On the Road: Wraps taken off new 2015 Ferrari California T

The wraps are off.

In Calgary earlier this week the new 2015 Ferrari California T was unveiled at Ferrari of Alberta.

According to Carlo Galasso, of Ferrari Maserati of Alberta, the California T brings the world of turbocharged performance back to the stable. With the exception of the company’s latest F1 single-seat racecar, and not since the iconic F40 supercar, built between 1987 and 1992, has a Ferrari featured turbo power.

“The California has always been a special category for Ferrari,” Galasso says. “It’s the most functional and versatile model built by Ferrari. It has a usable trunk, it’s got something of a rear seat, and it’s a hardtop convertible.”

Ferrari first introduced the California model in 1958. According to ferrari.com, the 250 California was the brainchild of west coast United States Ferrari representative John Von Neumann, who suggested the automaker should build an open-top example of its 250 GT (Grand Tourer).

2015 Ferrari California T

2015 Ferrari California T
Handout, Ferrari

The California was built between 1958 and 1960 on a long wheelbase platform, and from 1960 to 1962 on a short wheelbase chassis. Powering the cars was a 3.0-litre V12, with numerous improvements being made to the engine over the years of production. Many of the body panels, such as doors, hood and trunk were crafted out of aluminum.

After production stopped in the early 1960s the California nameplate didn’t return to the market until 2008.

“The modern California cars have a lot of the original design lines of the historic cars,” Galasso says. “They’ve been created using the same brushstrokes.

“But with the 2015 model, what Ferrari has done is taken the California and refined all of the lines, and made it slightly more aggressive.”

The Ferrari Styling Centre, working in collaboration with Pininfarina, gave the new all-aluminum body some rather athletic lines.

Also new, however, is the 3.9-litre V8 engine with its direct fuel injection and two twin-scroll turbochargers.

This V8 replaces Ferrari’s naturally aspirated 4.3L eight-cylinder engine found in the outgoing California. Even though it’s lost nearly a half-litre of displacement, the fresh engine produces more horsepower (553 at 7,500 rpm) and more torque (557 pound-feet at 4,750) than the outgoing powerplant.

Galasso says those figures ensure the California T has as much power as the company’s 458 Italia mid-engine sports car, and more torque, to boot.

And, thanks to the turbos, Ferrari says fuel economy has increased 15%, and emissions figures have decreased.

2015 Ferrari California T

2015 Ferrari California T
Handout, Ferrari

Ferrari uses a Variable Boost Management system to alter maximum boost dependent on the gear engaged in the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.

“The design parameters of the engine and transmission are such,” Galasso says, “that the car constantly pulls from first gear through to seventh gear – it seems like the car has unlimited power.”

According to Ferrari, the aluminum chassis is designed for optimum weight distribution, with a 47/53 bias front to rear. The chassis has also been tweaked to accommodate the new engine, which sits 40 mm lower in the car. That’s a refinement that improves the California T’s centre of gravity, and contributes to even crisper handling.

While it’s the least expensive model Ferrari builds, the California, and now the California T, has become the car to have.

“The California is fast, fun and versatile,” Galasso says. “With all of the changes, the California T ends up being one of the most significant models in our lineup, and, in fact, we’ve never had as brisk a demand for any of the other Ferrari models,” he adds.

Greg Williams is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC). Have an auto related item to share for the column or What’s Next? Contact him at 403-287-1067 or [email protected] Visit his website at gregwilliams.ca.


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July 19: Vintage Sports Car Club of Calgary presents its European Classic Car and Vintage Motorcycle Meet on the green lawns of Stanley Park in Calgary. All European autos from Audi to Volvo are welcome, while all nationalities of motorcycles are accepted for display. Show is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and registration begins at 8 a.m. Supported charity this year is Wellspring Calgary. Visit http://www.vsccc.com or email Fritz Peyerl at [email protected] for more information.

July 20: Gearheads Custom Classic Car & Truck Show at the High Eagle RV Park in Rosebud, Alberta. A small, family-oriented show with live band, prize draws and on-site food all in a green, shady valley. All makes and models welcome up to 1985, show registration begins at noon, public welcome at 1 p.m., cars depart at 6 p.m. Vehicle registration is $10 each. Call Ed or Jeanne at 403-677-2577 or email [email protected] for more information.

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