The midengine Ferrari F430, introduced in 2004, is a stirring
Every significant Ferrari car is profiled, more than 100 models in all, from the very first machines to wear the prancing horse in 1947 to today’s thrilling lineup of V-8 and V-12 coupes and convertibles.
Our journey proceeds along the three paths that make up the Ferrari cars legend: the road cars, the sports-racing cars, and the F1 cars.
Clothed in graceful bodywork by Enzo Ferrari’s friend, Battista “Pinin” Farina, the early road cars were only slightly tamed versions of his racing cars. Indeed, the very first Ferrari road car, the 166 MM, took part of its name from the Mille Miglia, the famed 1,000-mile Italian road race won by a Ferrari in 1948.
The theme continued through such wondrous stallions as the Ferrari 340 America and 375 MM of the early 1950s. These cars could be driven to the track, compete for the checkered flag, and carry their driver to dinner that night. This was the romance of the dual-purpose sports car, an ideal that culminated with the Ferrari 250 GT SWB coupe of 1959.
The Ferrari 375 MM racer of the 1950s wasn't a world apart
from Ferrari road cars.
Certainly, each succeeding decade had its share of ferocious road going Ferraris -- the 365 GTB/4 Daytona in the 1960s followed by the midengine 512 BBi in the ‘70s, F40 in the ‘80s, F50 in the ‘90s, and Enzo in the new millennium. But each period also had its gorgeous grand touring models as well, including the 250 GT Coupe, 330 GTC, and today’s 612 Scaglietti, all of which followed Ferrari’s classic front-engine V-12 format.
It’s a cannon of the Ferrari faith that Enzo sold road cars mainly to finance his first love, racing. And in the first half of the company’s 60-year existence, that mostly meant endurance racing. Ferrari’s sports-racing cars were generally recognizable as wilder versions of models customers could buy and they competed in the big glamor events, like the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Targa Florio.
Such Ferraris as the pontoon-fender 250 Testa Rossa and the voluptuous 330 P4 battled Jaguar and later, Ford, for supremacy in this particular crucible of 200-mph machine and high-risk automotive marketing.
By the mid 1970s, Formula 1 had taken over as the aristocrat of motor racing, and Ferrari refocused its efforts on this form of open-wheel, single-seat competition. Immortals like Alberto Ascari and Juan Manuel Fangio had driven Ferrari Grand Prix cars in the 1950s. And the distinctive shark-nose Dino 156 F1 made Phil Hill the first American F1 world champion in 1961.
But even those classic men and their machines couldn’t match the dominance of Michael Shumacher who, starting in the mid 1990s, led Ferrari to six F1 manufacturer’s titles and captured for himself five F1 world driving championships.
You’re invited to learn about all these cars and more, plus the stories of the people who designed, built, and drove them. The Ferrari articles we’ve created are portals to a story of automotive magic unlike any other.
F1 world champion driver Michael Shumacher
in the Ferrari F2004 Formula 1 car.
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