Talking Motors: An object to aim for, or to love from afar?

The Ferrari 365 GT4 BB. Inset: The closest Ill get to driving one  on Segas Out Run
The Ferrari 365 GT4 BB. Inset: The closest Ill get to driving one  on Segas Out Run

What’s the closest you’ve ever got to driving a Ferrari?

I know, I think I might have touched one once.

A reminder of the fact my answer to the question is spending pretty much all of 1993 playing Out Run on the Sega Master System landed in my inbox this week.

London classic car dealer Hexagon has a 365 GT4 BB for sale – which is exciting news until you remember you’re not a millionaire.

The fact a price isn’t listed for the car, one of only 58 supplied to the UK between 1973 and ‘76, suggests we can’t have it. And a Googling of values confirms that nagging thought, with a figure well over quarter of a million showing on screen.

That’s why I always find it much more exciting to hear about cars within our grasp. I’m much more likely to click a link when I see a Morris, Rover or MG for sale.

A 1970s British Leyland ad for the MG Midget

A 1970s British Leyland ad for the MG Midget

Granted, the kind of car we spend our weekends on don’t come with a mid-mounted flat-12 cylinder engine, a layout inspired by Ferrari’s three-litre F1 cars, and Rosso Chiaro paintwork with Nero leather.

But I don’t mind that. I like mauling about getting my hands cut on the sharp bits of a tired B-series engine while looking for the screwdriver I’ve just dropped with the torch on my oil encrusted phone.

And I like my sun-bleached and worn seats with a tear in the side and a fag burn thanks my dad on the headlining.

Of course, prestigious classics have their place in the world, and regarded as the purest of all the Berlinetta Boxer models, the GT4 is comfortably in that category, if a little obvious by virtue of the badge.

But while many of us are happy with our less than perfect MG Midgets (advertised ambitiously in the ‘70s by British Leyland as ‘The People’s Ferrari’) the world is a better place for the cars which make us stand in wonderment at shows, too nervous to speak to the owner because we’re embarrassed about the fact we have a poster of one up in the garage but don’t actually own one.

We’ve all watched with jealousy as Ferris Bueller and Cameron sped around in a ‘borrowed’ 1961 Ferrari California Spider (great film by the way) and wondered what it would be like, though in reality if you put me in the driving seat of one I’d be too scared to squeeze the throttle, taking me back to the point on more attainable cars.

There are of course a select few who do get to drive and own such cars. While not nearly as expensive as the GT4, the Ferrari I came into close contact with was back in the Out Run era.

It was a Dino belonging to a friend of my dad’s, who didn’t mind my Mars bar greased fingers contributing to his paintwork. But while I liked it, I still preferred what we had.

That’s probably why I’ll read the email about the GT4 and look for what one sounds like on YouTube but not feel like I’m missing out.

Hexagon’s Chairman Paul Michaels said he doesn’t expect it to hang around for long, but if I had the cash, I’d go in search under the nation’s tarpaulins for something to bring back to life.