This year, Ferrari celebrates its 70th anniversary. The brand’s headquarters in Maranello are buzzing as the finishing touches are made to the festivities and the Tifosi are eager for celebrations to kick off. From the 125S up to the most recent LaFerrari Aperta, Ferrari has been synonymous with prestige and considered a factory of dreams. Let’s decipher this automotive icon using its 7 letters.
F… Fast and Precious
From its very first models, Ferrari focussed on developing impressively efficient mechanics while subcontracting the design of the chassis and bodywork to experts in the field. These partnerships, in particular with Pininfarina, gave rise to exceptional cars. Whether with chubby kids, Premium sport’s car enthusiasts, celebrities or big bosses, Ferrari is one of the most-loved cars in the world. Collectors clubs have sprung up all over the planet and Ferraris are auctioned at record prices. In 2014, a 250 GTO was sold by Bonhams for a whopping $38M. When a Ferrari engine purrs, the Tifosis swoon.
E… Enzo Ferrari
Ferrari, is also about a man. Born in Modena at the end of the 19th century, at the same time as the world’s first cars, Enzo Ferrari learned all he knew on the job, first as a mechanic, then driver, sporting director and finally, manufacturer. The very first 125S was the fruit of his dreams. A unique character, Enzo Ferrari built the empire to which he gave his name. Behind his dark glasses, the mysterious man was respected and nicknamed Il Commendatore. A visionary, perfectionist and enthusiast, he encouraged his employees to dedicate themselves to and live for the marque, building a real community. Team spirit remains a key Ferrari value today.
Very few car manufacturers are associated with a specific colour and Ferrari is one of them. Up until the 1960s, Rosso Corsa was the colour donned by Italian racing cars during international competitions, in the same way the French teams flaunted blue, the British green and the Germans grey… A fierce, dynamic, passionate colour, red is perfectly suited to Ferrari’s Mediterranean temperament and has become the marque’s signature colour. Launched in 1984, Testa Rossa (red head), one of Enzo Ferrari’s last creations, remains one of the most mythical Ferrari models.
The “cavallino rampante” is another Ferrari icon. Apparently, use of this little prancing horse was suggested to Enzo Ferrari by the parents of Francesco Barraca, a pilot who died during the First World War and who had painted this horse on his aircraft. The black horse on a yellow background – the colour of Modena – overlooked by Italy’s national colours, was first used by the Scuderia, then the manufacturer. Ferrari could not have found a symbol that better represented its philosophy than this wild, feisty, spirited stallion. A promise of frenzied galloping on the roads.
To mark its 70th anniversary, Ferrari has promised that 2017 will be a “special and emotional” year. The Italian car manufacturer already took the Paris Motor Show by storm by unveiling a convertible version of LaFerrari. The fastest accelerating car in the world, there is a good chance it will take your breath away. But only a lucky few will have the chance to experience this opulent extravagance, sold at €1.8 M.
For everybody else, the good news is that you will not miss out completely; this year, Ferrari will set off on a world tour, bringing a few of these glorious models to 60 different countries. And something tells us that the Italian marque has a few other surprises up its sleeve.
Ferrari and Scuderia’s story are inextricably linked. It was by racing and for racing that the saga began. As early as 1947, driver Franco Cortese, behind the wheel of the 125S, won the first of a long series of victories during a race at the Thermes de Caracalla track. Holding all Formula 1 records, today, the Scuderia boasts 15 drivers’ world championships, 16 constructors’ world championships and more than 200 Grand Prix victories with drivers such as Ascari, Fangio, Lauda, Villeneuve and of course Michael Schumacher, nicknamed the Red Baron, who dominated for 5 consecutive years. This year, Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raïkkönen are defending the Ferrari colours and will strive to once again triumph for the Scuderia on the race track.
Ferrari has developed its own identity. An aerodynamic silhouette which sits low to the ground, round tail lights, the radiator grille, 12-cylinder engine with a unique purr and the central rev counter on the dashboard are the typical, founding elements of Ferrari style. But the brand is also committed to producing cutting-edge vehicles.
Embracing changes in the market, the company incorporated a V8 turbo engine into its California T, GT4 Lusso and even its 488 Spider, an unexpected innovation which was elected 2016 engine of the year by Engine Technology International magazine. Aerodynamics and powertrains, new materials, electronic controls, adaptations to procedures inspired by F1, a decreased carbon footprint with hybrid models… all of these fields of research have allowed Ferrari to stand the test of time and remain at the top.
That is why, after 70 years, the Maranello manufacturer continues to captivate us.
Portrait of a famous pilot: Jody Scheckter
Jody Scheckter, the enfant terrible of motor racing, marked Ferrari’s history
9 September 1979. South African driver Jody Scheckter made a name for himself on the Monza race track. On Italian soil, he offered Enzo Ferrari a world championship title, finishing ahead of his teammate Jacques Villeneuve after a closely fought season, full of ups and downs. As a young boy, Jody Scheckter made his own kart in his dad’s garage in East London. Aged 20, he left South Africa for England and decided to try his luck on the European circuits. Nothing could stop this daring driver who was quickly propelled into the world of Formula 1. Temperamental and fearless, he initially earned himself a reputation as a hothead after causing a huge pile-up at the 1973 British Grand Prix. Gradually, Scheckter secured solid victories. He notably stood out in his home country on the Kyalami track by winning the 1975 Grand Prix in front of a jubilant crowd.
This attracted the attention of maestro Enzo Ferrari and Scheckter joined the Scuderia in 1979. Behind the wheel of his T4, he immediately secured wins in Belgium, Monacco and Italy. With consistency and a carefully planned strategy, he earned enough points to take home the world championship. Scheckter retired the following year after taking part in 112 Grand Prix, with 10 victories and 33 podiums. Another 21 years would pass before Ferrari found a worthy replacement for this fiery driver, the legendary Michael Schumacher.
Article by Marie Tourres
Photos credits: all rights reserved.