What’s it like to drive a 550HP FERRARI SCUDERIA?

OK, wait — I need to pinch myself again to confirm I actually did this. 

So, this week’s Ride of the Week goes to my good friend Kenny Lombino and his liquid black ‘09 Ferrari Scuderia. 

Why? Well, I’m so glad you asked.

Being president of the Ferrari Club of America, Southwest Region, Kenny gets to spend most of his days around cool cars — the very definition of an exotic car lifestyle. And also being the senior vice president/wealth manager at Merrill Lynch in Beverly Hills, he hangs with some serious cheese. So when Kenny called me up and said, “Hey, we need to go for a spin,” I was like, “In Like Flynn.”

One of only 499 made for the world, Kenny’s race-prepped Ferrari 16M Scuderia is an Italian woman with a mind of her own. And if you’re lucky, she’ll take you for a ride of a lifetime. And that’s exactly what we did through Malibu on this day. Meeting at Bluffs Park, right off the bat I knew that Kenny was my kind of guy. Super passionate about cars, lifestyle and giving, we hit it off like two Ferraris in a pod. Stories, driving experiences, places, we covered the gambit over our 20-minute spin. Kenny mention that he had a few other cars, like a 1965 Jaguar E-Type Roadster, a ‘67 Jaguar E-Type Coupe race car, a ‘15 Porsche GTS coupe, ‘15 Jeep Rubicon and a 1997 Harley Road King. That last one is technically known as a “motorcycle,” but who’s paying attention?

Between the shimmies, slips and sliders of our drive, Kenny started filling me in. 

“This baby has 550 HP, one of 499 made, light weight, convertible and no mods,” he said. “Just black on black with tons of carbon. I bought it in 2011 with 600 miles on it. Bought it from Ferrari of Beverly Hills because it’s rare, exclusive, state of the art at the time, maximum performance, looks fantastic and is basically a street-legal race car.”

Kenny pops this puppy for Ferrari events, long tours including a 5,000-mile trip on back roads up to Canada, through the Canadian Rockies, back down into the U.S. and across the West back to LA and Malibu. 

“In less that four years, I have put 25K miles on her,” he said. “Her name is Valentina, by the way.” 

This gave me an instant reference point. Valentina loves to sing, but Kenny went on. 

“I use her most times only twice a month for Ferrari events but also I take her to the track once or twice a year,” he said.

But this past June, leading 17 Ferraris on Route 66 in Arizona on his way to the Grand Canyon, Kenny took me on a visual journey. 

“Driving at a nice clip, all of a sudden a loud bang sounding like a gunshot hit the drivers’ door window and smashed it into a million pieces,” Kenny said. “Luckily the window tint kept the glass in tact. My girlfriend thought we were shot at and I found myself looking to see if in fact that was true. Thank God, it wasn’t. So I pulled over, stopped, and the window fell out to the ground having caused $7,500 worth of damage.

“The next three days in 100-degree heat, we drove with no window and all the A/C vents pointed at my girlfriend. No explanation as to why it happened, but the drama crowd liked saying I was shot at. My mechanic thinks it was pressure as I passed another car going in the opposite direction. I like to think it was just an accident as the other car threw up a rock. There was no sign of any kind of impact rock or otherwise. Just another story in the book.”

But Malibu is one of the most beautiful places on the planet, Kenny said. 

“There is nothing like driving down the coast with the top down in the Ferrari,” he said. “So many incredible vistas, along with the opportunity at any point to turn up into the canyon roads. It makes one feel alive, makes one grateful, and its one of the main reasons I moved to Southern California from the East Coast. I always post pictures to make my East Coast friends jealous, especially in winter.”

I’m grateful to Kenny for so many reasons, but his infectious passion left me heightened in my search for more automotive experiences. I write this from the SEMA Show in Las Vegas and am about to venture into a Car Wonderland with many Kennys afoot. But my drive with Mr. Lombino left me with a joy I won’t soon forget. And thanks to Valentina, I left the radio off the whole way to Vegas just to hear my own car sing.