remembers being stunned seeing the smashing-looking Ferrari outside its
natural urban habitat. “We followed it in my Fiat like enthusiastic
children following the pied piper. And while Dr Ross was nice enough to
show us the car and quite amazed that someone actually recognised it,
he eventually had to shoo us away as we continued to gawk at it for hours”.
better known ‘Dr Ross Ferrari’ was the spectacular shark-nosed
275GTB that was later bought by another Italian in Mumbai, the late Dr
Cesare Rossi, in a single-car auction through the State Trading Corporation
Dr Ross also gifted another of his Ferraris, the wedge-shaped 365 GTB/4
(better known as the 400i) to its caretaker, workshop owner J K Sharma.
The magnanimous Dr Ross had earlier also sent Sharma to Maranello in Italy
I have vivid memories of this blood-red beauty speeding past as Dr Rossi
would often embark on Sunday drives in Mumbai, the scream from the quad
exhaust pipes of the 3.3-litre V12 often bringing pedestrians and traffic
to a standstill as the rasping exhaust note reverberated amid the buildings.
Remember, the 275GTB won the GT class at the famous 24 Hours Le Mans race
in 1966. Dr Rossi also entered the 275GTB in a couple of classic car events
where the red Ferrari was easily the centrepiece.
This car is, unfortunately, no longer in the country.
As can be expected, most Ferrari owners in India are cagey about their
prancing horses. Most will happily talk about the car, sing its praises,
and revel you with numerous incidents, but flatly refuse to be identified
as owners. “People think every Ferrari is worth a crore of rupees,
and that’s not exactly healthy,” said one Ferrari-sti.
Of the six Ferraris in Mumbai the most famous must certainly be the F355
F1 that belongs to a young captain of the entertainment industry. Regularly
seen screaming around the streets of Mumbai on Saturday nights, this is
one enthusiastic driver who’s unafraid to make full use of the Ferrari’s
almost 400bhp. The after-market exhaust sends out a mind-numbing wail
that’s pure F1 car.
the scarlet beauty get away from the lights close up and you’ll
never forget the sight, or blare from the pipes. I haven’t. The
other Ferrari often seen is the 348 belonging to the son of a textile
Of the remaining three in Mumbai — a Mondial and a couple of 308GTs
— only one is driveable and in a decent condition. Belonging to
an avid car enthusiast and vintage and classic car collector, this 308
is in fine fettle and is also driven hard on a regular basis. The car
is carefully housed in a garage on a hillstation situated bang on the
Mumbai-Pune Expressway and is often taken for long drives, usually to
nowhere and back. Perfect.
The south has its share of Ferraris too. R Gopinath, a big enthusiast
from Coimbatore, has a Ferrari 308GTS. His ’79 model had 100,000km
on when he imported it and he’s put on an additional 8000-9500km
on the clock.
"I was expecting the car to give a lot of trouble but surprisingly
it hasn't," he says. Apart from the tyres, clutch and some suspension
parts, there have been no problems. No oil leaks, no belt changes, no
major suspension repair, nothing. And the comparatively lower compression
ratio of 8.8:1 allows Gopi to run our regular low octane petrol. As with
all the cars here, tip-toeing over speedbreakers and potholes is vital.
Gopi agrees that there is something special about his Ferrari. "This
is the first car I've owned which is not a car. It has a special character,
which almost makes it human."