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2014 Ferrari LaFerrari @ Autobau

Supercar pickup

2014 Ferrari LaFerrari
2014 Ferrari LaFerrari

Let’s start the Autobau tour with the Ferrari LaFerrari. Many have found it odd to repeat the brand name in the model name and wondered why they didn’t actually name after its project name, the F150. Well, they couldn’t officially name it F150 because Ford has the name rights for that – ever heard of the F150 Pickup truck?! 😉 Anyway, it’s the latest hypercar to come out of Maranello’s factory and replaces the legendary Enzo.

Outside

This exact one is all red as you can see, as opposed to some press cars that have a black roof – classic Ferrari. There are massive air intakes in the front and gills in the hood to give it better downforce. In fact the whole car looks like it’s been shaped by the wind – which it certainly has – in the wind tunnel. The rear view mirrors are pretty far up and away from the side windows, but then the windows are more in the core of the car, instead of being part of the lateral edge.

Under the skin

6.3 litre V12 engine, 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari
6.3 litre V12 engine, 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari

The engine is a mid-rear mounted Ferrari V12 with a 6.3 litre displacement producing 800 hp and 700 Nm of torque. Combined with the 163 hp electric motor it reaches a maximum power of 963 hp! Thanks to the kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) it manages to store electric energy under braking and storing it in batteries so that it can be used for acceleration. It is the first hybrid Ferrari. You get extra torque while boosting out of a corner and have the power of the engine as it’s revved up.

Charge plug, 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari
Charge plug, 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari

The rear-wheel drive prancing horse goes from 0-100 km/h in under 3 s, 0-200 km/h in under 7 s, 0-300 km/h in under 15 s and reaches its top speed at over 350 km/h (186 mph). So there we have a car that has a seven speed dual-clutch transmission and is just 37 hp shy of a 1’000 hp! That is not just impressive when you put it into relation with its 1’365 kg dry weight. This is impressive full stop.

Brembo carbon brakes, 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari
Brembo carbon brakes, 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari

All that make the LaFerrari go like hell! But as Pirelli’s famous slogan stipulates: “power is nothing without control”, the LaFerrari too needs an adaptive rear diffusor that goes up when you hit the carbon brakes before cornering and goes down again upon acceleration in order to constantly have the best grip on the road. I haven’t even mentioned the automatic rear spoiler to further increase the handling performance. In classic Ferrari style, the trunk is made of glass so you can admire the potent and beautiful V12 engine. If you take a close look at the upper right side, you can see a typical 21st century technology item: a charge plug for the hybrid system.

  Inside the cockpit

Monocoque, 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari
Monocoque, 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari

Inside, well, being part of a private collection it is locked, so there is no way they’d let me in. But I can say this: There are no conventional seats. The driver and the passenger sit directly on the floor itself. In other words, Ferrari just stuck a few pads onto the carbon fiber monocoque and named the result “seats”. Since they cannot be adjusted, the pedal box and steering wheel positions can in order to have an optimal driving position. Most of the inside is made of carbon and the steering wheel is square, which somehow makes it special and more Formula One-like.

That’s the ticket

Price: 1.69 million $ and you have to have owned several other Ferraris before just to be allowed to purchase one. Ferrari made 499 of them. Why did they stop at 499? As Enzo Ferrari used to say: “Always sell one car less than the market demands and maintain the value”. And that’s all I have to say about that.

Exhaust pipes & rear diffusor, 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari
Exhaust pipes & rear diffusor, 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari

Autobau Erlebniswelt Romanshorn – Part 1: Introduction

From alcohol to fuel

Autobau Erlebniswelt, Romanshorn, Switzerland
Autobau Erlebniswelt, Romanshorn, Switzerland

The brick buildings in which “Autobau” is located today belonged originally to the Federal Alcohol Administration in Romanshorn, Switzerland. In 1996, the Federation lost the exclusive right and a couple of years later the buildings were assigned to the town of Romanshorn. Fredy Lienhard, a Swiss entrepreneur as well as race car driver bought the landmarked buildings in 2007 and transformed them into this huge garage and event facility it has been since 2009. As a matter of fact, the 30’000 m2 area not only offers the exhilarating presence of around 85 cars, there is also a huge repair shop called “Factory” and a small circuit. Private events on the premises can also be booked, given the fact that Autobau offers a complete catering team in order to meet any need.

It cost the creators 12 million Swiss Francs (CHF) to renovate and transform the building to what it is today. The German word “Erlebniswelt” effectively means “a world to experience”. The building itself accentuates to the distinctive character of the whole experience: its history, the shape and materials (bricks and glass). Inside it’s even better; nice clean columns, track road imitations, model cars embedded in display windows in the floor, etc.

Porsche 550 Spyde scultpure, Autobau Erlebniswelt, Romanshorn, Switzerland
Porsche 550 Spyder scultpure, Autobau Erlebniswelt, Romanshorn, Switzerland
Porsche 550 Spyder scultpure, Autobau Erlebniswelt, Romanshorn, Switzerland
Porsche 550 Spyder scultpure, Autobau Erlebniswelt, Romanshorn, Switzerland

An entire team at your service

In total, there are seven guides available to answer any question regarding the museum and the cars. Others take care of the cars when the collection is not open to the public. In addition to them, an event manager makes sure the venue is booked regularly. I was talking to one of the guides, and he said that Autobau is more of a rolling private collection than a museum. All of the cars are in mint condition; running and road legal – with the exception of the race cars, obviously.

A hidden jewel

This collection might not be as big and as prestigious as Jay Leno’s. But that’s like saying the view from the Empire State Building is not as spectucal as from One World Trade Center. The collection is jaw dropping and unique in its whole. Furthermore, the fact that the public can access it on Wednesdays and Sundays from 4 to 8 PM for an entrance fee of 15.- CHF is just amazing. The cars are not protected in anyway. Obviously, there are a few surveillance cameras. But there you have a private collection worth millions of francs or euros or dollars (whichever you prefer) and anyone is allowed to enter, get close to the cars, touch them and even open a few of them! In a time where respect and civic engagement are about as rare as rain in Los Angeles, who else in their right mind would do that these days?! And yet here it is, ready for everybody to enjoy it! Kudos to Autobau for giving the gearheads some food.

European Cars, Autobau Erlebniswelt, Romanshorn, Switzerland
European Cars, Autobau Erlebniswelt, Romanshorn, Switzerland

The collection is segmented in three areas: European Supercars and Classic Cars (with a strong emphasis on Ferrari and Porsche) in the left wing of the building, Americana and British cars on the lower right wing, as well as race cars on the upper right wing.

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