I don’t understand why someone would drive a gray Ferrari

Our founding editor needs some guidance about yet another aspect of car life

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gray ferrari
A Ferrari 812 Superfast in grigio scuro (aka gray)

Editor’s note: Once again, there’s something about cars that Larry Edsall doesn’t understand. Hopefully, you, our readers, will enlighten him through the Comments section, just as you did when he didn’t understand the whole premise of driving gloves or the prices being asked for vintage Ford Broncos.)

Before the country went into full lockdown mode in an effort to stop the virus from spreading, I was driving down — literally, down into the Las Vegas valley — on a local avenue still busy with people going to work and shopping and such when I noticed a car turning right into the uphill lane and quickly realized it was some sort of sporty coupe.

As it got closer, I recognized that it was a Ferrari. 

But why had it taken me more than a millisecond to come to such a conclusion? Because this Ferrari was painted gray. 

Why, I wondered, why would anyone choose a gray Ferrari? 

Yes, I know, “gray” is not a real Ferrari color. Instead, the Italian automaker offers sensually pronounced shades of agrento, a light gray, and grigio, a darker tone. 

But, let’s face it, even the dictionary defines gray with terms including dull, lacking brightness, ordinary, gloomy, uninteresting, vague, neutral and even aging. 

Is that really how the Ferrari owner wants to portray himself or herself or his or her vehicle?  As dull, ordinary, vague? 

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It’s one thing to drive a generic compact crossover that some generic automaker had sprayed gray, but for Enzo’s sake, we’re talking here about a freaking Ferrari! 

Shouldn’t it be one of the shades of rosso or giallo or perhaps even one of the shades of azzurro? Shouldn’t it stand out in the crowd of gray, white or black cars that dominate the parking lot? 

And while we’re at it, and while it was a gray-colored Ferrari that triggered this line of thought, doesn’t it also seem to apply to any sports car? 

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

30 COMMENTS

  1. Gray makes perfect sense, for the Ferrari owner that drives one not to be flashy but rather to enjoy the ride but wants to have a more mysterious understated impression on the world. If he needs to be flashy the Ferrari name itself can provide that and if that’s not enough the performance of the car will catch anyone’s eye or ear. While a nice ordinary, vague, grey, sports car slips quickly off into the sunset.

  2. He owns a gray Ferrari because he can. Be gratified he didn’t have it painted day-glo chartreuse from the factory. Quit whining. Spend your quarter of a million and have it painted any color you want. Are you sure that the “gray” wasn’t full primer?

  3. Hi Larry, I think color is a matter of individual preference. The correct make, model and color is the one that makes you smile when you walk into the garage and see it. I would never own a red or yellow car especially “bright” versions. Cars with red interiors are well…………….. Just another perspective.

  4. What I like about these responses is their courteous nature, their considered, moderate tone. Were this on another site, we would by now have been ‘treated’ to an outpouring of rage from liberals accusing Larry of ‘grayism’ ! Petrolheads are just not like that, yeah!

  5. Larry – I once had a red Pinto back in the day. I got more tickets with that car than any other I have owned! Not necessarily because I was doing anything that other drivers were doing but because it was red. Since then almost all of my cars were either gray, black or dark blue. I currently have a few silver cars (mostly German) and I’m sure to follow all the traffic laws when driving them – most of the time;). And now you know why the police used to be called “Bulls”!

  6. Nothing wrong with being understated, even if it’s a Ferrari kind of understatement. Bravo to the owner who doesn’t see the need to have his bright red Italian sports car announce to everyone that he’s driving a rich man’s car.

  7. I drove a black C-6 Z-51 Corvette slowly through a back woods town in upstate New York and everyone in the town stopped, looked, and listened. Nice cars attract attention no matter what color they are.

  8. I like gray or silver or whatever as a color! Plus it doesn’t show dust and dirt so bad, and while I don’t own a Ferrrari, I do DRIVE my 2 collector cars!

  9. I was at an Italian car event a few years ago that featured a whole lot of Ferraris and after seeing the 20th red one in a row pull in the cars were no longer very impressive. Decades ago I saw a chrome yellow Daytona 365GTB and have never forgotten it. Disclaimer: my own Corvette is silver and I think it looks very sophisticated. When a friend saw it he was surprised that having heard “Corvette” he expected purple paint and disco lights.

  10. Well I’ve got to say that Gray blends in with the pavement. that could be a good thing if you’re out exercising your Ferrari when you shouldn’t be going that fast. But of course if it’s blending into the asphalt, then nobody’s going to see you and could cause a unexpected meeting with the bent metal consequences. On the other hand I think that a nice soft gray color is certainly better than black! I’ve got a Ferrari sitting here now that people think is some kind of a Toyota because it’s this black color. What is it with black? Who wants a black Ferrari? That’s ridiculous! Ferraris need an exciting color and of course everybody thinks Ferraris are always supposed to be red. But let’s put some exciting colors on these cars people! As for the gray well like I already said, it’s better than black.

  11. While driving a bright red Ferrari on the west coast of America is probably the norm don’t forget in less affluent parts of the world where car culture is not quite as prevalent as in the US a car nut that’s done well for himself may need to fit in a little more subtly, so a grey Ferrari might just be the ticket rather than having the mid life crisis finger pointed at him !

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