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Leonardo’s lighting legacy

Ferrari owner and enthusiast Roger Adshead got to wondering where the simply beautiful twin tail lamps that are a signature of many Ferraris came from and what inspired them. It led him on a fruitful journey…
There are no more defining or memorable Ferrari design cues than a pair of twin circular tail lights, which find their echo in the rear valance in two pairs of circular exhaust tips.
Introduced fifty years ago by Pininfarina designer Leonardo Fioravanti, this charismatic Ferrari identifier has more than stood the test of time.
They first appeared on the Dino 206, and then on the 365 GTB/4 Daytona, two of Signor Fioravanti’s most revered designs.
Unlike Pininfarina’s trademark slim vertical tail lights of the 1960s, which subsequently found their way onto the mass-produced Austins, Morrisses, and Peugeots of the period, the twin circular tail lamps remain emblematic of Ferrari supercars and sportscars.
Some earlier Corvettes copied them, and they have been partially mimicked by Golf Mark V and Honda Civics of similar vintage, and it’s probably no coincidence they added some visual flair to Nissan’s high-performing Skylines, but they have been a recurring theme on Ferraris right through to its latest designs.

On the road with a GT40

Riding in a genuine Ford GT40 with Geoff Manning is like living a slice of automotive history, as Donn Anderson found out over three decades ago …
The phone call in 1990 was dead easy to accept. Geoff Manning was ringing to ask if I would like to spend some time with the only genuine Ford GT40 to have driven the roads of New Zealand. There was little time to ponder since the car was destined to return to England and new owner Ted Rollason.
My answer, of course, was positive and immediate — and what a rare and fleeting experience a few days later to be driving around Auckland streets in such a stunning and wonderful machine.

Honda NSX video

Honda decided it needed to capitalise on the success of its passenger cars and its Formula 1 triumphs and release a sports car that could rival the Europeans. It wanted a halo car that could offer improved reliability for a lower price than existing rivals but, in the Honda fashion, it would be usable, fun to drive and easy to maintain. Starting in 1984, Honda developed a concept sports car called the HP-X – standing for Honda Pininfarina eXperimental. It had a mid-engine 3.0 litre V6 with rear wheel drive.
As the vehicle concept developed, the name changed to New Sportscar eXperimental – NS-X for short. Honda eventually settled on NSX, with no hyphen. The NSX was developed by Honda in Japan and was inspired by the F16 fighter jet. Ayrton Senna had input into the final stages of development. The NSX was the first mass produced car to feature an all-aluminium body.

Tribute to the master

Besides routinely building some of the world’s most desirable cars on its production lines, and some of the world’s most successful cars in the crucible of motorsport, Formula 1, Ferrari occasionally sets out to build something a bit special — a limited-edition model that makes a statement to the motoring world.
There are currently five of these models, the 288 GTO (presented 1984), F40 (1987), F50 (1995), Enzo (2002–2004), and LaFerrari (2013). The one they decided to name after company founder Enzo Ferrari had better be good.
Many of these landmark cars have made the most of the prancing horse’s extensive F1 experience. This car makes this connection explicit, offering a car tantalisingly close to a full-throated F1 car. It even goes beyond, offering technology that wasn’t allowed in F1, such as active aerodynamics and traction control. As a result, Ferrari produced what is now by consensus seen as the world’s first hypercar.

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When you see the cars he has given us, Leonardo Fioravanti deserves to be better known. After inquiring about some of his inspired designs, described here last month, Roger Adshead

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