Sweet Dreams
Flying|August 2021
The evolution of desire
BEN YOUNGER

For as long as I’ve been eating solid foods, I’ve had a dream car—and the conviction that it would one day be mine. It began with the Lamborghini Countach, which was first produced in 1974 when I was 2 years old. I found it a few years later in a Motor- Trend magazine my father left on the kitchen counter. The Countach was stunning, unlike anything I’d ever seen. Even then, I understood that the Italians were the only ones who could make a car that possessed that potent combination of speed and aesthetics I found so intoxicating as a boy who had yet to discover girls.

Next, my imagination moved 27 miles east from Bologna to Maranello, Italy, where I discovered the Ferrari 288 GTO. Another fanatical group of Italians produced the car for only two years: 1984 to 1986. The GTO combined the timeless looks of the 328 GTS (Magnum, P.I.’s car) with a twin-turbo V-8 described at the time as an actual monster that ate drivers as much as it did asphalt. I was 12 when that car came out, and I nearly lost my mind—even with the discovery of girls.

As I grew older, I became less obsessed with looks and more fascinated with underpinnings. The Porsche 959 traveled my attention across Europe, from Maranello to Stuttgart, Germany. It certainly wasn’t prettier than the GTO. Rather, it was the all-wheel drive, water-cooled, sequential twin-turbocharged, rear-mounted motor and active aerodynamics that captured my imagination. Back then, AWD was for Subarus, not supercars. It was a revelation. But then, both the 959 and Outback have horizontally opposed “flat” motors that we pilots are intimately familiar with in our Continentals and Lycomings. There was lineage to trace, even back in 1986.

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