Driving a Ferrari 458 Italia is like tasting a 1985 Sassicaia. If you took a swig of the acclaimed red wine in your early years, all you'd think is a jug of Arbor Mist from Walmart would be around $1,490 cheaper and get you just as buzzed.
But as one matures, so do one's taste buds. The smallest sip of Sassicaia now transforms what you believe a well-rounded red should be. Your opinion of wine; what makes one good; what makes one special, changes. After years of necking cheap wine boxes, you appreciate the search for perfection in a way you never could in your youth.
And that's what the Ferrari 458 Italia is: Perfection, that should be earned. Watching a 14-year-old British boy tool around in Modena's finest makes me question not just whether he can, but whether he should.
As a driver, I believe you should be forced to work your way up the automotive world. It should be a law: Everyone should learn how to drive in a dented hatchback with torn seats, preferably smelling of wet pets. Progressing up the ladder should be thrilling, experiencing newfound greatness with each vehicular step. That way, if you ever meet a wealthy enthusiast with a fancy supercar who's foolish enough to let you behind the wheel, you truly appreciate the magnitude of what you're driving — the engineering, the craftsmanship, the history.
The teen-ager in the video below certainly behaves with great respect to the supercar at hand. In the video below, you'll note that this is actually the second time he's driven his father's glorious Italian weapon around narrow UK roads:
Does the 14-year-old comprehend what he's driving? It's fast, sure, but does he feel the heart and soul of Enzo Ferrari pulsating through the steering wheel? Does he sense the lingering presence of the Dino 246GT with every tap of the gas pedal? Maybe he does, and perhaps, when he began learning to drive at age six, his dad threw him into a beat up Honda Civic to earn his rookie stripes. Maybe he's just progressed up the ladder far faster than the rest of us.
Regardless, he seems to be having a lot of fun, with some sense of the magnitude of what's happening at age 14. And, most importantly, he's driving on private roads, unlike the 9-year-old in the video below who took his father's Ferrari F430 for a spin on public roads in India -- with his parents' permission. (They deemed it the perfect 9th birthday present, before they were arrested.) The magic of an '85 Sassicaia will be forever lost on the likes of them.