Imagine what the world would be like today if Enzo Ferrari had never been born. Scores of garages in Beverly Hills, Palm Beach, East Hampton, Monte Carlo, and Gstaad would sit empty. Grand Prix starting grids often would be missing the two front cars. People would mention the sound "banshee wail" only when talking about banshees. Bragging to your buddies that "one day I'm going to own a Ferrari" would make them ask, "What's that? A cat?" Italian race fans would crowd cafs on Sunday afternoons only to share their angst at the demise of the Minardi F1 team.
But in 1898 Enzo Ferrari was born. And by 1947 the former mechanic turned race driver turned race manager had begun producing the cars that in the coming decades would win more world championships than any other team, would hoist skyward the bar for automotive performance and pulchritude, would whisk movie stars and other beautiful people to the most glamorous locales on earth, would spark multi-million-dollar bidding frenzies at packed auction houses, would steal the photo spreads in auto-enthusiast magazines, would spawn enough horse-adorned products to fill a Ralph Lauren store, and would arouse like no other marque the most galvanic noun in the automotive lexicon: lust.
Step back with us, then, through some of the lesser-known highlights from 60 years of the Cavallino Rampante. If the coming decades are anything like these, we can't wait to ride through six more.
Today, Ferrari's prancing-horse logo is more than symbolic-it's worth cubic bucks. According to Ferrari's 2006 annual report, the company's net income increased 16.6 percent over 2005-to roughly $240 million (a profit of about $42,000 on each of the 5671 Ferraris sold). And, yes, Ferrari is cashing in big on that famous black horse: Profits on licensing deals, including cologne, apparel, Acer laptops, and the 13 Ferrari Stores now open across the globe-climbed 23 percent last year.
Before Movie Stars Start Buying His Cars, Enzo Ferrari...
Sees his first race in 1908-at age 10-and vows to become a race driver. By age 13, he can drive.Wants to become an opera singer (alas, he's no Pavarotti-not even a Michael Bolton).Wants to become a sporting journalist (later, in 1924, he cofounds the Bologna sporting paper Corriere dello Sport).Abandons his education after the death of his father (who ran a metal shop) and works as an instructor in the Modena Fire Brigade's garage.Shoes mules for the military during World War I.Finds work after the war test-driving cars modified from Lancia light trucks (a position that introduces him to many famed race drivers of the day).Makes his racing debut in a 1918 hillclimb-finishes fourth in the 3.0-liter class.Joins Alfa Romeo as a works driver in 1920.In 1929, establishes Scuderia Ferrari (to assist amateur race drivers); by 1933, his division manages all of Alfa Romeo racing.Drives his last race in 1931 (finishes second), just months prior to the birth of his son, Alfredo (nicknamed "Dino").Works in Rome for the National Aviation Company during World War II.After the war, begins work on his own car-powered by a 12-cylinder engine-for racing and road use.Drives the very first Ferrari, the 125S, out of his new factory on March 2, 1947.
Prior to launching the company bearing his name, Enzo Ferrari runs Alfa Romeo's racing team under the banner of Scuderia Ferrari. A condition of his departure is that he can't build cars bearing his own name for four years. So he forms Auto Avio Costruzioni (AAC). Its first product is the 815, powered by a 1.5-liter straight-eight. Just two are built, prior to the onset of WWII. The first car officially named a Ferrari comes along in 1947.
It's the most revered emblem in the auto kingdom. And it comes from a plane. In World War I, Italy's top fighter ace (with 34 kills) is Francesco Baracca-who flies with a prancing black horse (his family's coat of arms) emblazoned on his biplane. After the war (in which Baracca perishes), in 1923, Enzo Ferrari scores a runaway victory racing an Alfa Romeo in the Circuito del Savio at Ravenna. In the wildly supportive crowd are Baracca's parents, who invite the young racer from Modena to their home-where Count and Countess Baracca present Ferrari with the prancing-horse symbol for good luck. Ferrari changes the white background to yellow (official color of Modena), and an icon is born.
