I was leafing through an old car magazine (2003) in our club when I came across an advertisement that immediately caught my attention as a good old “petrolhead”. The advertisement for the Montegrappa for Ferrari collection. And since I like to compare the various brands of cars, watches and pens with each other, what brand could better represent the passion and tradition of Ferrari than the brand from Bassano del Grappa? Join me in a little flashback of almost 20 years.
Inspired a by the comparison between the Meisterstück and the Porsche 911 of a year ago, I was truly intrigued to see Montegrappa associated with Ferrari. They really are similar and we have already talked about the history of Montegrappa in our post of July 30th. So let’s talk quickly about Ferrari and why this little manufacturer is so relevant in the big world of car producer and then dive into the tiny collection from 2003.
Pioneer of technology
Ferrari is a relatively young brand compared to the big ones from the automotive industry. Founded officially in 1947, Ferrari was immediately recognized as one of the rising stars in the racing world. Enzo Ferrari, the founder of the company, had already a quite decent pilot career behind him. But he was obsessed by the technological and mechanical perfection. His focus was without any doubt the engine. And this always was the strength of every Ferrari. There is a famous quote of Enzo Ferrari that reflects this maniacal concentration on the engine: “Aerodynamics are for people who can’t build engines.” In fact, Enzo Ferrari was ahead of it’s time. For example, he was developing exclusively 12 cylinder engines in an era where other manufacturer were building 4 or 6 cylinder engines due to the very hard times after WWII. But he was convinced, that only a 12 cylinder engine has the right performance and reliability due to the lower vibrations. The results achieved by Ferrari are just incredible. A few facts to better understand: Ferrari competes in the Formula 1 championship since day 1, 1950 and has won its first of 15 driver championships already in 1952, only 5 years after foundation. First victory at the 24 hours of Le Mans: 1954, only 2 years later. And dozens of other victories all around the world until today. It is not surprising that this small manufacturer from Maranello enjoys a place in the Olympus of the greatest manufacturers of all time. And therefore no surprise that Ferrari is associated to fine watches and writing instruments.
Montegrappa’s driving excitement
October 19th, 2003 – on this day the “Montegrappa for Ferrari” collection has been presented in Maranello with a group of journalists that had the chance to visit the factory. And I have to say that almost 20 years later the fountain pens you see in these pictures are surprisingly fresh. The oblique cut of the cap, which extends the sleek design of the barrel. The cap itself has neither a threaded nor friction fit. Instead, it uses an innovative system that smoothly glides it onto the pen. The dual cartridge system is as well innovative for the time offering the double advantage of having a reserve of ink and being able to fill the pen from the barrel end. Without having to come in contact with the ink. All metal parts are solid silver or 18ct gold, while the parts painted in Racing Red or Modena Yellow are made fo the same alloy Ferrari uses for its engines. Available also in Blue, later on, as a limited edition, and with a carbon fiber barrel. A fantastic finish this last one. But very hard to find. Final detail, the prancing horse logo on the barrel of the pen is modelled and finished by hand using the ancient technique of burin and chisel. Interesting fact is also, that the production was limited to roughly 4’000 pieces, which was the annual production back in the days. As a reference, today Ferrari produces over 10’000 cars a year.
So if you are a Ferrari lover, watch out for these exquisite writing instruments. There is the one or the other out there. Not the cheapest writing instruments, believe me. But what you get in terms of quality of the writing instrument as well as packaging.
Image credits: classicdriver.com