FERRARI REINVENTS MANIFEST DESTINY: P.J. O’Rourke Drives Cross-Country in a Ferrari 308GTS.
When we got to Atlanta, the band in the hotel bar was the worst thing we’d ever heard. But it didn’t matter. Nothing could cloud our outlook. Brock Adams and Joe Califano could have sat down at our table. Ralph Nader himself would have been welcome, so infected were we with the spirit of vast superiority to the humdrum concerns of daily life that the Ferrari confers, or something like that. I mean this car does one thing. It makes you happy, really happy.
And the car did one more thing for me. It reaffirmed my belief in America. It may sound strange to say that a $45,000 Italian sports car reaffirmed my belief in America, but, as I said, it’s all part of Western civilization and here we were in America, the apogee of that fine trend in human affairs.
And, after all, what have we been getting civilized for, all these centuries? Why did we fight all those wars, conquer all those nations, take over all that Western Hemisphere? Why, for this! For this perfection of knowledge and craft. For this conquest of the physical elements. For this sense of mastery of man over nature. To be in control of our destinies—and there is no more profound feeling of control over one’s destiny that I have ever experienced than to drive a Ferrari down a public road at 130 miles an hour. Only God can make a tree, but only man can drive by one that fast. And if the lowly Italians, the lamest, silliest, least stable of our NATO allies, can build a machine like this, just think what it is that we can do. We can smash the atom. We can cure polio. We can fly to the moon if we like. There is nothing we can’t do. Maybe we don’t happen to build Ferraris, but that’s not because there’s anything wrong with America. We just haven’t turned the full light of our intelligence and ability in that direction. We were, you know, busy elsewhere. We may not have Ferraris, but just think what our Polaris-missile submarines are like. And, if it feels like this in a Ferrari at 130, my God, what can it possibly feel like at Mach 2.5 in an F-15? Ferrari 308s and F-15s—these are the conveyances of free men. What do the Bolshevik automatons know of destiny and its control? What have we to fear from the barbarous Red hordes?
RIP. Needless to say, read the whole thing. The ending is a hoot, too:
But the story ends on a sad note. The movie that this incredible car traveled all that way to be in will be called Don’t Eat the Snow from Hawaii, so maybe Western civilization hasn’t quite been perfected yet.
That was the title of the pilot episode for Magnum P.I. — so evidently, O’Rourke drove Magnum’s Ferrari across the country before it was shipped to Hawaii.