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The Loss of My Virginity

She was sleek and curvaceous and there was almost a glow about her. She crouched under the spotlight looking as if ready to pounce on an unsuspecting admirer like me. Her skin was smooth and flawless. I walked around her admiring the curve of her flanks and the rounded rear. It was love at first sight for me and I could hardly wait to know her intimately. My first Ferrari experience was about to begin. Most of us will go a lifetime without ever driving a truly high-performance car, let alone a supercar like a Ferrari, Maserati or Lamborghini. I was one of those fortunate ones who, without making the huge investment, got to enjoy a number of drives in a truly great car.

I was the new sales manager for an old Ford dealership. The owner was a high-performance car enthusiast and we were one of the few dealerships that inventoried and sold the limited production vehicles produced by Ford Racing Division. One of our high-performance salesmen was a former racing driver, Paul O’Shea, who had been with both the Ferrari and Mercedes-Benz teams in the nineteen-fifties. Paul had located and bought with the boss’ money, a retired Ferrari Gran Prix car that had once won the Carrera Pan-America, the Gran Prix of Argentina.

 The Ferrari red body was crafted of aluminum, light and easily dented. It was right-hand drive with a headrest that sloped back into the rear deck. Next to the base of the headrest buttress was the huge, spring-loaded cover for the sixty gallon gas tank. Originally equipped with a Ferrari V-12 of about four litres, the car had been bought for a pittance with a rod through the aluminum block. Not being a purist, though he did own two other Ferraris, the Ford dealer had the shop install a Ford seven litre racing engine with a highrise manifold and two, huge four-barrel carburetors. Blueprinted, the Ford engine produced 575 horsepower in a vehicle that weighted about 1,900 pounds with sixty gallons of gas aboard. It was awesome!

The clutch was very heavily sprung and hard to depress at first, but once underway it was fast and had a very positive grip. The shop had rigged an Austin-Healey windshield in place of the tiny windscreen that had sufficed for racing. The red beast looked street legal, but lacked windshield wipers a horn and a few other unmentionables that would have passed a motor vehicle inspection. It was important not to attract the attention of the traffic policemen while operating on the public roadways.

 I drove the red beauty every chance I got, the excuse being that I was promoting our High-Performance Division. I drove it to the gym, picked up my girlfriend for lunch and cruised the local drag-racing strip parking lots.

 My romance ended when my promotional drives produced results; the sale of twelve racing Fords and one former Ferrari race car.