Curbside Musings: 2015 Ferrari California T – The Drama

2015 Ferrari California T. Downtown, The Loop, Chicago, Illinois. Tuesday, January 24, 2023.

I was involved in several acting programs in my formative years, with those opportunities available to me by living in a city with a vibrant cultural center.  In addition to the Flint Youth Theatre, there were also chances to audition, act, and work in many different facets of production of the shows put on at my high school.  I was a lousy actor and far too self-conscious to effectively lose myself in any role, however small.  While I never participated in any of the plays at Flint Central High School’s theater program, I enjoyed enrollment in many FYT programs held at the F. A. Bower Theater.  While I didn’t necessarily love learning lines or the prospect of being on stage in whatever capacity, I enjoyed being included in such a fun, colorful group of individuals.

F. A. Bower Theater. Cultural Center, Flint, Michigan. Friday, July 10, 2009.

F. A. Bower Theater.  Cultural Center, Flint, Michigan.  Friday, July 10, 2009.

It was while doing theater that I first had started to really embrace the absence of conformity merely for its own sake.  I knew I wasn’t going to follow in the footsteps of anybody in even my extended family.  In these small groups of fellow aspiring actors, coaches, and teachers, it had started to solidify in my young mind that maybe… just maybe… it was okay that I wasn’t like everybody else immediately around me, and that this was nothing to be ashamed of or apologize for.  I theorized that some thespian hopefuls who had come from a place of pain were more driven and successful in putting on different personas for the sake of entertainment.  There were still others with innately gregarious personalities who were charismatic, enjoyed making people laugh or smile, and were great at memorization of lines and blocking.

2015 Ferrari California T. Downtown, The Loop, Chicago, Illinois. Tuesday, January 24, 2023.

One might assume that since I was used to participation in piano recitals in front of many people that I might have craved the limelight.  The difference was that while playing the piano and unlike with acting, I could throw myself into the former without fear of my mannerisms of speech and gesture being put on display and picked apart.  I was lanky, gawky, not terribly masculine, and didn’t like the way my voice sounded.  Being on stage and projecting lines of dialogue made me feel even more self-conscious about these things.  One great benefit of the theater program was my exposure at a crucial time to many confident non-conformers who not only embraced themselves, but loved what made them different and sometimes even played these things up as strengths.

Flint Central High School. Cultural Center, Flint, Michigan. Friday, July 10, 2009.

In front of the auditorium at Flint Central High School, shortly after its permanent closing.      Cultural Center, Flint, Michigan. Friday, July 10, 2009.

I’m not trying to lean into any stereotype that everyone in my theater groups was “out there” for no reason.  There were also solid, stoic types who interacted with the more colorful personalities with natural ease.  It was all about the range of personalities.  I was drawn to the sense of genuineness that came bundled with others’ ability to simply be themselves with no fear of judgement or reproach, ideas which were foreign to me up to that point.  The seeds of the strength of true authenticity had been planted within me during my time dabbling in theater as a teenager.  The only times I would get irritated were when I felt manipulated by personalities who felt over-performative.  There were divas, male and female, and I did not like the ones who seemed mean or fake.  Most people were just interesting, cool, and inclusive.

2015 Ferrari California T. Downtown, The Loop, Chicago, Illinois. Tuesday, January 24, 2023.

When this 2015 Ferrari California T came into view in eastbound morning rush hour traffic in front of the CIBC Theatre (originally opened in 1906 as the Majestic), that one word came to mind: diva.  It was not enough for this person to have a Ferrari.  It also had to be pink, and it also had to have the colors of Italy’s national flag in a narrow stripe running lengthwise over the top of the car lest anyone not recognize that this car is an Italian exotic.  I was so floored in the moment that I texted my teenage niece (also an aspiring actress) a picture of this car to ask her if she’d let me drive her pink Ferrari convertible once she was a star.  Without missing a beat, she replied that a pink Ferrari wouldn’t do and that a pink Bentley would be much more to her liking.  I laughed out loud on the sidewalk.

2015 Ferrari California T. Downtown, The Loop, Chicago, Illinois. Tuesday, January 24, 2023.

With no prior experience with or exposure to one, I used to think of the California as a “Ferrari LeBaron” – a nice, cushy, entry level model for those who wanted bragging rights to owning a Ferrari without actually needing experience with piloting a powerful, capable car.  This is no LeBaron.  There’s a 553-horsepower, 3.9-liter turbocharged V8 under that hood.  It’s stupid-fast, capable of jetting from 0-60 mph in just 3.6 seconds with its 7-speed, dual-clutch, automatic transmission.  The featured car is from the first year of the California’s midlife refresh for 2015 (when it was rechristened “California T”), during which it acquired external styling tweaks inspired by more expensive Ferraris (the F12berlinetta was cited as particular inspiration), a revised, turbocharged engine with smaller displacement and more horsepower, an updated interior, and a revised chassis.

2015 Ferrari California T. Downtown, The Loop, Chicago, Illinois. Tuesday, January 24, 2023.

California production spanned from 2008 to 2017, with final tally being around 17,300 units, including just over 2,600 examples in 2015.  The starting price of this ’15 model was just over $202,700 (about $264,800 in 2024).  Its engine is up front, which is atypical of a Ferrari.  I grew up watching the original Magnum, P. I. television series and had dreamed, like so many others in my age group, of driving a beautiful, red, mid-engined Ferrari 308.  A bright pink 2015 California is about as close to one-hundred eighty degrees from the image of that other Ferrari as possible.  It also takes literally half as long to get to sixty miles per hour.  Maybe the owner of this pink California convertible isn’t necessarily trying to rub her (or his) Ferrari-ness in the faces of those in lesser vehicles and just wants a fancy car.

This driver isn’t getting a completely free pass from me, as on no planet would any car voluntarily painted this color qualify as a Q-ship or subtle in any way.  I just think that it’s possible, especially given that it was turning into the alley behind the CIBC / Majestic Theatre, that the owner and driver is an actor or producer who has all the confidence in the world to be behind the wheel of a pink Ferrari for the joy of doing and being just that.

Downtown, The Loop, Chicago, Illinois.
Tuesday, January 24, 2023.