The Man, Engines, and Cars Named Dino
Enzo and Laura Ferrari are married a dozen years before the birth of their first child. The father hopes for a son and is given Alfredo Ferrari on January 19, 1932. The boy is nicknamed with the affectionate diminutive-Alfredino-that soon becomes Dino. He loves cars from the beginning and shows considerable interest and aptitude. Dino is never a healthy young man and is diagnosed with muscular dystrophy before he turns 20. Still, he maintains a friendly and positive demeanor and designs a 1.5-liter racing engine for his university thesis.
1973 Ferrari 246 GTS Dino...
1973 Ferrari 246 GTS Dino
His already weak immune system doesn't help prevent a viral attack on his kidneys, and after a prolonged illness, Alfredo "Dino" Ferrari passes away on June 30, 1956, a few months shy of his 24th birthday. Enzo Ferrari is devastated, and those who know him say he never fully recovers from this loss. As he lies ill, Dino has many discussions with engineer Vittorio Jano, contributing certain ideas to the 2.0-liter V-6 racing engine that's ultimately named for the young Ferrari. In the 1960s, sports racers running this powerplant also are named Dino. Enzo Ferrari goes so far as to name an entire lineup of V-6- and V-8-powered cars as Dinos, the most popular of them the curvaceous 246 Dino coupe and Spyder.
After Dino's death, Enzo Ferrari never again leaves his hometown area. But Dino isn't Ferrari's only son. Since 1945, Ferrari has kept secret the existence of illegitimate son Piero, born of his affair with longtime mistress Lina Lardi. While speculation surfaces after Piero gets a job in the Ferrari racing department, it's not until the death of his wife, Laura, in 1978 that Enzo Ferrari officially acknowledges Piero Lardi Ferrari. Prior to his own death, Enzo confers 10 percent of his company shares to Piero; the remaining shares are controlled by Fiat. Today, the genial Piero Ferrari (he's dropped "Lardi" from his name) is vice president of Ferrari SpA and retains his 10 percent stock. He lives with his family in the same tall house in Modena once occupied by his father and Laura Ferrari.
Ferraris have appeared in films and TV shows long before the notion of organized product placement. While everyone has his favorites (we can hear you reaching for your pen or keyboard now to dispute our list), here are some of the Prancing Horse's more memorable on-screen involvements.
"The Gumball Rally" (1972) 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spyder
"The Pink Panther" (1963) 250 GT Pininfarina Cabriolet
"Grand Prix" (1966) Genuine (and fake) F1 cars
"Le Mans" (1971) 512/512S endurance racers
"Scent of a Woman" (1992) Mondial t Cabriolet
"The Rock" (1996) F355 Spider
"Ferris Bueller's Day Off" (1986) 250 California Spyder knock-off
"Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle" (2003) Enzo
"The Thomas Crown Affair" (1968) 275 NART Spyder
"Magnum PI" (TV series, 1980-88) Ferrari 308 GTSi
Ferrari and Aldar Properties are hard at work on their $600 million Ferrari World theme park in Abu Dhabi, a Persian Gulf emirate boasting eight percent of the world's oil reserves (Aldar's owners include Abu Dhabi's ruling al-Nahyan family-which also owns five percent of Ferrari SpA). Among the park's attractions (besides plenty of gas for your 599GTB): a side-by-side "racing" roller coaster, an interactive museum, a 230-foot tower ride that simulates racing g forces, go-karts, a racetrack, and-rest assured-a large gift shop.
You Talkin' to Me? Stai parlando a ME?
Travis "Taxi Driver" Bickle himself, actor Robert De Niro, nearly trades his blood-stained cab for a blood-red sports car when, in 1993, he signs on to star in the bio-pic "Ferrari." Though budgeted at $65 million and apparently boasting Michael Mann ("Heat," "Miami Vice") as director, the movie never turns a wheel.
