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“Barchetta” translated from Italian means “small boat” or “skiff”. The term also fell into popular usage for small open sports prototype racing cars in the post- WWII years. Today’s Ferrari also uses the Barchetta term liberally when describing its latest heritage-inspired, open-cockpit Monza SP1 and SP2 projects.
Debuting at the 2018 Paris Motor Show, the styling of the Monza SP1 monoposto, and closely related two-seat SP2, captured the attention of the world, including mine. First time I saw the pair, I knew I’d sculpt at least one of them. Could Ferrari’s announcement be true that these extreme “concept cars” would actually see limited production?
It was true, and they did. The SP Monza are best thought of as re-skinned 812 Superfast chassis with sleek carbon fiber composite bodies. That would make them front-engine, V12-powered rocket-ships. The most striking part of the design is the rather complete absence of a substantive windshield …..not unlike the original post-war barchettas. Of course, there is also no roof.
Nevertheless, the Monza SP1 and SP2 are intended primarily as road cars to be used in nice weather. Like any Ferrari, they can also acquit themselves handily at the track.
At roughly $1.75 million retail, the 499 applicants lucky enough to be benighted as the buyers are unlikely to thrash them too hard on-track. SP Monza are sure to be a great investment for the lucky 499. Many SPs will see little beyond garage-queen duty.
The SP Monza are also good business for Ferrari….re-skin the 812 and multiply the price of admission 4-fold, while keeping the Prancing Horse mystique on the boil. (See also past limited production Ferrari 288, F40, F50, Enzo, LaFerrari, etc for AAA list Ferrari devotees.)
The SP Monza design cues are a mix of modern 812 Ferrari, and 1950s barchetta. Flavio Manzoni has supervised every Ferrari road car released since 2010, so his design language is a known and respected entity. The 1950s barchettas were all front-engined, so that style includes a rather rear-ward placed driver, looking out over a long, flat-topped engine compartment.
In the new SP Monzas that compartment houses a 6.5L / 396 cid DOHC twelve cylinder from the F140 engine family, that began in the Enzo. Intake tweaking has advanced the horsepower rating marginally from the 799 hp in the Superfast to 809 hp in the SP Monza, reached at a bellissima 8500 rpm aria.
The headrests / rollover bars are housed in the prominent fairings aft of the occupants’ heads. These fairing were de rigueur for 1950’s barchettas.
The sides of the body have a coke-bottle contour, with plunging rear-to-front character lines, body seams and creases. These all give the appearance of rake to the body. The front end pulls inspiration heavily from modern Ferraris (not a bad thing), while the rear is rather classic and smooth — simplicity itself.
Ferrari has not been shy about “all-in” model names. Dino, Enzo, LaFerrari. You have to understand Italian motorsport to appreciate the significance of using the name “Monza”. The eponymous track is in a Royal Villa (Reale Villa) in Monza, outside Milan. The track dates back to 1922, with only Brooklands and Indianapolis being older.
Given its urban location, and Royal real estate, the Monza track can only be used a limited number of days per year. Monza truly is hallowed ground to the Tifosi, Italians generally, and fans of motorsport around the world.
I had the good fortune to attend a motorcycle racing event at Monza, ten years or so ago. The famous mothballed, high-speed banking section still exists, but had fifty-odd years of deterioration under its belt by then. The various chicanes installed on the current F1 track from 1969 onwards, were the price of keeping Monza relevant to top tier motorsport. I suppose it makes me a believer, but in person I could feel the history just oozing out of Monza’s pores.
Monza has always been a high-speed track. Even with some chicanes, the 1971 winner Peter Gethin set the fastest yet 150.76 mph F1 race average in his BRM V12 P160. This average speed record was not broken for more than 30 years, until Michael Schumacher’s 2003 Ferrari victory at Monza. With such high speeds Monza claimed many lives, including 52 competitors. Best known fatalities included racing legends: Villoresi, Ascari, von Trips, Rindt, and Petersen.
The motorcycles own their Monza legacy, too. I particularly remember the World Superbike (WSB) years when Ducati was favorite to win the Monza race and year’s championship with “King Carl” (Fogerty), Troy Bayliss, and others. Ducati is arguably the Ferrari of motorbikes, and produced in Bologna just a few exits down the Auto Strada from Ferrari’s Modena. Ducati has claimed the manufactures crown in WSB 17 of 31 years, and has more recently applied its many talents to the top-tier MotoGP.
I’ve been using Belgian Black (Belge Noir) for tires, and trim from my earliest sculpture days. It’s very hard for a marble, which means it will hold an edge nicely, but at the expense of worn-out tools and fingers.
When my friend and colleague Stone’Eng (Patrick) asked me why I’d never created one of my sculptures entirely from Belgian Black I didn’t have a great reason. If anything, the stone is too perfect, too uniform in color to alert the viewer they were looking at hard stone rather than soapstone, resin, or polished wood.
However, when I settled on creating an SP2 Monza- inspired sculpture, I knew I had to go like the Paris Motor Show car, with boot-polish black. That meant Belgian Black. I loved the effect so much I started a mini-series of Belgian Black sculptures.
To draw on the stark contrast of the red interior in the Paris SP2 show car I decided on a starkly contrasting red double-decker aluminum stand. Each deck mimics the classic Monza layout, with the once-mighty Monza high-bank oval also depicted.
Supporting the second tier of the sculpture stand are renditions of Monza’s famous billboards. Before the authorities got better control of the situation the rabid Ferrari tifosi would carve out the best vantage points from the billboards. You have to salute their Monza enthusiasm. Absorb the podium scene at Monza when Ferrari wins the F1 race.