A reminder for those who don't know: I am the founder of Steerr, an app that allows car enthusiasts to take a ride with each other's cars, organize meetups and chat among themselves. I would like to extend a post here that I shared there.
An educated fool
I've been testing cars and shooting videos since roughly 2009. The main reason I started this business – which I never saw as a business – was my interest and love for these machines. But that is no longer the main reason why I am still going; if I think a car I'm driving isn't as good or as bad as most people think, I have an unquenchable desire to anounce it to everyone. More importantly, if I come across a mediocre product of a snobbish brand that is overpriced thanks to marketing tricks, a red horned creature appears just above my left shoulder, ready to smash that product, and events unfold.
To put it more clearly, I believe that companies should be the servants of their customers, not their masters, and I try to defend this belief with the content I produce.
My role model, Chris Harris, wrote a famous column on Jalopnik 12 years ago on Ferrari's media manipulations/cheats. After this article, he was not given a test car from Maranello for a long time.
Having reviewed cars for years in magazines such as Autocar and Evo, Harris was also one of the first names in the world to bring this content to YouTube. Continuing his career with channels and ventures such as Drivers Republic, /Drive and Chris Harris on Cars, 'Monkey' was finally appointed as the presenter of Top Gear after the famous trio.
Jason Cammisa made similar comments last week in the podcast Carmudgeon Show, which he publishes with Derek Tam-Scottand, and shared his experience when he asked Ferrari for a 296 GTB for filming. He refused to make a video because the Italians did not allow track time measurement and comparison of their vehicles with products from other brands. He's also been an automotive editor since 2006, and after making a name for himself in Motor Trend, he's currently producing outstanding videos for Hagerty.
Both of them are among the most powerful names in the automotive media, everyone is extremely cautious when “testing” a Ferrari. However, under this atmosphere of fear, look how two young Canadians describe this 'entry-level' hybrid of the brand.
(Let me open a parenthesis, a reasonably equipped 296 GTB is said to sell for $500k+; for that money I can count 296 sports cars that will make the owner much happier and their value will multiply over time.)
I don't regularly follow these folks, their observations and descriptions are shallow compared to those of the two names I mentioned above. But I admire the harmony between Thomas Holland and Brit James Engelsman, the eloquence in their narratives, their production quality and sense of humor, and I cheerfully applaud them for their audacity in this video.
I will write a separate article about especially the financial side of producing automobile content on YouTube, and I will refer to these two again there.
Most of us may not care that Ferrari, which used to adorn the dreams of every young car enthusiast and produce mechanical works of art that reflects an unrivaled success in motorsports, nowadays makes semi-electric toys that can't go beyond being a tool for the rich to showcase their wealth, with an interior that has smudged technology by a touchscreen filled interface that can only be used by its designer. A generation whose world is limited to what TikTok shows them doesn't know any of this anyway.
However, I am personally infuriated by their efforts to shape and restrict the narrative in which their products are reflected, even in this age where any inappropriate gesture and discourse spreads instantly. Let alone the media, they are even trying to control their customers (who actually paid for their cars) and what they do with them, to whom-where-for how much they sell them.
At this point, I could have taken the opportunity to speak out about the Purosangue and shoot the Italians in the back, but that would be hypocrisy. The insatiable hunger of homo sapiens for fancy jeeps is a fact that even a purebred sports car manufacturer like Ferrari cannot ignore; plus, they didn't take the shortcut and put a naturally aspirated V12 under the hood of their first SUV. What more could Neymar want?
The point is that, Ferrari spends its energy pondering how to maintain its image, rather than getting back to the top in F1 and being a brand that sets the right automotive trends rather than following the wrong ones. If only they did the latter, the first would happen by itself.