Once upon a time, I received a call from an acquaintance Mario Tosi. He and I both owned Ferrari GTOs and used them as daily transportation. His had been for sale and I came close to buying it before finally purchasing 3987. Mario was calling to say that he had found a buyer for his car and wanted to say goodbye to the car by organizing a track day at Willow Springs Raceway. Would I like to come along, he wanted to know. Indeed I would! Some of what went on that day is documented in this footage filmed by Peter Helm to which I added a narration: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Md_jcC6OnIU
A day or so after this very special event, I found myself having dinner on the Sunset Strip with Matthew Ettinger who owned the Ferrari Breadvan at the time. Leaving the restaurant, we climbed into the GTO and accelerated away enjoying the sound of the engine with its timing chains and intake suction noises and the deep throated sound of the exhaust as it bounced off Nicky Blair's facade. And then suddenly, the GTO made a sharp left turn without any input to the steering wheel. I stopped in the middle of Sunset Boulevard to take stock of the situation. Had I turned the wheel? No. Did we turn left? Yes. I started off again a little more gingerly and made a straight course until WHAM--we turned left again. Clearly the ZF limited slip differential was not happy about something!
Carefully and slowly, we made our way to Peter Helm's apartment just off the Strip. He wasn't home--when was he ever?--so I parked the GTO in his garage and Matthew and I found our way home in separate taxis that night.
Friend and fellow Ferrari enthusiast John Andrews volunteered his garage and skills in dismantling the GTO's rear end. It took some doing but we got it apart and inspected the large crack in the unit which needed to be replaced rather than repaired. This prompted a call to the factory in Maranello. The operator there said no one would be able to help me until after the strike was over. Thoughts of weeks and months waiting for the strike to end passed through my mind. Somewhat hopelessly, I asked, "When might the strike end?" as if she would know. In fact, she did know. "The strike will be over in an hour," she informed me. They do things differently in Italy.
When the two hour strike had concluded, I got through to someone who informed me that I needed to call ZF in Germany as there was no part number on the unit that I could cite. My next call to ZF in Germany confirmed that there was no part number on the unit because there was no such part (!!). ZF merely shipped a solid billet of steel to Ferrari and it was they who machined the part into existence. Another call to Maranello confirmed that they were out on strike again for an hour or so. In between strikes, I was finally advised to contact Luigi Chinetti, Ferrari's U.S. distributor and proprietor of the North American Racing Team. He would know what to do about a broken ZF unit.
The people at Chinetti were extremely helpful and directed me to a machine shop in Greenwich, Connecticut, as I recall, where a replacement was made using the original as a model. To reinstall the part, the GTO was moved to Matthew Ettinger's garage which it shared with the Breadvan--a great garage duo!
It took a couple of long evenings, but Matthew and I installed the limited slip, reassembled the rear end and buttoned everything up. A long job but worth the effort and we were more than ready for a test drive to enjoy the fruits of our labors.
The GTO had been backed into the garage so as Matthew opened the garage door, I started the engine and moved the gearshift into the dog-legged first gear. Matthew waved me out, I engaged the clutch and--the GTO went backwards!
Having installed the unit the wrong way around, I found myself the proud owner of the world's only Ferrari GTO with five speeds in reverse and one forward. We should have gone to a local bar and made some bets. Instead, we gave up and corrected the situation the following day and 3987 became, once again, just another GTO.
How to Shoot a Feature Film in 15 Days (And Survive to See Profits)
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Examples of Responsive Reactions
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Action/ReAction at Stella Adler
Point of Departure
A Series of ONE...
Stephen and Dragonuk
Stephen Mitchell webinar for Stage 32
Ferrari GTO 3987 at speed by Yan denes
Ray D. Shosay's Journal
Dispatches from a (junior) suite in Paris
Ray D. Shosay's Journal (excerpt)
"Saturday, January 27, 2007
They say you can fool some of the people all of the time. Accordingly, I think we should concentrate on this group initially. We can move on to the people you can only fool some of the time at a later date if we deem it necessary. I hope to hear back from my agent about this as soon as he's out of rehab, as I don't think my messages have been getting through."
Ignorance is Bliss by Stephen Mitchell
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Exerpt from Ignorance is Bliss
"Out of the corner of his eye, Martin saw Martha shift in her seat. She leaned forward, as though something was about to be decided. This caused her breasts to push up against the neckline of her dress in a way that couldn't be fully appreciated out of the corner of one’s eye. So, Martin turned his head to look directly into the abyss of her cleavage. He was vaguely aware that Murray was talking again."
Carrera Panamericana (1950-54)
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Ferrari GTO 3987
Elysée Wednesday: Drive!
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“You ought to meet Steve. The two of you have the same kind of Ferrari.”
Ferrari Berlinetta Lusso
One evening, I was enjoying a John le Carré novel and a glass of Bordeaux...
L'art de l'automobile
My first Lusso prior to restoration
It was only after Sinatra was gone...
Once upon a time...
Meeting Enzo Ferrari
I came across this on a late night stroll in Paris near the Louvre.
I bought Bentleys in England and Ferraris & Maseratis in Italy to re-sell in Los Angeles as a teenager. I met Enzo Ferrari, Juan Fangio and Steve McQueen. I 'grew up' on the set of Mission: Impossible and other episodic TV series of the era. For a few years, I owned a Ferrari GTO that is owned by Ralph Lauren today and valued at approximately $52M. I began my film career by writing, producing and directing Montmartre in Paris in French. I founded and ran a repertory company for film & TV for 20 years in Los Angeles. I created a TV series which had fans that included Marlon Brando. I authored the first new acting technique--Action/ReAction--that was not based on Stanislavski's Method. I am currently writing my third novel and shooting my spy thriller Exigence. If you can't make movies, live your life as though you were in one...