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Ferrari Pole Position Carbon Fibre pen


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#1 J-san

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Posted 11 July 2007 - 04:04

Ferrari is well known for its sleek, fast, exotic cars that come with astronomical price tags. The Italian company now has a fine writing instrument that bears its famous name, but without the high price. Is this fountain pen as fancy as the supercars they sell? Read on and find out!

-- Packaging --

The pen arrives in a very nice box wrapped in woven black fabric that closely resembles the carbon fibre used in so many racecars. One touch of the box, and you can feel the soft fabric give, and feel the stiff, sturdy box underneath. The famous prancing stallion logo is a mere sticker in the center of the lid.




The underside boasts a few more stickers, two of which verify that the pen is indeed a licensed Ferrari product. Another sticker shows the pen is made in Italy (or suggests it is Italian made) and the box is made in China.



Opening the box reveals the pen, gently nestled in its protective foam base. The pen arrived posted and with a small red pamphlet describing the pen in various languages. A very neat and clean presentation. I like it!



-- Design, Fit and Finish --

As carbon fibre is often associated with exotic racecars and technology, Ferrari went with the carbon look for their pen to give it a similar racing theme. I will admit that I have a soft spot for woven carbon fibre, so this pen was a natural purchase for me. The carbon weave is coated with a glossy topcoat and trimmed with rhodium rings at the ends. The body is actually metal, but has the carbon on the outside for aesthetic purposes. One may get the illusion that since the pen is mostly carbon, it should be very lightweight. The Pole Position isn't light, nor is it a tank at about 31 grams. In my hands, it has a solid feel and heft that would contribute to smooth writing and a comfortable posture. The grip section has a red band about 1cm in width encircling the barrel. The cap screws on with 2.5 turns and fits snugly without any play. The clip carries an embossed "Ferrari" logo and four "racing stripes" that span the rest of the clip length. At the end of the cap is a small Ferrari logo "jewel" covered by a raised acrylic button. On the other end is a sleeve that fits into a recess in the barrel on both ends. The sleeve helps seal the pen when capped, and serves to allow the cap to be posted. Unlike other pens where the cap slides over the body, the cap remains flush. Overall, I think the pen looks great. Capped length is 12.4cm, 15.7cm posted, and 1.3cm in diameter. The carbon weave gives it a serious business look, but not without giving the viewer the feeling that this pen is more than just a regular writing instrument. The red band in the middle breaks up the all-black colour scheme and gives it a nice contrasting touch.





-- Nib and Writing --

Here's where the disappointment sets in. Ferrari did a great job in the presentation and design of the body and packaging, but falls short in the most vital part of the pen - the nib. The nib is a simple sheet of metal with ten breather holes punched on top. The tip has a rounded ball of metal at least, but it is stiff and offers a dead writing experience. My Pole Position arrived with a slightly malformed nib. The tines were misaligned and the slit was exceedingly wide. Almost as if it was dropped... However, that may not be the fault of Ferrari (unless it is a quality control issue). (I know, I could've exchanged it, but I am interested at trying my hand in nib repair and adjustments, so I thought of this as a nice little challenge.) After a quick bit of touching up with some very fine needle nose pliers, the nib was straightened and the slit was closed to a more acceptable level. Writing was fairly smooth on regular white printer paper. I attribute the smoothness to the large ball of tipping on the nib and the wet lines the pen lays down (ink lubrication). I am not fond of medium nibs due to my small writing, so I'll likely regrind it to a fine or extra fine. As stated in the previous sentence, the pen lays down a very wet line. This is probably due to the tines having been spread far apart. I am in no way a skilled adjuster of nibs, so my quick fix may not have changed the situation by much. In addition, the nib was slightly off center out of the box, but also quickly corrected.







-- Filling --

The Pole Position uses standard international cartridges and comes with one cart already in the barrel, but not pushed onto the feed. The nib section unscrews smoothly from the rest of the body and looking inside, one can see the metal that makes up the barrel. I had a small issue with installation of the ink cart. The feed nipple crushed part of the lip on the cart and made it difficult to push into place. The nipple and cart are a tight fit, so I doubt leaks in that area will be an issue.



-- Final Thoughts --

Ferrari has put together a fine pen, but with one crippling fault - the nib. As fancy as the pen is with the bright shiny rhodium trim and carbon fibre, the poor nib really subtracts from the overall picture. Being one who is quite fond of Lamy pens due to their Bauhaus philosophy, the Pole Position is slightly the opposite - doesn't perform as great as it looks. I would have been more than willing to pay more to get a gold or plated gold nib (or just a better nib!) in place of the stainless one. I won't fault the retailer whom I purchased it from, as it may have been a quality control issue and I was the unlucky one. I would be very interested in saving this worthy pen and making it into a real writing machine that writes better than it looks. If anybody does know if nibs can be replaced or transplanted, please let me know. Other than that nib issue, I like the pen overall and think it is a pretty good deal for $60 if carbon fibre is your thing.


- jason


Jason's current rotation:
Lamy 2000 eyedropper
Parker '51' Vac
Sailor Pro Gear

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#2 Shelley

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Posted 11 July 2007 - 22:05

Hey cool pen in a strange kind of way, I really like the Carbon look but that nib is just plain nasty!!
Maybe you should sednthe pen to Richard Binder to see what he can do, would probably double the cost of the pen but it may come back super nice, by the way, what is the blue pen in your photo?
Lamy 2000-Lamy Vista-Visconti Van Gogh Maxi Tortoise Demonstrator-Pilot Vanishing Point Black Carbonesque-1947 Parker 51 Vacumatic Cedar Blue Double Jewel-Aurora Optima Black Chrome Cursive Italic-Waterman Hemisphere Metallic Blue-Sheaffer Targa-Conway Stewart CS475

#3 J-san

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Posted 12 July 2007 - 04:53

The blue pen is a Pilot Prera in slate grey.

Update:

Took apart the feed section and realigned the tines to close the slit more. Also ground the tip down to a fine point and smoothed it out. It writes a bit better and ink flow isn't so much that it bleeds thru the paper. After finding sites that sell just the nib itself, I am interested in possibly doing a transplant. It may be possible to buya nice fine nib and alter the feed just enough to get everything to fit nicely.
Jason's current rotation:
Lamy 2000 eyedropper
Parker '51' Vac
Sailor Pro Gear






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