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The sound of the vintage Ferrari engine alone is worth the click.
August 23, 2013 9:45 AM   Subscribe

Spatafora's Ferrari

Story of a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTE police car.
posted by mullacc (28 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Seriously, I was just gathering links for this. The Petrolicious website is making me less itchy between Roadkill episodes. Another video I enjoyed more than I thought I would was I Drive New York, about what vintage car owners living in NYC go through to drive their vehicles.
posted by carsonb at 9:50 AM on August 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


A 12 cylinder 3.0 liter engine? How tiny are those pistons? Why not make it a six cylinder with bigger pistons? Does this produce crazy amounts of torque or something? What am I misunderstanding here? Gearhead, hope me!
posted by NoMich at 9:55 AM on August 23, 2013


Ffffft. Yeah, right. You think we'd fall for that with the "555-555" phone number? Obviously viral marketing for a new movie.

(Seriously, though, very cool story--and car).
posted by yoink at 9:55 AM on August 23, 2013


And the thought of that beautiful vehicle bounding down the Spanish Steps.... *shudder*
posted by carsonb at 9:55 AM on August 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


shivers...that sound on the downshift....hells yea
posted by ShawnString at 9:57 AM on August 23, 2013


And here's another video from Petrolicious about the other Italian police cars.
posted by carsonb at 9:57 AM on August 23, 2013


the thought of that beautiful vehicle bounding down the Spanish Steps.

I have to say that I did wonder a bit how well documented that particular anecdote was.
posted by yoink at 9:57 AM on August 23, 2013


A Ferrari chasing a Citroen down the Spanish Steps in the 60's was probably humanity's zenith.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 9:58 AM on August 23, 2013 [20 favorites]


NoMich: My understanding is that "small" displacement many-cylinder engines are designed to rev very, very high so you are instantly within the optimal power band on every delicious shift.
posted by basicchannel at 10:00 AM on August 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, that sound.
posted by basicchannel at 10:01 AM on August 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm totally not a car person, but the throaty, meaty, muscular sound of vintage engines really is glorious. Would love to take this thing for a spin. Thanks!
posted by escape from the potato planet at 10:11 AM on August 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


What a beautiful machine. Note, too, the obviously non-power steering. And, yeah, that gorgeous sound.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:19 AM on August 23, 2013


NoMich: "A 12 cylinder 3.0 liter engine? How tiny are those pistons? Why not make it a six cylinder with bigger pistons? Does this produce crazy amounts of torque or something? What am I misunderstanding here? Gearhead, hope me!"

Aural advantage ala Ferrari.

Also very high revs due to smaller rotating mass.
posted by Big_B at 10:20 AM on August 23, 2013


Sure it only had 2/3 of the cylinders of this Ferrari, but on the other hand, it only had 1/6 the displacement. Meet the Moto Guzzi 500cc V8 Grand Prix racing motorcycle.
posted by Daddy-O at 10:28 AM on August 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Does the Ferrari not have synchromesh, or is it a style choice to double-clutch on UPshifts?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:37 AM on August 23, 2013


My lowly Fiat 600E has four cylinders in an 843cc engine. The assembled block is so small that I can pick it up by myself if I am not too worried about injuries and have eaten a nutritious breakfast. It revs to 8500rpms almost instantly, which is hysterical. Sounds like several tiny angry bumblebees.
posted by 1adam12 at 10:50 AM on August 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


The narrator is right out of Central Italian Casting, Inc.
posted by lstanley at 11:27 AM on August 23, 2013


Love the sound of the motor, the double clutching, and that "machina" = "car". (Is that typical, or a gear head thing?)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 11:29 AM on August 23, 2013


That character line running down the side of the body, arrow-straight, headed by the teardrop-shaped turn signal is just…che bella.

The thought of every police department in 60's Italy owning a Ferrari is kind of mind-blowing.
posted by the painkiller at 11:46 AM on August 23, 2013


...that "machina" = "car". (Is that typical, or a gear head thing?)

Nope, that's official Italian. Everything sounds better in Italian.
posted by oxidizer at 12:00 PM on August 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Does the Ferrari not have synchromesh, or is it a style choice to double-clutch on UPshifts?

I saw him rev the engine while upshifting, but I'll have to watch it again more closely. I think it's just a lead foot on the gas while you are in neutral, the RPM goes up and you have to back off a bit before you put it in the next gear.

Or at least that's what I think he's doing. Because I do that too, on my 96 Honda Accord Coupe with the 5 speed manual transmission. My immediate reaction to seeing him rev like that was, holy crap I'm driving my Honda like it's a Ferrari, no wonder I get 19MPG. Then I thought about it, no, probably both of us drive a stick like crap, and we shouldn't be driving manuals.

