Ferrari is probably one of the most mythical automobile makers in the world today. In here I will give you a very brief summary of the brand (believe me, you can find countless detailed books about the subject elsewhere), with my personal taking on some things here and there. Therefore, this is NOT meant to be exhaustive, this is NOT meant to be detailed, this is NOT meant to explain EVERYTHING about the italian car maker. It’s just a quick recap, if you will.
Ferrari S.p.A. is an automobile manufacturer, created in 1947 in Maranello by Enzo Ferrari, aka « il commendatore ». Ferrari has become one of the most popular and powerful brands in the world nowadays, easily recognizable by its logo, the « Cavallino Rampante » (the prancing horse). There is a lot of merchandizing orbiting around the name, but then again, when you’re a fan of the brand, it’s easier to show your support with owning a t-shirt rather than an actual car! Enzo was a charismatic and ambitious man with a dream, which succeeded in making his dream happen with hard work and determination.
The history of Ferrari is heavily linked with the history of automotive racing and mainly Scuderia Ferrari (now mainly active in Formula One / F1). The brand from Maranello has a heavy and fruitful past of automobile racing and victories: their cars have raced almost every race in the world, in almost every category. There are countless stories about this specific racing past, but one of the best to me is probably the Ford/Ferrari rivalry back in the 60s. After Enzo refused to sign a deal with Henry Ford II, the latter decided to come and annoy Enzo on his own turf: the race track. Hence the Ford GT40 was born, and won the 24 Hours of Le Mans four times in a row (from 1966 to 1969) to teach the italian brand a lesson, and end their 6-year dominance on this extraordinary endurance race. This is probably one of the most impressive automotive rivalries in racing. I don’t feel qualified enough to mention Formula One, but let it be known that to this day, the brand is still the one with most victories in F1.
The italian brand would build great racing cars, and would later apply all their technology to road-legal cars. To this day, this model still remains. The first car ever built by the italian manufacturer is the 166MM, which allowed for the legend to start and to grow. Ever since, countless iconic cars have been built. I don’t feel like it’s my place to make you a listing of all cars, however I feel it’s very important to mention at least a few: the 250 GTO, 250 Testa Rossa, 512M&S, 333SP, 288 GTO, F40, F50, Enzo, LaFerrari, 599 GTO, 360 Challenge Stradale, 430 Scuderia, 458 Speciale & 488 GTB. As you can tell, I know much more about « modern Ferrari » than I do with the classics.
Back in 1969, facing financial hardships (hard to believe, right?) Enzo Ferrari sells 50% of Ferrari to FIAT. Everything changed in 1988 with the sad passing of Enzo, which led to a heavy speculation and the downfall of the brand. In 2004, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo was appointed CEO of Ferrari by FIAT boss Giovanni Agnelli. Ever since, the brand has prospered and they build a lot more cars than they did in the past (+7100 units in 2013, +3700 units in 1999), due to high demand. However, the brand from Maranello seems to have a different policy: they want to remain a craftmenship brand rather than an industrial one. Which is a definitely a good way to go if you want my opinion: indeed, more and more owners want their cars to be unique, customized. There is more and more Tailor Made cars, and for those who are really fortunate, there is always the « Special Projects » who will build one-off cars for lucky clients (like the latest 458 MM Speciale).
The brand for Maranello has also develloped the « Corse Clienti » program, which allows some of their best clients to own extraordinarily rare cars. It all started with the FXX, based off the 2002 Enzo (then FXX EVO). Then came the 599XX (then 599XX EVO), based off the 599 GTB. And now more recently, the FXX-K arrived, based off the LaFerrari. What I wonder is what will be the replacement of the 599XX? Maybe an F12XX or 488XX? Who knows! But I’m really excited about the future.
Hope you have learned a tiny bit more about the Prancing Horse. I didn’t want to go too much into details, mainly because I don’t think I’m qualified to do so, furthermore there are incredible books & supports out there that would do a much better job than I ever will to teach you about it. I voluntarily left out so many aspects of it all: the historic owners, their collections, the great men who made the brand (Pinin Farina, Scaglietti, Schumacher, Montezemolo…) the Formula One history, technical aspects. This really was a « résumé »!