That a family, as led by the patriarch, the sultan of Brunei, treasure a collection of thousands of cars, many of which are unique pieces commissioned by several million euros to the brand itself, some of them you will seem impressive. To others it might seem an extravagance. To many, sure, that may seem like an exercise in ostentation and offensive, according to the situation of the world. For Giani Agnelli, former chief representative of the Group Fiat, owner of Ferrari, “we are fortunate to have clients as well”, as the royal family of Brunei. For Paolo Garella, an engineer and designer in Pininfarina, a unique opportunity to make creations great. And is that it was the own family of the sultan of Brunei responsible for Garella created one of the Ferrari most mysterious of the past few decades, the Ferrari FX. One of the first applications of a real change sequential robotic competition in a sporty street. And an exquisite piece of engineering and design in equal parts, which up until now many were unaware.
The Verge, a means of reference to technology is concerned, I was preparing this year a report which you should note in your favorites to read with a lot of calm, about the Ferrari FX, one of Ferrari’s most impressive and enigmatic that were created back in the nineties.
Impressive by the fact that she resorted to solutions that today are common in sports high-flying, as a body moulded in carbon fibre, or a sequential shift with a cam on the wheel, but back in the nineties, they were a vision of the future that awaited us. Enigmatic, because far from being a project-led by Ferrari, we have a custom secret and special of the royalty of Brunei, in which he was not only involved Pininfarina, but also the race teams Prodrive and Williams.
With a fortune of multi-million dollar fruit of the oil wealth of this tiny nation nestled in the south China Sea (locate Brunei on Google Maps), the sultan of Brunei and his family have cherished thousands of cars in collections that are described by many as the endless rows of cars in hangars that could accommodate aircraft for transoceanic flights. His obsession with the automobile would lead to the sultan of Brunei to arrange the collection by color, by brand, or even treasure entire collections of the same model, with units decorated in different colors, with all the palette of colors and finishes contained in the product catalog.
After more than 50 special orders, Pininfarina was given the responsibility of creating a Ferrari to suit the needs of the prince Abdul Azim, son of Hassanal Bolkiah, better known as the sultan of Brunei. And among those needs, are included the challenge that Ferrari had a sequential shift, with a device that automatizase the process of disconnected and connected, that addition with a touch of a button, or a lever, for changing gear. A solution, very common in these times, in which the standard of a sport is a good change automatic with dual clutch, but also an idea, almost crazy, so complex that it would be to get optimal performance and refined, when Azim was commissioned to Pininfarina, in 1994.
Would be the own Paolo Garella, head of prototypes and special projects of Pininfarina, which would put hands to the work, and that would be the task of adapting its sequential shift, the engine of twelve cylinders in a v of the Ferrari Testarossa – that would be the basis of this creation – to Prodrive. Later, after a new custom Azim, Williams would further refine this change, with its own technology, to create one of the most impressive sport of the nineties, as we would define some of the few who have had the opportunity to try it out.
And there are a few that have tried it because of the six units that were constructed (from certain media mentions they are produced any more), only a Ferrari FX ended up out of the collection of the royal family of Brunei. A Ferrari FX, which, unlike the rest, was decorated with a finish in sapphire blue. The same Ferrari FX that you used Williams in his development of the transmission robotic, and which cherished in its facilities – for a whole series of catastrophic misfortunes, and legal and economic problems in the family-of-Brunei – until a collector american, Dick Marconi, was made with him for $ 1.3 million. Today they say that it would have refused the offer of many collectors that offered more than ten million dollars for this Ferrari.
That Ferrari FX would be, as it could not be less, a body building completely new, the work of Pininfarina. The Italian firm would create a body-fully assembled carbon fiber, a solution that, again, was a surprise at the beginning of the nineties, among other things, complex, and expensive, that was the process to create the panels that make up a sport as this.
His aesthetic could hardly hide that under it hides a Ferrari Testarossa and a Ferrari 512 TR, with the improvements that Ferrari applied on the basis of the Testarossa original. And you will probably be surprised, and a lot of that in your design, especially on its front, already we find ourselves with details such as a generous air inlets very rounded, in contrast with the strokes sharp the Testarossa, which already resemble, and much, the Ferrari 360 Modena that we would not know until 1999.
While five of the six Ferrari FX that were still hidden in one of the hangars in which the sultan of Brunei keeps his collection of cars, the number four, can still be seen in the Museum Marconi, in California. A museum which, by the way, enjoys free entry (with donation of $ 5 suggested per adult), and you can even visit on Google Maps.
Source: The Verge
Photos: Paul Barshon