The last time I owned a car with a stick shift was my 65 Mustang GT convertible with the 289 HIPO engine and a 4 speed manual. That was almost 40 years ago, my first real car. Oh the stunts I used to pull in that car. One of my gearhead buddies showed me how a synchromesh worked, and how you could upshift with just the right timing, without hitting the clutch at all. You just pull it out of gear at just the right RPM, and jam it into the next gear. I used to do this and I thought it was amazing. I kind of want to try it on my Honda, but I can't afford to trash the transmission in this car, like I could when I was a kid and transmissions were simpler and easier to fix.
posted by charlie don't surf at 12:27 PM on August 23, 2013


takata takatak takata taktata Geep Weelis

(I will never get tired of this effect.)
posted by Eideteker at 12:55 PM on August 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


charlie don't surf: " I kind of want to try it on my Honda, but I can't afford to trash the transmission in this car, like I could when I was a kid and transmissions were simpler and easier to fix."

I had a 1990 CRX that I drove from St. Louis to Lowell MA. The clutch was starting to slip, so i only used it to start in first..only thirty uses of the clutch in 1200 miles, including rush hour somewhere near Pittsburgh. (Also: no radio, but that's another story.)

As long as you're nice about it, you shouldn't have a problem. I drove that car another 100k after that.
posted by notsnot at 2:46 PM on August 23, 2013


My understanding is that "small" displacement many-cylinder engines are designed to rev very, very high

Consider a standard gasoline engine. A piston moves up and down in a cylinder. On the power stroke the cylinder is full of compressed air and atomized gasoline. At about the time the cylinder starts moving downward the spark plug fires to ignite the mixture. Combustion starts, generating high pressure gas, which pushes the piston downward to generate power and drive the car forward.

The timing of this is critical, and that's tricky because it takes significant time for the combustion front to propagate throughout the mixture. For example, you obviously don't want combustion to still be happening after the piston reaches the bottom of its travel and starts coming back up. Simplifying (a lot), the bigger each cylinder is (bore and stroke) the slower the piston has to travel in order for combustion to complete on time. That's one thing limiting how fast your engine can turn (or "rev.") So, again very roughly speaking, you can generate more power for a given engine displacement by having more (and smaller) cylinders and running the engine at a higher speed. Racing motorcycles, in particular, have a long history of super-high-revving tiny, jewel-like engines. The Honda RC166 had a 6-cylinder, 250cc engine that would rev to at least 18,000 rpm.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 2:48 PM on August 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


I watched again very carefully and he's not double-clutching. His foot goes down on the clutch once. The first time they show him driving it, his knee moves twice, it might look like he's doubleclutching but I think he's pulling his foot back and putting it flat on the floor.

BTW, I checked around the web and of course wikipedia has a bit about the clutchless shifting:

The synchronizer has to overcome the momentum of the entire input shaft and clutch disk when it is changing shaft rpm to match the new gear ratio. It can be abused by exposure to the momentum and power of the engine itself, which is what happens when attempts are made to select a gear without fully disengaging the clutch. This causes extra wear on the rings and sleeves, reducing their service life. When an experimenting driver tries to "match the revs" on a synchronized transmission and force it into gear without using the clutch, the synchronizer will make up for any discrepancy in RPM. The success in engaging the gear without clutching can deceive the driver into thinking that the RPM of the layshaft and transmission were actually exactly matched. Nevertheless, approximate rev. matching with clutching can decrease the general change between layshaft and transmission and decrease synchro wear.

Hm.. this explains why I've been missing gears and grinding teeth a few times. I must focus on rev matching more, I think I knew that already but it's hard to avoid overrevving during the time the transmission is in neutral. It has been a long time since I drove a stick, and it was nothing like this modern Honda.
posted by charlie don't surf at 4:22 PM on August 23, 2013


...you could upshift with just the right timing, without hitting the clutch at all.

Yes, I had to do that for a couple of months when the 2nd and 3rd gear synchros went out in the Muncie 4-speed I had in my '57 Chevy. Also the day the clutch cable on my Bultaco Metralla broke riding through Cambridge at rush hour. You can also downshift without the clutch by matching revs, but it's a little trickier. On the bike, I had to get into 1st gear and brake to a stop at red lights, then bump-start the engine when the light went green. It was not fun.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:11 PM on August 23, 2013


it would be worth committing a minor crime just to ride in that car.
posted by arcticseal at 7:00 AM on August 24, 2013


You had to be a kingpin of organized crime to get a ride in that car.
posted by charlie don't surf at 2:02 PM on August 24, 2013


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