‘Bip.’ ‘Thock.’ ‘Chang.’ No, these aren’t typos - they’re the sounds you hear when you wash the bodywork of a Ferrari F430, the noise of high tensile aluminium and carbonfibre body panels being inadvertently finger-tapped as you attack with a sponge.
If you didn’t know better you’d think this accompaniment was the product of cheap and slightly insubstantial bodywork, but these are the sounds of kilo-cutting, the lightweight materials of this Ferrari tautened and pared to the max through painstaking CAD-CAM optimisation.
Hand-washing a car always turns up some little secrets as you slide a wet sponge across its body - the subtleties of sculpture that you don’t spot when you’re stand 10 paces away, the tidiness or otherwise of the joints between panels, glazing, bumpers and mirrors and sometimes, evidence of the curious demands of aerodynamics.
Nabbing the mag’s long-term Ferrari for the weekend had me washing it on Saturday afternoon after I’d cleaned my ’81 Jaguar XJ-S, the F430’s dusty, rain-spotted panels looking rather sorry in comparison. The Ferrari is a much smoother object than the Coventry car, whose protuberant bumpers and recessed windows make it a much more fiddly thing to clean - the sponge whips faster across the surface of the F430 because there are fewer abrupt contour changes to snag it from your hand.