Arguably the most famous car brand in the world is celebrating a major milestone this week – 70 years in the business of building cars.
The company’s founder Enzo Ferrari got his start in the automotive industry as a test driver for the now defunct Construzioni Meccaniche Nazionali car maker in Milan. Before long he was a racing driver for the Alfa Romeo team until he decided that his talents were better utilised in management and he formed the Scuderia Ferrari racing team.
He successfully managed Alfa Romeo’s on-track activities before the outbreak of World War II and when racing resumed in peacetime he begun building his own cars in 1947.
To celebrate this anniversary for the Prancing Horse, Drive has selected some of the brand’s most memorable moments. Starting with the best cars it has produced in the past 70 years, in no particular order.
How could a car literally named The Ferrari not be on the list. The current halo car for the brand it is the latest in a long-line of V12-powered hypercars that have helped ensure Ferrari remains at the pinnacle of supercars despite more challenges – like fuel consumption regulations – and more challengers, with a long list of rivals from Lamborghini to Porsche and newcomers McLaren.
The LaFerrari’s V12 is backed up by an electric motor, making this the company’s first hybrid road car and one that will act as the catalyst for its next generation of sports cars as emissions regulations get stricter.
While it will eventually be replaced by something faster and more technologically advanced, for now this truly is – The Ferrari.
Read our full review of the LaFerrari here
Enzo always viewed his road cars as a means to an end, a way to fund his racing. In the 1960s that included both Formula One and Sportscars. The 250 GTO was developed for the 1962 GT racing series, the name stands for Gran Turismo Omologato (which translates to Grand Touring Homologated).
Only 39 examples of the car were built between ’62 and ’64 and that exclusivity combined with its success on the racetrack means this V12 coupe is now one of the most expensive and desirable Ferraris to collect. The last 250 GTO put up for sale in November 2016 had an asking price of $72 million.
Read more about the Ferrari 250GTO here
Not the fastest or best handling Ferrari but arguably one of the most famous. It was an icon of success in the 1980s thanks to a starring role in Tom Selleck’s Magnum P.I. and National Lampoon’s Vacation with Christie Brinkley behind the wheel.
It was also the first V8-powered mid-engined Ferrari and helped translate some of its modern Formula One know-how to the road – albeit in relative terms.
While it technically didn’t carry any Ferrari or Prancing Horse badges, the Dino is without question one of Ferrari’s most important models.
When he created the Dino, named in honour of his son, Enzo had a strict ‘V12 only’ policy for his cars hence the lack of official badges for this V6-powered, mid-engined sports car.
But the Dino became a highly collectible classic and inspired Ferrari to expand its range beyond the V12 with the V8-powered cars that continue until today. The linage of the current 488 GTB can be traced directly back to the Dino.
This is a special Ferrari for several reasons. For starters it was the final car signed off by Enzo before his death in 1988.
And what a car to end on. An evolution of the 288 GTO, the F40 was the Italian firm’s counterpunch to the Porsche 959 supercar and the first production car to crack the 300km/h marker. Power came from a mid-mounted 2.9-litre twin-turbo V8 and the dramatic looking bodywork was made from a mixture of carbon fibre, Kevlar and aluminium.
It became the defining supercar of the 1980s and is the forefather of the F50, Enzo and LaFerrari, as well as the catalyst for the creation of the McLaren F1. Quite the legacy for Enzo to leave behind.
The quintessential modern Ferrari – aerodynamic and stylish, technologically advanced and powered by a screaming V8.
The 458 was a critical and popular success and became the benchmark sportscar of its generation. The Speciale version followed the path forged by the F355 Challenge Stradale and F430 Scuderia by blending lessons learned on the racetrack with everyday usability.
With the introduction of the turbocharged 488 GTB as its replacement the 458’s 4.5-litre V8 will go down in history as the last naturally-aspirated V8 built by the company. Ferrari’s will certainly never sound the same again.
Read our review of the 458 Speciale here
Last, but by no means least, this is the car that started it all. Technically this is a race car, not a road car like the rest of the list but Ferrari has always blurred the line between road and race.
Naturally the 125 was powered by a V12 engine – Enzo’s personal preference. It was a 1.5-litre version designed by his former Alfa Romeo colleague Gioacchino Colombo. By modern standards the 87kW the V12 produced is not befitting of Ferrari, but the 125 S only weighed 650kg. And that was fast enough to win the Grand Prix of Rome, so the legend of Ferrari had begun.
Agree with our list? Or have we missed your favourite? Tell us what you think in the comments below.
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