Eddie Griffin and the crash-damaged...
Eddie Griffin and the crash-damaged Enzo
March 27, 2007: Publicity stunt goes horribly wrong-or possibly very right-as actor/comedian Eddie Griffin trashes a $1.5 million Enzo while practicing for a charity race to promote the movie "Redline." Explains Griffin succinctly: "The brother can't drive." In the ensuing three months, a video clip of Griffin's wreck racks up 1,622,132 views on YouTube.
Peter Sellers: Ferrari 275...
Peter Sellers: Ferrari 275 GT/B
Apparently, Enzo Ferrari isn't as nice to work for as, say, Donald Trump. In late 1961, for questionable reasons, he turns to sales manager Gerolama Gardini and says, "You're fired." A large number of senior staffers, including chief engineer Carlo Chiti and his right-hand man Giotto Bizzarrini, protest the decision. Ferrari fires all of them, too. After the so-called "Palace Revolt," filthy-rich racing enthusiast Count Giovanni Volpi snatches up the former Ferrari bigwigs and sets out to build his own road and F1 cars, under the name ATS. Again, egos clash. Though the new enterprise does eventually produce a pair of F1 cars and a handful of GTs, the team dissolves in 1963.
Ferrari Blue? It Could've Happened
Henry Ford II and Lee Iacocca decide Ferrari would be the right jewel to sit atop the Ford crown. Enzo Ferrari is always looking for more money to run his racing operations. In early 1963, Lee and the Deuce begin making overtures to the Old Man about buying Ferrari, sending several Ford execs to do their bidding. The talks go well initially, and the idea that stems from them is two companies. Ford/Ferrari will build and sell top-rank sports and GT cars; this entity is controlled by Ford. Ferrari/Ford is the racing operation, of course, managed by Enzo himself. There's a study of assets, preliminary agreements are drawn, and logos are discussed. Suddenly, the deal goes sour, speculation being that Mr. Ferrari just isn't into the idea of others meddling in his race team. The two companies also are allegedly as much as $5 million apart in the price talks. They part company after several months of negotiations. That June, Ford V.P. Donald Frey, a major player in the Ferrari/Ford talks, goes to England to lay the groundwork for what will become the Ford GT40. And the rest-four consecutive wins at Le Mans, five victories in the Indy 500 during the 1960s, and the birth of the Cosworth Ford F1 engine-is history.
Clint Eastwood and his 365...
Clint Eastwood and his 365 GTB/4 BB
Not everything Ferrari touches turns to blazing scarlet. In 1955, for instance, engineer Aurelio Lampredi-working with Enzo and son Dino-creates an experimental inline-two-cylinder F1 engine (the theory being that two large cylinders would provide enormous torque for tight circuits like Monaco). The resulting 2.5-liter Type 116 prototype shakes so hard it very publicly breaks the bench it's being tested on. Ferrari drops the project, gets irritated at Lampredi. For the 1956 Grand Prix at Rheims, the Ferrari team arrives with an unusual car sporting "streamliner" bodywork (basically, a fairing ahead of the front tires and enclosed rears). The car runs poorly in practice-and looks funny. For the race, Ferrari ditches the fairings in favor of conventional open-wheel bodywork. Enzo gets irritated again.
Enzo Ferrari, Niki Lauda,...
Enzo Ferrari, Niki Lauda, Luca Di Montezemolo
Signore Luca has been there, done that. Prior to his current stint as leader of the Ferrari World, a younger Luca Cordero di Montezemolo is handpicked by Enzo to lead his F1 team. His efforts are rewarded when Niki Lauda brings home the Formula 1 crown for Ferrari in 1975 and 1977. A decade and a half later, LDM returns to Ferrari and, along with Jean Todt, Ross Brawn, a young German piloto named Michael, and a revitalized Scuderia Ferrari F1 team, conspires to win the championship five more times. In a row.
