Music Monday: Sammy Hagar ‘Can’t Drive 55’ in His Ferrari
Starring his 1983 Ferrari BB 512i, the Red Rocker plays the law for fools in his most famous solo song.
Welcome to Team Speed Music Monday, where we feature music videos from our jukebox where the cars steal the spotlight from the stars.
Back before he became the second frontman of Van Halen, Sammy Hagar was a solo artist who first gained notice as the frontman for another band, Montrose. After a rough time on the charts in the mid to late Seventies, Hagar found his footing in the early Eighties with songs like “Three Lock Box,” “There’s Only One Way to Rock,” and this week’s selection, “I Can’t Drive 55.”
“I was in a rent-a-car that wouldn’t go much faster than 55 miles an hour,” wrote Hagar in 1994 of his big hit from the 1984 album VOA. “I was traveling for 24 hours… driving from Albany, New York at 2 in the morning, burnt from all the travel. Cop stopped me for doing 62 on a four lane road when there was no one else in sight. Then the guy gave me a ticket. I was doing 62. And he said, ‘We give tickets around here for over-60.’ and I said, ‘I can’t drive 55.'”
Thus was born one of the greatest road anthems of all time. And when you have a song like that, you need a car like Hagar’s own 1983 Ferrari BB 512i, tuned in the video by his own mechanic, Claudio Zampolli. The BB is one of a couple Ferraris Hagar owns, the other a white LaFerrari. Both cars hang out in his garage with everything from a second-gen Ford GT to an Aston Martin Vanquish.
“When I drive that slow, you know it’s hard to steer / And I can’t get get my care out of second gear / What used to take two hours now takes all day / Huh! It took me 16 hours to get to L.A.,” laments Hagar in the final verse of the song, written at a time when 55 mph was the national speed limit. Thankfully, Hagar can let it all hang out at a much higher rate of speed these days, with California ranging from 55 to 70 mph on its roads. At least, until California SB 319 is passed, opening up a couple of highways to unlimited speeds.
“I love cars so much, every good looking car that I see I go, ’Man, I should get one of those,’ but I’m out of room,” Hagar told Mercury Insurance in 2016. “My garage at my house is full, there’s two cars sitting outside, I’ve got cars in my other homes. I’m really still a car junkie.”
And if you’d like to see a ton of good-looking cars, like Hagar’s black Ferrari, the Red Rocker is throwing a beach party and car show in Southern California in late September you should probably check out.