Listen to “A Car for the Loyal One”
Australia – kangaroos, desserts, Nicole Kidman, Kylie Minogue, Michael Hutchence, Chris Hemsworth, Hugh Jackman, Nick Cave – the list of influential people with roots in this exotic and desirable place is quite impressive, but one Australian woman’s name has been present for a while as a top influencer.
Alexandra Hirschi, known as Supercar Blondie, had always dreamt of visiting Dubai and she did. She loved it so much, that she forgot about Brisbane and stayed for good. Naturally, in the beginning, she struggled to find a job, but eventually, Alex succeeded in becoming a radio presenter – Radio Blondie for “Dubai Eye” radio station, where she worked for nine years. However, at some point, she started a hobby, which made her name “legend-wait for it- dary”, although she had zero expectations.
The social media celebrity fell in love with cars – few people wouldn’t in a city like Dubai, where the most exotic and insanely beautiful and expensive models are parked everywhere. What she did was literally a suicidal career plunge. With so many people and platforms offering car presentations, selling the dream, the speed, the luxury, what chance did she have in standing out from the rest?
Well, firstly, she is a woman. Women are a rarity in the car business – something she felt was unfair. Secondly, she is in Dubai – that helped her more than her looks, blond hair, and approach, as she admits. And thirdly, she employs a completely different approach towards presenting the jewels in modern supercars and the automobiles of the future. She focuses not so much on technical details, which experts usually tend to bore, especially the female clients, but rather on the feel of the car, the experience while driving it, the emotional part of making the car a part of your life.
That launched her career as a social media promoter of exclusive cars and after a few months on social media, starting with 60 thousand followers, today she enjoys an audience of six million people.
Alex’s day is not just standing in front of a car and posing for photoshoots or driving around in it. It is a constant struggle with competition, coming up with intriguing ideas to present the beauty, safety, and reliability of a car. She also spends a lot of energy dealing with haters. Yes, no matter how many people love her, she has troops of haters and they don’t spare insults. Nevertheless, in 2019 Arabian Business Globe recognized her impact and placed her among the top thirty most influential women in the Arab world.
The modest radio presenter managed to grow so fast. Keeping her fingers on the pulse of society and simultaneously feeling the vibe of the car, she does not skip details that other presenters usually miss as they race to sell the car at any cost.
Her manager, who is also her husband, (yes, she is happily married) Nik Hirschi, a former banker, stands beside her in the search for new ideas, travels the globe with her, and one must admire the braveness with which they both stepped out of their comfort zones to dedicate their lives to something they love. And most importantly, he admires her. One does not have to believe in St. Valentine’s miracle to appreciate the glory of love, but a red Ferrari with hundreds of red roses and balloons certainly reminds a woman that she is classy, elegant and so very special. Nothing beats a red Ferrari – the supercar of supercars, according to Nik.
But why Ferrari? And how has this car reached such a legendary status?
Well for sure one of the reasons is its tradition. Ferrari was founded in 1929 as a race-car division of Alfa Romeo by Enzo Ferrari who in 1947 transformed it into an independent car enterprise. Its symbol has always been a prancing horse, which was also the symbol of the Italian aviator and hero Francesco Baracca, whose mother passed it on to Enzo Ferrari for good luck.
Another reason could be the fact that Ferrari is the only brand to have participated continuously in every Formula One race. Ferrari has had the most successful racing teams, held the most championships for construction, and achieved the highest number of car racers championship victories.
Or maybe it is the beauty of the design of every car presented to the world in red which, curiously enough, was not chosen by the company itself, but was assigned to Ferrari by FIA, which stands for Federation Internationale de l`Automobile, at the beginning of the car racing competition era, in order for the countries to be recognized better by their colors: red for Italy, blue for France, white for Germany and so on.
Another reason for the high status of Ferrari could be the devotion and long-term futuristic vision of its founder, Enzo Ferrari, who once said that he had never gone on a real trip, never been on holiday. The best holiday for him was to spend time in his workshops when nearly everybody else was on vacation.
Yet, despite the passion and devotion, Ferrari went through lots of periods of crisis. A major one occurred during the first half of the eighties when the performance of the cars was nothing, but average. Some call it faith, others – destiny, but it was in those years that Enzo Ferrari began his collaboration with the engineer Nicola Materazzi. The latter was sort of a lonely genius who preferred working without compromises and interference, but who had proved to be capable of achieving extraordinary results. And so it happened.
Ferrari trusted the man, giving him complete autonomy and freedom with the only condition – to work as fast as possible because Ferrari, almost 90 years old, knew that he could die at any moment. So, an agreement between two great men was reached and Materazzi, armed with a pencil and a drawing board only, created probably the most iconic supercar ever: the F40.
He imagined, designed, tested, and put together almost every component a car could have in those years. In fact, he was the mind behind the chassis, the bodywork, the motor and even the gearbox, and all that without any help from a computer, and with one target in his mind only: to create the fastest car in the world. And he did.
That car was flying, and that is not only because everything was created by one mind, but also because the car was stripped of any comfort and useless weight. It weighed a bit more than 1000 kilograms. Even the paint was exceptionally thin – at a closer inspection, one could see through it.
However, on the day of the press release in July 1987, the Drake, a nickname for Ferrari, was in trouble. They had planned and announced they would produce only 400 cars of the brand, but apparently, its brilliance must have somehow been noticed by rich car enthusiasts, who crammed the sales department with orders for over 900 cars. And all happened before the car was even presented. What a glorious day it must have been for Ferrari, a day on which his philosophy became clear to the world: from the 900 potential clients, he choose to sell the F40 only to the 400 most loyal clients, refusing to accommodate the rest.
Soon after that, Enzo Ferrari died. Fiat took over the production. In the following years, 1600 more cars from that model were made, using the F40 as something like a cash machine. What a difference in business behavior, what a transformation in the approach to the customer and the product. But that’s a different story. A very different story, indeed.
– Daniel De Luise