Maranello, Italy 1929
Ferrari is an Italian luxury sports car manufacturer based in Maranello. Founded by Enzo Ferrari in 1929, as Scuderia Ferrari, the company sponsored drivers and manufactured race cars before moving into production of street-legal vehicles as Ferrari S.p.A. in 1947. Fiat acquired 50% of Ferrari in 1969 and expanded its stake to 85% in 2008. Fiat currently owns 90% of Ferrari. Throughout its history, the company has been noted for its continued participation in racing, especially in Formula One, where it has had great success. Ferrari road cars are generally seen as a symbol of speed, luxury and wealth.
Enzo Ferrari was not initially interested in the idea of producing road cars when he formed Scuderia Ferrari (literally "Ferrari Stable", and usually used to mean "Team Ferrari", it is correctly pronounced [skudeˈriːa]) in 1928 as a sponsor for amateur drivers headquartered in Modena. Ferrari prepared, and successfully raced, various drivers in Alfa Romeo cars until 1938, when he was hired by Alfa Romeo to head their motor racing department.
In 1941, Alfa Romeo was confiscated by the fascist government of Benito Mussolini as part of the Axis Powers' war effort. Enzo Ferrari's division was small enough to be unaffected by this. Because he was prohibited by contract from racing for four years, the Scuderia briefly became Auto Avio Costruzioni Ferrari, which ostensibly produced machine tools and aircraft accessories. Also known as SEFAC (Scuderia Enzo Ferrari Auto Corse), Ferrari did in fact produce one race car, the Tipo 815, in the non-competition period. It was the first actual Ferrari car (it debuted at the 1940 Mille Miglia), but due to World War II it saw little competition. In 1943 the Ferrari factory moved to Maranello, where it has remained ever since. The factory was bombed by the Allies in 1944 and rebuilt in 1946, after the war ended, and included a works for road car production.
Early in 1969, Fiat took a 50% stake in Ferrari. An immediate result was an increase in available investment funds, and work started at once on a factory extension intended to transfer production from Fiat's Turin plant of the Ferrari engined Fiat Dino. New model investment further up in the Ferrari range also received a boost.
In 1988, Enzo Ferrari oversaw the launch of the Ferrari F40, the last new Ferrari to be launched before his death later that year, and arguably one of the most famous supercars ever made. From 2002 to 2004, Ferrari produced the Enzo, their fastest model at the time, which was introduced and named in honor of the company's founder, Enzo Ferrari. It was to be called the F60, continuing on from the F40 and F50, but Ferrari was so pleased with it, they called it the Enzo instead. It was initially offered to loyal and reoccurring customers, each of the 399 made (minus the 400th which was donated to the Vatican for charity) had a price tag of $650,000 apiece.
Since the company's beginnings, Ferrari has been involved in motorsport, competing in a range of categories including Formula One and sports car racing through its Scuderia Ferrari sporting division as well as supplying cars and engines to other teams and for one make series.
Scuderia Ferrari has participated in several classes of motorsport, though it is currently only officially involved in Formula One. It is the only team to have competed in the Formula One World Championship continuously since its inception in 1950. José Froilán González gave the team its first F1 victory at the 1951 British Grand Prix.
Alberto Ascari gave Ferrari its first Drivers Championship a year later. Ferrari is the oldest team in the championship, and the most successful: the team holds nearly every Formula One record. As of 2008[update], the team's records include 15 World Drivers Championship titles (1952, 1953, 1956, 1958, 1961, 1964, 1975, 1977, 1979, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2007) 16 World Constructors Championship titles (1961, 1964, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1982, 1983, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007 and 2008), 209 Grand Prix victories, 4925.27 points, 622 podium finishes, 203 pole positions, and 218 fastest laps in 776 Grands Prix contested. Of the 19 tracks used in 2014, 8 have lap records set by the Ferrari F2004, with a further 3 set by the Ferrari F2003-GA, Ferrari F2008 and Ferrari F10.
In addition to Formula One, Ferrari also entered cars in sportscar racing, the two programs existing in parallel for many years.
In 1949, Luigi Chinetti drove a 166 M to Ferrari's first win in motorsports, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Ferrari went on to dominate the early years of the World Sportscar Championship which was created in 1953, winning the title seven out of its first nine years.
