Edsel and his Ferrari, Edsall and "his" Porsche
By Larry Edsall
OK, I admit it, I’m going to do some serious name-dropping here… I was on the phone yesterday with Edsel Ford and…
While the great-grandson of Henry Ford and I share the pronunciation of his first name and my last, it’s not like were buddies who chat on the phone very often. But since he’s in the car business and I write about that business, the avenues we travel sometimes intersect, and we have joked about our names, especially on the phone:
We also share some mutual friends – name-dropping alert! – including Carroll Shelby, which is why we were talking on the phone yesterday. I’m writing a book about the development of the Shelby GT500 and wanted to get Edsel’s insight on the reunion of the more than 40-year-old relationship between Shelby and the Ford family and the car company that bears the family name.
Near the end of our conversation, I asked Edsel if he owned one of the new souped-up Mustangs and he said that he’d driven a Shelby GT500 convertible and one of the Shelby GT-H Hertz cars, and liked them both tremendously. But he’s not quite ready to buy one because he and his oldest son recently spent their car budget on a pair of Ford GTs – “the [Le Mans] heritage models,” he added, “I have No. 2 on mine and he has No. 3 on his.”
In fact, Edsel added, he would be very appreciative if I would spread the word to all of my wealthy friends (and readers) that he is selling his 1972 Ferrari Daytona Spyder. “It’s yellow and real cherry,” he added. He joked that he’d take American Express or other major credit card, and that he needs the money because he also just bought an Aston Martin DB9.
Seriously, he added, his Ferrari will be offered at auction in May in Modena, where collector car auction house RM will have 32 amazing and significant Ferraris, racing and road cars, including Edsel’s, going across the block at its Ferrari -- Leggenda e Passione auction set at the historic Ferrari factory.
Seriously, I’ll add, it’s refreshing to know that someone like Edsel Ford buys his own cars with his own money, and I hope you’ll be refreshed to hear that he also puts a lot of his money and his time into an impressive list of charities.
Now, to deal with the other part of the title atop today’s blog: Edsall and ‘his’ Porsche. Well, it’s not really my Porsche, but for the past few days I have been driving a 2007 Porsche 911 Carrera convertible. Like Edsel’s Ferrari, it’s yellow – Speed Yellow is what Porsche calls the color.
In the last few weeks I’ve driven some amazing vehicles: a Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera, one of those 500-horsepower Shelby GT500s, a Chevrolet Corvette Z06. But if I had to pick one to keep, it would be the Porsche.
Each of the others is a wonderful and amazing vehicle, and a vehicle that, like Edsel's Ferrari, figures to increase in value over time. But as one of the engineers who used to work at “Ford’s,” as people in Detroit refer to the company founded by Edsel’s great-grandfather and as an expression of their respect for the Ford family's on-going role, while other car companies do major makeovers to their products, time and again starting over with new models, Porsche just keeps moving the 911 closer and closer to automotive perfection.
The 911 doesn’t match the Lambo, the Vette or the Shelby in terms of sheer horsepower figures. Indeed, it has only a six-cylinder engine. But the car’s dynamic capabilities, whether you want to go, turn or stop, and its driver’s visceral experience are, well, unmatched as far as I’m concerned.
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