"Pretentious, moi?"

Penning perhaps the most significant and revered supercar ever built gives you a certain margin when it comes to criticising others, and given the opposing philosophies behind McLaren's almost understated F1 of 1994 and the recent sensual assault represented by Ferrari's latest supercar, it's hard to argue with Peter Stevens.

Anway, we'll let you decide. Here's what landed in our inbox.

“Pretentious, moi?”, as Miss piggy would have said.

The last memorable use of the word 'La' written ahead of the name of a car was back in 1956 when Dodge named their new model, which was specifically target towards women, the Dodge La Femme. Tasteful pastel two-tone colours and wide whitewall tyres was how Dodge thought it could capture a female following.

Now Ferrari has bizarrely called their latest car the ‘LaFerrari’ and it's suggested that the original name was to be ‘F150’ - that would have raised a few laughs in the American Midwest. It wouldn't, however, be surprising if Ferrari was thinking of a similar customer base, as this thing positively reeks of testosterone. 800 or maybe 950 horsepower is laughable, as is the need to exceed 60mph in less time than it takes to blow your nose. Perish the thought that many customers will be faced with the dilemma of which to do first.

The fact that the ‘LaF’ is such a grim looking piece of styling does not help its irrelevant cause, and it certainly won’t attract those in touch with their feminine side. There will be endless observations from the chaps in Maranello that it looks that way because of the technology but that is always a lame excuse. Both the front end and the rear are brutalist in the way that an A10 ‘Warthog’ aircraft is and that was designed purely for killing people.

Showing a singular lack of finesse, the handling of the forms, particularly around the rear of the front wheel-arch, is particularly poor but in truth it is the adulation with which such a car is greeted that is so out of date, not the surface treatment. The really clever people know that there is still pleasure to be had in driving a responsive and rewarding car but they also know that, just like Ettore Bugatti and his delicate 1927 Type 35 Bugatti, you do not need the horsepower of an earth mover to have fun. Or of a ‘truck’, as he described Bentleys.

A little bit of visible responsibility in these difficult times could be a much better message than that given out by this ‘LaF-a-minute’ memorial to excess.

Peter Stevens


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