When the championship format changed in 1962, Ferrari earned titles in at least one class each year through to 1965 and then again in 1967. Ferrari would win one final title, the 1972 World Championship of Makes before Enzo decided to leave sports car racing after 1973 and allow Scuderia Ferrari to concentrate solely on Formula One.
During Ferrari's seasons of the World Sportscars Championship, they also gained more wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with the factory team earning their first in 1954. Another win would come in 1958, followed by five consecutive wins from 1960 to 1964. Luigi Chinetti's North American Racing Team (NART) would take Ferrari's final victory at Le Mans in 1965.
Although Scuderia Ferrari no longer participated in sports cars after 1973, they have occasionally built various successful sports cars for privateers. These include the BB 512 LM in the 1970s, the 333 SP which won the IMSA GT Championship in the 1990s, and currently the F430 GT2 and GT3 which are currently winning championships in their respective classes.
Concept cars and specials
Ferrari has produced a number of concept cars, such as the Ferrari Mythos. While some of these were quite radical (such as the Ferrari Modulo) and never intended for production, others such as the Ferrari Mythos have shown styling elements which were later incorporated into production models.
The Special Projects program is a collaboration by Ferrari with Italian automobile coachbuilders such as Fioravanti, Pininfarina, and Zagato to build custom cars using selected Ferrari models as a structural base. The first car under this program is the SP1, commissioned by a Japanese business executive. The second is the P540 Superfast Aperta, commissioned by an American enthusiast.
Until the early 1980s, Ferrari followed a three-number naming scheme based on engine displacement:
- V6 and V8 models used the total displacement (in decilitres) for the first two digits and the number of cylinders as the third. Thus, the 206 was a 2.0 L V6 powered vehicle, while the 348 used a 3.4 L V8, although, for the F355, the last digit refers to 5 valves per cylinder. Upon introduction of the 360 Modena, the digits for V8 models (which now carried a name as well as a number) refer only to total engine displacement. The numerical indication aspect of this name carried on to the F430, however the F430's replacement, the 458 Italia uses the same naming as the 206 and 348.
- V12 models used the displacement (in cubic centimetres) of one cylinder. Therefore, the famed 365 Daytona had a 4390 cc V12. However, some newer V12-engined Ferraris, such as the 599, have three-number designations that refer only to total engine displacement.
- Flat 12 (boxer) models used the displacement in litres. Therefore, the BB 512 was five litre flat 12 (a Berlinetta Boxer, in this case). However, the original Berlinetta Boxer was the 365 GT4 BB, which was named in a similar manner to the V12 models.
- Halo Car F followed by the anniversary in years, such as the F40 and F50. The Enzo skipped this rule, although the F60 name was applied to a Ferrari Formula One car and is sometimes attached to the Enzo.
- Some models, such as the 1980 Mondial and the 1984 Testarossa did not follow a three-number naming scheme.
Most Ferraris were also given designations referring to their body style. In general, the following conventions were used:
- M ("Modificata"), placed at the end of a model's number, denotes a modified version of its predecessor and not a complete evolution (see F512 M and 575 M Maranello).
- GTB ("Gran Turismo Berlinetta") models are closed Berlinettas, or coupes.
- GTS ("Gran Turismo Spyder") in older models, are open Spyders (spelt "y"), or convertibles (see 365 GTS/4); however, in more recent models, this suffix is used for targa top models (see Dino 246 GTS, and F355 GTS; the exception being the 348 TS, which is the only targa named differently). The convertible models now use the suffix "Spider" (spelt "i") (see F355 Spider, and 360 Spider).
- GTO ("Gran Turismo Omologata"), placed at the end of a model's number, denotes a modified version of its predecessor. Indeed, those three letters designate a model which has been designed and improved for racetrack use while still being a street-legal model. Only three models bear those three letters; the 250 GTO of 1962, the 288 GTO of 1984 and the 599 GTO of 2010.
This naming system can be confusing, as some entirely different vehicles used the same engine type and body style. Many Ferraris also had other names affixed (like Daytona) to identify them further. Many such names are actually not official factory names. The Daytona name commemorates Ferrari's triple success in the February 1967 24 Hours of Daytona with the 330 P4. Only in the 1973 Daytona 24 Hours, a 365 GTB/4 model run by NART (who raced Ferrari's in America) ran second, behind a Porsche 911.
In the mid-1990s, Ferrari added the letter "F" to the beginning of all models (a practice abandoned after the F512 M and F355, but adopted again with the F430, but not with its successor, the Ferrari 458 ).