While it would be unimaginable to think of any Ferrari as undesirable, there are a few that are lesser strokes of genius.
Poorly sorted rear suspension, quality problems, so-so design. Di Montezemolo and Felisa rework it into the F355, proving you can, on occasion, make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
Slow; 2+2 styling not to everyone's taste. Did we mention slow? The original Mondial 8 has just 205 horsepower. Later versions get faster, but any are tough to resell.
330 GTB 2+2 Series I
The purists still bag on its quad-headlight styling, but it's a good driver from the mid-1960s V-12 era.
Few like its square-rigged, Bertone coachwork at the time, although it's nicely built, affordable, and some feel they drive better than the sexier, Pininfarina-designed 308 GTB/GTS.
Big, heavy, and as expensive to maintain as any quad-cammed Ferrari V-12 model, but worth a lot less in the end. Those with GM three-speed automatics are the least desirable among them.
Ever the master of creating an image (the sunglasses, the famous reclusiveness), Ferrari writes everything-from checks to contracts to letters to his mistresses-using purple ink in his fountain pen.
Nearly a quarter-century back, the trendy cop drama "Miami Vice" first hits the airwaves. Drug-lord pretenders Crockett and Tubbs wheel around South Beach in a black Ferrari Daytona Spyder. Except it's actually a 1980 Corvette in Ferrari costume. Stung by the dubious publicity, for season three Ferrari provides two black (real) 1986 Testarossas. Director Michael Mann paints them white (so they look cooler at night), blows up Crockett's "Corrari" with a Stinger missile, and sends the boys back onto the streets in style (they retain a fake, a Pantera dressed like a Testarossa, for stunt work). The "Vice" cars do so much to boost sales that, as a thank you, Ferrari gives actor Don "Crockett" Johnson a silver 1989 Testarossa to keep. Four years later, he sells it.
Horses, Tigers, and Bricks
Ferrari has proved the dominant winner at the USGP, held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway from 2000 to 2007. No driver has won more races at the Brickyard than Michael Schumacher. But Ferrari's performance in the Indianapolis 500 has been much less stellar, to say the least. Four cars are entered for the 1952 race; three don't even make the show, and the fourth, driven by legendary Ferrari ace Alberto Ascari, DNFs. Another effort in 1954 results in a DNQ. Ferrari won't be deterred and decides to try his engine in an American-built roadster chassis. This Kurtis is shipped to Italy just weeks before the race and fitted with a 4.4-liter inline-six. It returns in time for the last day of qualifying-which is rained out. Ferrari takes one last stab at contesting the 500 for 1987, when a turbocharged V-8 is developed and fitted to a modified March chassis. The car is tested, but doesn't compete, as the company's attention and budget are once again focused on F1. Enzo Ferrari's dream of winning the Indy 500 dies with him.
My Kind of Town: Ferraris named for places
250 California Spyder SWB...
250 California Spyder SWB
America (and Superamerica)
Tour de France
Italian film director Roberto Rossellini is a longtime Ferrari customer. One of his cars, a gift to Ingrid Bergman (although she later admits she didn't much like driving it) is this custom Pinin Farina-bodied Ferrari 375 MM Berlinetta, which she's seen inspecting at the auto show in 1954. Mr. Ferrari enjoys dinner with this most glamorous couple, 1950. Even today, there's a special silver paint color in the Ferrari palette named Grigio Ingrid.
He's handsome. He's icy cool. And he may have the world's greatest job. Dario Benuzzi has been Ferrari's primary new-vehicle development driver for 35 years. It's doubtful anyone has more laps around Ferrari's storied test track, Pista di Fiorano. He's shown everyone from Gilles Villeneuve to Michael Schumacher the fast way around Fiorano and, back in the day, was quick enough to have made the Ferrari F1 squad himself. Benuzzi's car control allows him to drive the course nipping every apex perfectly or do so in full drift mode while talking on the cell-phone, rear tires and cigarette ablaze. A master who still gets it done, and the guy we'd all like to be.
