10 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Ferrari
Ferrari, founded by the enigmatic Enzo, has held the supreme position among carmakers for 65 years. Here are a few tidbits you might not know about Ferrari, the man and the cars.
Today, every Ferrari is built in a state-of-the art factory by over 2600 workers who produce just over 7,000 cars per year. Annual revenues of the company are right around $2 billion.
Prancing Horse Logo
The firm’s famous ‘Prancing Horse’ logo was adapted from an insignia used by Italian World War I fighter ace, Francesco Baracca. Baracca’s mother told Enzo Ferrari to put it on his cars for ‘good luck.’ BTW, Porsche also uses a Prancing Horse in it logo, and the horse also faces to the left.
Enzo Ferrari, Blacksmith
Enzo Ferrari, the company’s charismatic founder, was a blacksmith and mule-shoer for the Italian Army during World War I. He was discharged from service in 1918 after falling victim to the influenza pandemic that claimed the lives of both his father and brother.
Most Expensive Car in the World
A 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta currently holds the record for the most expensive car ever to be sold at an auction – $38.1 million at the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d’Élégance. This record price could well be be surpassed when Juan Manuel Fangio’s 1956 Mille Miglia Ferrari 290 MM goes up for auction in New York in December 2015.
The Pope’s Ferrari
The 400th and final Ferrari Enzo supercar was built and donated to the Vatican in 2004. The Pope never ever drove (go figure), but he did autograph it, so the vehicle was eventually auctioned off by Sotheby’s for a cool $1.1 million and the proceeds went to charity.
Ferrari in Formula 1 – The Good
Ferrari is a brand synonymous with Formula 1 competing within the sport since its inaugural season in 1950. Scuderia Ferrari lays claim to no less than 16 Constructors’ and 15 Drivers’ Championships.
Ferrari in Formula 1 – The Bad
Ferrari least successful season was 1980 when drivers Jody Scheckter and Gilles Villenueve managed to scrape together just eight points. Scheckter had won the Driver’s title in 1979, but advancement in “ground effects” cars overwhelmed Ferrari, whose wide, flat 12 engine that had been such an advantage during the ’70s was now a aerodynamic disadvantage.
Ferrari in Formula 1 – The Amazing
In 1988, McLaren absolutely dominated Formula 1, winning 15 of 16 races. The one race they didn’t win? The Italian Grand Prix, where Ferrari took first and second place in a race held less than a month after Enzo Ferrari died.
Ford v. Ferrari
Ford was seriously en route to purchase Ferrari in 1963 but then negotiations fell through at the 99th hour when Enzo learned how much control he would lose. This annoyed Henry Ford II so much that he authorized the development of the Ford GT40: a racing car designed and developed to do just one thing – dominate Ferrari at the annual 24-Hours of Le Mans. Ford managed to achieve this twice, in 1966 and again in 1967 against a minuscule factory Ferrari team. The GT40 would win twice more in private hands.
Ferrari Under The Hood
Ferrari engines have been used in the road cars of many other automotive brands over time including the ASA 1000 GT and Spider, Fiat Dino Spider and Coupe, Lancia Stratos and Thema (plus a Lancia Group C race car), Maserati Coupe, Spyder, Quattropote, Gran Turismo, and others, and most recently, the Alfa Romeo Giulia.
The Fan Favorite
The Ferrari F40, despite regular production ending in 1992, remains a favorite with fans and automotive journalists. About the F40, car and Driver wrote: “After two days on the road and an afternoon at the test track, we can report that nothing we’ve ever driven can match the mix of sheer terror and raw excitement of earth-scorching (of the F40). While Autocar wrote: “On a smooth road it is a scintillatingly fast car that is docile and charming in its nature; a car that is demanding but not difficult to drive, blessed as it is with massive grip and, even more importantly, superb balance and manners. You can use its performance, the closest any production car maker has yet come to race car levels, and revel in it.”
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