Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Pair of Shell Ferrari 599 Fioranos Touring U.S on Road Trip From Brazil, May Be in Your Neighborhood Next

Some readers may recall the days back in the early 1960s when Mercury promoted its Comet by sending a team of them driving the length of South America in an event I think was called the Pan American Rally or something along that line.

The point, of course, was to demonstrate the toughness and reliability of the cars, as well as to differentiate the Mercurys from their Ford Fairlane stablemates, which were mechanically identical. Yes, there was such a thing as badge engineering back then, too.

I mention this long-ago forgotten event because Shell and Ferrari are doing something similar to promote the Italian firm's latest Fiorano GTB. There's nothing remotely like badge engineering here, though.

Here's how a Shell release describes the project:

"The Ferrari Panamerican 20,000 road challenge will stop at Shell stations across the United States to refuel with Shell V-Power as it makes its way from Brazil to New York City in two all-new Ferrari 599 GTB Fioranos.

"The tour will cover 20,000 miles in just 85 days, including this stop in Ashburn, Va., where local car lovers can get a glimpse of Ferrari's most technologically advanced road car as both Ferraris refuel for the next leg of the adventure."

From Ashburn, the Fioranos head north towards New York City. Perhaps this Shell-Ferrari promotion heralds a revival of what used to be a staple of automotive marketing - doing something spectacular to grab attention and demonstrate virtues real or imagined.

Here's a photo of one of the gorgeous Ferraris: