Brief History of Ferrari Supercars

Enzo Ferrari Era

 Ferrari 166 MM Export
Ferrari 166 MM Export

Ferrari is among the most celebrated supercar manufacturers of all time. Owning a Ferrari supercar is just a dream for many of us, and the lucky few who could actually afford a one will tell you that driving around one is actually one of the best feelings in the world.

From the 250 GTO to the LaFerrari, Ferrari redefined the supercar format as we know already. With the raging bull, Lamborghini, being the only significant threat to its dominance, Ferrari has been the most widely known supercar of all time.

Ferrari Supercars was the brainchild of the Enzo Ferrari. Enzo Ferrari started his racing career behind the wheels of an Alfa Romeo and eventually became the team manager of the Alfa Romeo racing program.

Enzo Ferrari Alfa Romeo
Enzo Ferrari Alfa Romeo

He retired from racing after his wife gave birth to his first son, Alfredo. The reason for this was his promise to his wife that he would retire from racing after their first child is born.

Then he founded Scuderia Ferrari, the Modena-based racing team back in 1929.

He was also the chief of Alfa Romeo’s in-house racing team in 1938. This union was considered as a match made in heaven by many but lasted just one racing season due to the differences between Enzo Ferrari and Alfa Romeo Management. Despite this, his contract with Alfa Romeo barred him from producing cars under his own name. So, Scuderia Ferrari had to become Auto Avio Costruzioni within that time period.

Auto Avio Costruzioni produced two cars, under the 815-model name. Both cars featured 1.5-liter V8 engines. These engines were actually two Fiat inline-four engines mated together.

Auto Avio Costruzioni 815
Auto Avio Costruzioni 815

Auto Avio Costruzioni 815 cars were the fastest in class in the 1940 Mille Miglia, but neither finished the race due to mechanical failures.

Auto Avio Costruzioni 815 sketch
Auto Avio Costruzioni 815 sketch

Enzo Ferrari moved his Modena-based factory to the Maranello in 1943, due to the war, only for his factory to be bombed by the Americans a year later.

After the war, in 1946, it was rebuilt again. on September 16th of the same year, the first Ferrari engine roared to life. This V12 engine was designed by Gianchino Colombo, a student of Vittorio Jano at Alfa Romeo. Gianchino Colombo was also the one who had designed the supercharged Alfetta 158/159 racing engine.

This 1.5-liter V12 engine was a very successful racing engine and was used in road cars as well. This engine was known as the 125 because it had 125cc per cylinder.

It featured a single overhead camshaft per cylinder bank and twin spark plugs per cylinder. The maximum output was rated at 118bhp at 6800rpm. Back in 1947, this amount of power was extraordinary.

Though Enzo Ferrari used to build road-going versions of the Ferrari sports cars, he had respect for racing only and the road cars he produced were merely to fund Scuderia Ferrari in competition. But the new factory now had space for building road cars.

The Ferrari V12 and dedicated space for building road cars were significant milestones for the Ferrari.

This was just the beginning of the legend.

Ferrari 166 Spider Corsa

In 1947, the V12 engine was attached to a simple twin-tube chassis with leaf sprint suspension. This new creation was called the Ferrari Tipo 166 Spider Corsa. This was the first-ever Ferrari to be sold into private hands.

1947 Ferrari 166 Spyder Corsa
1947 Ferrari 166 Spyder Corsa

On 1st May 1947, Ferrari won its first victory in its second race at Piacenza, Rome. In 1949, a supercharged v12 equipped Tipo 166 won its first Grand Prix victory in Switzerland in the hands of Alberto Ascari.

In 1949, Ferrari also won the first Le Mans 24 Hours victory and followed eight more consecutive victories.

1947 Ferrari 166 Spyder Corsa
1947 Ferrari 166 Spyder Corsa

These victories were just the beginning of something rather special.

Almost every Ferrari since the late 1950s was styled by the Italian design house Pininfarina. The coachbuilder that Ferrari favored was the Scaglietti.

Soon, Ferrari generated a loyal customer base as well as a fan club despite the higher price tag. This was mainly due to the unique Ferrari styling, and thorough bread racing pedigree.

Ferrari Type 166 MM and Ferrari 166 Inter

Ferrari 250

Ferrari designed an all-new car called Type 250.

To power the new Ferrari 250, a new V12 engine was developed by Gianchino Colombo. This was a 3.0-liter V12 engine derived from the earlier 1.5-liter V12. It featured 250cc per cylinder head and due to this was known as the 250.

Ferrari 250 GTO Colombo V12
Ferrari 250 GTO Colombo V12

However, the first Type 250 used a tuned-down version of the 4.1-liter V12 derived from the Ferrari 342 America. Aurelio Lampredi was the one to design this state of art engine.

The 3.0-liter V12 250 engine was used to power the Ferrari 250 Export models and European spec models.

FERRARI 250 EUROPA

Ferrari 250 is considered the first serious road-legal Grand Tourer to be manufactured by the Ferrari. Ferrari 250 was also the only road-going car equipped with the small-bore Lampredi engine.

The success of the Ferrari 250 leads to the development of Berlinetta variants.

The Ferrari 250 Berlinetta was a turning point for Ferrari as it was capable of providing a comfortable Grand Tourer experience without compromising performance and speed. In comparison, the previous Ferraris were either pure racing-focused cars or more luxurious coupes developed for road use only.

Ferrari 250 GT Lusso Berlinetta
Ferrari 250 GT Lusso Berlinetta

Ferrari 250 Berlinetta went on to win the 1955 to 1959 Tour de France, proving its uncompromised racing performance.

This same 250 V12 engine was then used to power touring cars as well as the road-legal Ferraris such as the coupes, cabriolets, and the spiders.

The most powerful variant of the Ferrari 250 was the 250 GTO. It was designed by Giotto Bizzarrini, Ferrari’s primary engineer. Ferrari 250 GTO is also his last project.

Ferrari 250 Series

Ferrari 250 GTO was equipped with the same 250 V12 engine, but now it delivered 300bhp. This drivetrain is considered one of the most successful racing engines of all time. The sonorous symphony was also unique and enchanting.

Ferrari 250 GTO won a class win in its debut racing event, the 1962 Sebring 12 Hours event. It also won three consecutive World GT Championships.

FERRARI 250 GTO
FERRARI 250 GTO

Only 39 Ferrari 250 GTO cars were built and are one of the most sought after and valuable cars of all time. Getting an opportunity to drive a one is an experience like no other due to its exclusivity and its unique thorough bread racing pedigree.

Ferrari 275 GTB C 1966
Ferrari 275 GTB C 1966

Ferrari 275

Ferrari 275 was developed to replace the Ferrari 250 series. Ferrari 250 GTO was replaced with the Ferrari 275 GTB. Ferrari 275 GTB was also a road-going variant and proved its uncompromised performance with the 1965 Le Mans class victory and overall, third place behind two Ferrari 250LM prototypes. Ferrari 275 GTB is considered the last Berlinetta to be produced by Ferrari as an independent entity.

1966 Ferrari 275 GTB C
1966 Ferrari 275 GTB C

During the early 1960s, with six consecutive Le Mans victories, Ferrari was successful in racing than any other car manufacturer. But they were in a deep financial crisis due to the vast spending on development and research as well as the economic situation of the country.

There were rumors that Enzo Ferrari was considering selling the Ferrari company. When Henry Ford II heard this, after a discussion with his directors, he decided to offer a bid of $18 million for Ferrari. Enzo Ferrari accepted the bid and invited Henry Ford II and his directors to discuss the legal proceedings.

Henry Ford II and his team of lawyers went to Maranello to meet Enzo Ferrari, who turned to the discussion venue with his hometown lawyer. Everything was going well but when Ford refused to allow Enzo Ferrari to maintain full control of his racing team, as he always wanted, the discussion fell apart. Enzo Ferrari just walked away from the discussion with his lawyer without a single word.

Henry Ford II considered this as a personal insult, and this resulted in Ford’s development of the Ford GT40 and four consecutive Le Mans victories from 1966 to 1969.

Fiat, the automotive giant, took over the Ferrari in 1968 with a 50% stake. Fiat paid only $4 million for this controlling stake. The deal meant that the Fiat would maintain the production of road cars while Enzo Ferrari managed the Scuderia Ferrari. Enzo Ferrari remained at the managing director post until 1971.

Ferrari became better known for its dominance in Formula 1 and endurance racing. It was also famous for its successful road-legal performance cars.

Enzo Ferrari died in 1988, and Fiat increased its stake in operation up to 90% in the same year.

Ferrari 365 GTB/4

The first all-new car to be launched under the Fiat administration was the Ferrari 365 GTB/4. This was commonly known as the Ferrari Daytona. This was a reference to the 1967 Daytona victory with 1st, 2nd, and third places for the Ferrari. Daytona wins were important for Ferrari as the Daytona is one of the most famous American race circuits, Ferrari has humiliated Ford in its home country.

Ferrari Daytona 365 GTB 4
Ferrari Daytona 365 GTB 4

The Ferrari Daytona still maintained the traditional front-mounted engine layout, while all the other supercar manufacturers were embracing the mid-engine layout of the Lamborghini Miura. Deliveries began in 1969.

Autocar magazine tested it at the MIRA proving ground and achieved 150mph within the mile straight for the first time.

Despite the front-engine layout, Ferrari Daytona handled like a dream and became the world’s fastest production car with a 174mph top speed.

Luca di Montezemolo era

Luca ci Montezemolo joined Ferrari in 1973. He was Enzo Ferrari’s assistant and eventually took control of the Scuderia Ferrari after Enzo Ferrari stepped down from his role. This managerial change resulted in many changes.

About a year later, the Daytona was replaced with the mid-engine Berlinetta Boxer and in 1975.

Ferrari 308

The V6 equipped Dino cars were replaced with an all-new mid-engine V8-equipped 308 series.

The mid-engine Ferrari’s marked a new era for Ferrari and still, they are using the same layout due to the advantages it provided over the conventional front-engine layout.

Ferrari 308
Ferrari 308

Ferrari 308 GT4 was designed by Marcello Gandini at the Bertone design house. This was a brief stray from the Pininfarina dominance of Ferrari styling. Ferrari 308 GT4 featured the wedge design elements of the Bertone-designed wedge cars such as the Lancia Stratos and Lamborghini Countach.

In comparison, the Pininfarina-designed Ferrari 308 GTB was more aesthetically pleasing and captured the elegance of former Ferraris.

Ferrari 308 GTB
Ferrari 308 GTB

Ferrari enthusiasts preferred the elegant Ferrari 308 GTB over the radical Ferrari 308 GT4. This resulted in Bertone never getting another chance to work with Ferrari again.

Ferrari 308 GT4 with its 2+2 seating layout influenced Ferrari to develop the Ferrari Mondial in 1980.

1981 Ferrari Mondial
1981 Ferrari Mondial

Ferrari 308 GTB was much successful in sales terms and the production continued until 1988. It was replaced with the Ferrari 348.

Ferrari 348 was replaced with the F355 which led to the development of the Ferrari 360 Modena, the F430, the 458 Italia, and the 488 GTB.

Ferrari 308 and Ferrari 328

Ferrari F40

The last project to be approved by the great Enzo Ferrari himself was the Ferrari F40. He gave his permission to the project shortly before being passed away.

Ferrari F40 was Ferrari’s answer to the Porsche 959. It was a turbocharged V8-equipped supercar with an all-carbon-fiber body. This car also celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Ferrari.

Ferrari F40
Ferrari F40

Luca ci Montezemolo took over the full management of Ferrari after Enzo Ferrari’s death. He went on to develop the groundbreaking Ferrari Testarossa to replace the Boxer in 1984.

Despite the success of these modern cars, he always wanted to create another traditional v12 equipped GT car to pay homage to the Ferrari 250 series. This resulted in Ferrari 550 Maranello and the Ferrari 456 GT.

Ferrari F40

Ferrari FF

Ferrari developed the Ferrari FF and F12 Berlinetta with the same traditional front-wheel-drive layout to offer an uncompromised performance experience while maintaining luxurious and ride comfort to make it suitable for a day-to-day basis.

Ferrari FF
Ferrari FF

Ferrari FF also featured a four-wheel drive for the first time in a Ferrari and its shooting brake design and the 2 +2 seat layout meant that it was more practical and easier to live with for the average golf enthusiast.

Scuderia Ferrari F1 team

Scuderia Ferrari is the only team to compete in the Formula 1 World Championship continuously since 1950, the very year the Formula F1 World Championship was born.

Scuderia Ferrari F1 team signed Michael Schumacher and Ross Brawn as their new technical director in 1996. This resulted in many major victories and five consecutive World Championships from 2000 to 2004. These five years also saw Michael Schumacher winning more races and championships than any other driver in the history of the sport, a record passed by Lewis Hamilton in 2020.

At the end of the 2015 racing season, Scuderia Ferrari had 15 World Driver’s Championships under its belt. Legendary Italian driver, Alberto Ascari won the first-ever Driver’s Championship for Ferrari in 1952.

From 1961 to 2008, sixteen World Constructor’s Championships were also won.

A total of 224 F1 Grand Prix victories were also scored. The first-ever victory for Ferrari was in the 1951 British GP Tournament, in the hands of Jose Frolian Gonzalez.

208 pole positions and 233 fastest laps were also recorded by the Ferrari racing team.

Legendary drivers like Alberto Ascari, Alain Prost, Michael Schumacher, Kimi Raikkonen, and Sebastian Vettel had their time with Ferrari.

Alain Prost - Ferrari 641 Chassis 117
Alain Prost – Ferrari 641 Chassis 117

Scuderia Ferrari employs hundreds of mathematicians, engineers, and scientists to develop new groundbreaking aerodynamic and performance tweaks to gain a competitive edge over the other teams. All these new developments and new technologies were then adapted to improve the performance, handling, active aerodynamics, formula one style class-leading transmission units, and overall aerodynamics of their production road cars.

This is why Ferrari was capable of making thorough bread supercars with excellent handling and performance without compromising everyday practicality. Only McLaren could come closer to what Ferrari does.

After the departure of Luca ci Montezemolo, Sergio Marchionne came to power. In 2016, Sergio Marchionne announced that the Ferrari company would be separated from its parent company, Fiat Chrysler. In the same year, it started to float on the stock market on its own.

The modern-day Ferrari 488 GTB and hypercars like the Ferrari FFX represent the embodiment of the technological marvels and mechanical wonders achieved by the Ferrari. Ferrari has come a long way since the original Ferrari Tipo 166 Spider Corsa, but it still has that same passion and soul. Enzo Ferrari passed away decades ago, but his soul lives on in every Ferrari to leave the factory.

Enzo Ferrari
Enzo Ferrari
 
 
 
 
 

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