait... you're taking the F1 into the city?!?"). Dennis had a thousand things still left to do, but made it down in time to rendezvous in TriBeCa.

We had an impromptu car show outside the future home of Trattoria Cinque, an Italian speed and style-themed eatery to open late summer in this surprisingly large former stable space. We met up with friend Roberto Tata in his black Ferrari 430 Scuderia, and traversed the city up to Alfredo's of Rome in midtown, sister restaurant to the original in Rome (and where Fettucini Alfredo was invented in 1914).

We had permits to park the cars in front of the restaurant, where waves upon waves of tourists visiting Rockefeller Plaza next door washed over the cars. Inside, we enjoyed a proper kick-off to our journey, with wine, pasta and a surprise dessert.

Dennis had picked up a custom-made cake in Framingham, MA. It was a recreation of the Bertone Mantide, made by Laura Kean Anes. Spectacular, as you can see, and quite tasty too. It even survived the drive down to Manhattan in the 612 with Dennis doing his best to make dinner on time.

We're staying at the Dylan hotel on E 41st, a new luxury boutique with surprisingly reasonable rates. My suite has, literally, vaulted ceiling approximately 20' high. I feel like I'm sleeping in the back of St. Joseph's.

Our biggest challenge of the day was to find overnight parking. Multiple garages turned us down, as we needed to park the cars ourselves and keep the keys. So we drove around midtown, until we found the giant Hyatt at Grand Central Station, where after security looked underneath the cars for bombs, we were able to tuck them in securely for the night.

We're meeting Daniel, the photographer shooting the start of this journey for the magazine, in the morning at 7am, for some hero shots around the city and on our way out. Tomorrow will be a long one, as we are aiming for Virginia and the Blue Ridge Parkway. The stretch goal is to make it to Tennessee... we'll see...
Oh, and where's the Mantide? Ah, good question. It's in a box. How are we getting it out of the box? Stay tuned...


  1. Good luck guys. I'll actually be passing you going the other way on my sport motorcycle. Although all of our machines can do 0-60 in just over 3 seconds I'll just be a little jealous of the comforts you may have being in a car. Updates also on my blog:

  2. The downside of living in the US is that you are the last one to experience the awesomeness of the newer release car. That’s why there are some that like to import cars.