The California T: An expression of Ferrari’s sublime heritage and exhilarating versatility

Hershey Pascual   |   26 - 07 - 2016

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[Image: California 250, 1957.]

Ferrari is blisteringly proud of its achievements and heritage, but determined to launch forward into the future in the tailwind of its strong brand values, carved out by the one and only founder Enzo Ferrari. Ferrari is a word synonymous with iconic sports cars and ground-breaking engineering. It is a brand that has motorsports coursing through its veins and strong brand values, carved out by its founder.

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[Image: Founder Enzo Ferrari.]

Its exclusive catalogue boasts of one of the most famous names associated with the Ferrari brand – California, a Ferrari model name oozing heritage from every curve and vent. The first Ferrari to bear the name California was the original V12-engined 250 California, an exquisitely designed 2-seater spider produced in 1957, which has become renowned as being one of the greatest examples of automotive design of all time. Scaglietti built around 100 of these, some with aluminium bodies, and examples now fetch millions at auction. Long-wheelbase versions were built between 1958 and 1960 before being replaced by the short-wheelbase version. Following in its footsteps was the equally impressive 365 California, less than 20 were ever built between 1966 and 1967. The exclusive nature of these Ferraris ensured that California became a hallowed name. 

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[Image: California 365, 1966-67.]

The Italian company unveiled a modern day reiteration of the California at the 2008 Paris Motor Show which evolved into the present generation California T, launched in 2014. The latest incarnation of the hard-top convertible has a new turbocharged V8, joining models such as the 1984 GTO and 1987 F40, hence the ‘T’ in the moniker.

The Ferrari California T’s modern design gives it a powerful personality in which sportiness and elegance meld in the classically seamless way of every Prancing Horse ever built. The design, an elegantly balanced interplay of convex and concave surfaces gives the new California T the sophisticated allure of an authentic Ferrari Grand Tourer. With its softer curves, room for a small amount of luggage and easier-going nature of the chassis for those long inter-continental journeys, the California family are some of the most sought after Ferraris ever built. 

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[Image: California T Deserto Rosso.]

Today, the Ferrari California T epitomises the sublime elegance, sportiness, versatility and exclusivity that have distinguished every California model since the 1950s. The California T is a brilliant expression of Ferrari’s sporty DNA, while its retractable hard top (RHT) and 2+ configuration, amongst other features, make it supremely versatile. Like all Ferraris, the California T boasts cutting-edge technological solutions that make it absolutely unique, most notably the new turbocharged V8 engine. It sprints from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.6 seconds flat and from 0 to 200 km/h in 11.2 seconds. It is also more fuel efficient to the tune of approximately 15 per cent than the previous California.

All these results were achieved thanks to solutions adopted on the F1 single-seaters, including a low-inertia, flat-plane crankshaft combined with innovative twin-scroll turbines to minimise throttle response times. The new model also boasts true sports car dynamics, thanks to lower steering wheel activity and quicker steering courtesy of a new steering box and new suspension set-up. New springs and latest-generation Magnaride dampers (now more than 50 per cent faster), combined with body motion accelerometers, reduce roll and pitch to deliver more precise handling whilst still guaranteeing an incredibly comfortable ride.

Meticulous and in-depth design work has retained the dimensions of the previous model yet endowed the California T with a whole new personality. The car’s proportions were penned by the Ferrari Styling Centre in collaboration with Pininfarina, and are very much in line with Ferrari’s front-engined ethos. The California T’s cabin exudes a sense of warmth and craftsmanship, and was designed to be as ergonomic as possible, with luxurious semi-aniline leather trim. The space on-board is flexible too, and owners can make the most efficient use of its generous boot capacity even with the top down, thanks to the communication between the luggage compartment and rear seats.

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[Image: California T Deserto Rosso.]

The Human-Machine Interface encompasses the Ferrari steering wheel with integrated controls while the Turbo Performance Engineer (TPE) takes pride of place between the two air vents at the centre of dash. This is a sophisticated instrument with a touch-sensitive scroll surround and a digital display that provides indications on making the most efficient use of the new engine’s performance. The California T also has a new infotainment system with a large, extremely intuitive 6.5” display and a choice of both button and touch-screen controls.

In January 2016, Maranello launched a brand-new Handling Speciale (HS) option for the California T, designed for owners looking for an even sportier driving experience, particularly on challenging, twisty routes.  The California T of today is underscored by excellence, heritage, prestige and track DNA. Continuously pushing the limits of technological innovation in every engineering area, Ferrari has and always has been the leader in classic design and superior performance.