A misunderstanding put him in Ferrari's bad books for quite some time.
Ferrari is one of the world's most admired car brands. The Prancing Horse is associated with all sorts of positive attributes and it will go to great lengths to protect this image. Some may disagree with the company's tactics, though. A few years back, the carmaker sent Deadmau5 a cease and desist letter, claiming his cartoon-inspired 458 wrap was harmful to its reputation.
Ferrari essentially ranks its customers and, while you may be able to afford its special editions, that doesn't mean you're allowed to purchase one. Instead, you need to prove yourself, starting with something like the Ferrari Portofino, and show your loyalty to the Maranello-based brand by attending events, for example.
Collectors spend years nurturing this relationship, working their way up the ladder until they, hopefully, attain VIP status. But one slip-up can undo years of bootlicking, as David Lee Ferrari found out - and it wasn't even his fault.
He boasts an impressive collection, which includes the awe-inspiring Enzo hypercar. Years ago, he was approached by the Los Angeles Times for a feature. "I was climbing up [in] the whole Ferrari client relationship...as one of their top customers. The LA Times reached out to me...asking if they can write an article about what it's [like] to be a top Ferrari client."
A reporter asked him whether the brand offered him a LaFerrari Aperta. "At that time, my dealer owners were trying to get me a car and felt pretty positive about it." Lee answered that he hadn't been offered a LaFerrari officially. This set off a chain of events that saw Ferrari shun the collector for quite some time.
Unfortunately, the story was sensationalized. "Basically, the LA Times twisted my story... and Ferrari was upset. [It] thought I was using the media to force them to sell me a car. That is exactly what I wasn't trying to do. It was a dark time for me."
Lee says the dealership wouldn't even take his calls. In the end, he had to sit down with officials so he could explain his position. "Even though they understood, they still didn't like it and it took a few years to get back [to a good position]." After years of purchasing cars and being a great brand ambassador, he finally got offered a LaFerrari Aperta. "I've been buying and representing them well... they offered me the limited edition cars."
Powered by an electrically assisted 950-horsepower 6.3-liter V12 engine, the ultra-rare Aperta can hit 62 mph in 2.8 seconds before topping out at an astonishing 218 mph. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. With an estimated price of around $2 million, it's a truly special piece of Ferrari history and, with just 200 made, it can only go up in value. Now part of Lee's envy-inducing collection, we're guessing Lee is pretty pleased his efforts finally paid off.
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