Yeoh! You in the Red Jacket
Jean Todt, Michelle Yeoh,...
Jean Todt, Michelle Yeoh, and their Ferrari 612 Scagletti
Ah, the spoils of being Ferrari CEO and executive director of the company's F1 team. Jean Todt and his girlfriend, former Miss Malaysia and Bond Girl Michelle Yeoh (rumored to be Todt's fiance), relax with taglietti and Scaglietti at their baronial mansion in Maranello, Italy.
On Your Mark, Jet Set, Go
November 22, 1981: Driving his Ferrari 126CK Formula 1 car, Gilles Villeneuve lines up against an Italian Air Force F-104 Starfighter jet for a 1000-meter drag race. He wins. To commemorate the event, in 1989 the IAF donates an F-104-painted red-to Ferrari; it now sits inside the Fiorano test track. Twenty-two years after Villeneuve, Michael Schumacher attempts a similar feat, pitting his F1 Ferrari against an Italian Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon. He loses.
Enzo Ferrari is born in this simple house, located at 85 Via Paolo Ferrari. His father's shop is located on the property as well, which sits just a few miles from where Enzo's original Scuderia Ferrari race shop will ultimately be established. The home, largely in its original condition, is now owned by the city of Modena, with plans to restore it into a Ferrari museum and library.
You can talk about elegantly styled coachwork until the (prancing) horses come home, but any great car is all about the motor. Ferraris are no different, so much so that there have been several other cars powered by Ferrari engines through the years, plus too many strange engine swaps to count. Here are a few.
Fiat Dino Coupe and Spyder
Lancia Thema 8.32
Pontiac "Pegasus" concept carASA 1000GT coupe and spider
Bill Harrah's "Jerrari" (two built)
Numerous hot rods, mostly 1932 Fords
He writes two books: "Piloti Che Gente..." and "My Terrible Joys." Both are out of print, but available in English language versions with a bit of searching. They're must-reads for the serious tifosi and provide great insight into the monumental highs and grave lows of Enzo Ferrari's complicated life.
Nice, But Where's the Marching Band?
June 9, 2007: 385 Ferraris (among them a 250GTO, a pack of F40s, and the hyper-rare FXX) circle England's Silverstone race circuit en masse in a $120 million orgy of horsepower and excellent suntans-in the process setting a Guinness World Record for "Largest Parade of Ferrari Cars." Curious that, to lead the field, the organizers choose Bruno Senna, nephew of the late three-time world champ Ayrton Senna, and not Eddie Griffin.
The seminal Daytona really isn't. Technically, it's the 365 GTB/4 in coupe form, GTS/4 as a convertible. It comes to market not long after Ferrari sweeps the 24-hour endurance race at Daytona in 1967. So insiders begin calling it the Daytona to commemorate the win. The moniker sticks, and even Ferrari recognizes it as the model's semi-proper name.
Ferrari Formula 1 Stats:
They All Add Up to 1 (1950 through 2007 British Grand Prix)
Team starts: 750 (rank: 1)
Wins: 197 (rank: 1)
Poles: 191 (rank: 1)
Podiums: 433 (rank: 1)
Fastest laps: 198 (rank: 1)
Constructor championships: 14 (rank: 1)
Driver championships: 14 (rank: 1)
Ferrari Walks on Water--Sort of
Cars aren't the only craft to benefit from the scream of Ferrari engines. In 1953, on Italy's Lake Iseo, a twin-supercharged Ferrari V-12 powers Achille Castoldi's racing boat to a world record of 241.708 kph. On June 19 of this year, on Italy's Lake Como, 71-year-old Eugenio Molinari pushes his GranTurismo race boat-powered by a 490-horse, 4.3-liter V-8 from the Ferrari F430-to two class world records over the flying kilometer: 123.288 average kph (with driver and fuel) and 122.035 average kph (with ballast).