Ghost in the Machine

The Ferrari Enzo redefined supercar performance in 2002. Does it still feel as spirited today?

August 2, 2011
Ghost in the Machine 1
Ghost in the Machine 2
Ghost in the Machine 3
Ghost in the Machine 4
Ghost in the Machine 5
Ghost in the Machine 6
Ghost in the Machine 7
Ghost in the Machine 8
Ghost in the Machine 9
Ghost in the Machine 10

For any car buff, the name Enzo Ferrari conjures up images of a fascinating man who founded a small factory in Maranello, Italy to build racing and road cars. Those cars have become some of the fastest, most expensive and most revered automobiles ever manufactured, so it’s only fitting that Ferrari’s most recent supercar bears that man’s name.

Lots has been written about the Enzo Ferrari, better known simply as the Enzo, but not much has been said about it recently. I’ve driven Enzos in the past, but since I have become much more involved with the marque over the past couple of years, racing a Ferrari 458 GT with Extreme Speed Motorsport in the American Le Mans Series, I wanted to find out if the car is still as magical today as it was when it debuted in 2002. With the help of Hooked on Driving and Ferrari of Silicon Valley, I connected with an Enzo and its owners at Laguna Seca raceway.

WALKING UP TO GARAGE 11, I easily spot the red Enzo. A few days later, when I show my young son a picture of the car, he asks, “Dad, is that the Batmobile?” For me, that question pretty well sums up this Ferrari’s mystique, even after so many years.

The Enzo is immediately recognizable by its distinctive, Formula 1-inspired nose, scissor-style doors that open up and outward, low-slung, prototype-esque bodywork and large rear diffuser. Love it or hate it, the car makes a statement that’s even bigger than its footprint. It might not come across as such in photographs, but in person the Enzo’s size is imposing. It’s long, low and wide (seven inches longer, two inches lower and four inches wider than a 458 Italia), and looks like it’s planted to the ground even when sitting still, as if there’s a giant suction cup underneath gripping the asphalt. The car simply reeks of speed, power and grace.

I might have this feeling because of how much it costs (about $650,000 new, over $1 million today) or because only 400 were built (although many Ferrari watchers say the real number is north of 500) or because I’ve already driven two examples on track. Or it might be because there are 20 people surrounding the car, gawking. Whatever the case, there’s no mistaking that the Enzo has specialness oozing out of its carbon-fiber bodywork and four titanium exhaust tips.

Also special is the engine, which is proudly displayed underneath a glass cover behind the passenger compartment. This 6-liter V12, with its classic red crinkle finish on the valve covers, aluminum intake stacks and carbon-fiber airbox, is as beautiful to look at as it is powerful. Its 660 horsepower were the most of any production car in its day, and enough to launch the Enzo to 60 mph in 3 seconds and on to a top speed of 218 mph—if you had the nerve and the road to reach terminal velocity.

This particular Enzo looks like it just left the showroom. The specially developed Bridgestone “Scuderia” tires on the centerlock wheels appear new, the cross-drilled carbon-ceramic brakes seem perfect and the bright red paint shows no sign of rock chips or any other wear and tear.

Also from Issue 112

  • Driving the Dino 206 GT
  • Krohn Racing's F430 GT tackles the ILMC
  • Ferrari's F1 season continues to improve
  • Ferraris of the Copperstate 1,000 rally
  • Maserati, Ferrari, McLaren road trip
  • Market Update: The V8s, Part II
Buy Forza 112 cover
Resource ad 209x257 web
Connect with Forza:   Facebook Twitter Instagram