December is always a time for reminiscing. 2020 has been such a tough year that it’s almost hard to remember what normal life was like. You know when you could actually go out and do things or even participate and cover events?
Well, in the most optimistic and positive way possible, I’d like to bring you back to one particular shoot that I was on the set of that netted some of the most memorable shots I’ve ever taken. And that’s before we even consider the car at the center of it all.
It was 2016 when Takeshi Kimura of Car Guy decided he would take his Ferrari F40 on the snow-covered slopes of Nagano, you know, just because. The crazy idea spawned one of the most epic viral car videos to come out of Japan, a Red Bull production put together through a collaboration between Luke Huxham and his team, and the guys from Abandon Visuals in the USA.
Kimura-san had become internet-famous the previous summer when he took his F40 camping along a river. Naturally, he wanted to keep it going, and I believe this is why the idea to strap rally lights onto Enzo Ferrari’s final masterpiece came to be.
Traction on the ski slopes was going to be tough, but Kimura-san’s team prepped the Ferrari with custom studded snow tires, which of course didn’t work that well. They did find more grip with 335-section snow chains.
Seeing an F40 dressed up in such a way, with suitcases strapped to the roof no less, was… well let’s just say I haven’t seen anything quite so in the almost five years since. The chance to get up close and personal to what I have always regarded as my favorite car of all time, was special enough, but to see Kimura-san slide it all over the place was an absolute treat.
In case you forgot, above is the video that came from the crazy few days in Nagano.
Here’s the man himself, using the back of his F40 as a place to rest in between film takes.
The visuals that we were presented every day were nothing short of stunning; it was a creator’s dream to be working alongside a production team like this.
The twin-turbo 2.7L V8 doubled up as an expensive on-site heater, the video crew forced to keep their drone batteries warm and away from the freezing ambient temps. Short battery life of course means reduced flight time and extra stress for nailing the shot.
If I needed another reason for this shoot to remain so vivid in my memory, it was the fact that my wife gave birth to our twins just days before we all had to drive off to Nagano.
The craziest part of the shoot was pulling the F40 with a snowcat all the way from the hotel we were staying…
… to the very top of the mountain.
That’s where the final scene of the film was captured, and where one sequence included a shot of Kimura-san blasting downhill at 120km/h. To this day I still have no idea how he even managed to slow down and stop!
The F40 ended up taking quite a beating; the gearbox lost second gear and needed to be rebuilt, and body damage was aplenty thanks to the chains snapping off and inflicting deep scars on the carbon-Kevlar cowls. There was talk of US$100K worth of damage, but Kimura didn’t seem too fazed. He had helped create one of the craziest car films ever made, and given me the chance to shoot images that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
Dino Dalle Carbonare