In 1998, Ferrari CEO Luca Cordero di Montezemolo began contemplating the company’s next “extreme” model, a successor to the F50. He targeted three areas: the car must be “really impressive,” he said, it must push the edge of the company’s technology, and it must have a close relationship with Ferrari’s racing programs as a celebration of their successes.
From those elements came what at the time was the world’s most technologically advanced high-performance road car -- the Ferrari Enzo.
The 2003 Ferrari Enzo was a roadcar that also happened to
be the most technically advanced vehicle in the world.
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Its engine was the start of a new generation of Ferrari V-12s. At 5998cc and 660 horsepower, the Ferrari Enzo followed Ferrari’s Formula 1 thinking. It had four valves per cylinder and the variable-length induction system from 1995’s F1 engine. It was also the first Ferrari powerplant to boast continuously variable exhaust-valve timing.
Along with the 6-speed paddle-shift gearbox, the V-12 was bolted onto a rear tubular subframe, which was then attached to the car’s central carbon-fiber tub. The suspension was pushrod double wishbones front and rear, with coil springs and adaptive shock absorbers; this last item used four sensors on the body, two vertical wheel sensors, a speed sensor, and a brake switch to adjust the shocks’ stiffness for superior ride comfort and body control.
But that was just the start of the electronic wizardry. In what it claimed was a world first, Ferrari integrated all the Ferrari Enzo’s electronic control systems (engine, gearbox, suspension, traction control, aerodynamics, brakeforce distribution, and antilock braking) so they constantly communicated with each other to deliver optimal performance.
A bona fide world first was the Ferrari Enzo’s carbon-fiber brakes. The space-age material stopped the car more quickly than anyone imagined, while remaining impervious to fade in repeated use. Marveled one tester, “(The Enzo’s) retardation is second only to hitting a brick wall ... ”
Pininfarina relished the challenge of creating a body for Ferrari’s latest tour de force.
“The 250 SWB was our first quantum leap in design on Ferrari, the Dino the second,” said Sergio Pininfarina. “I consider the [Ferrari Enzo] our third.”
the model marked a new styling direction.
The 2003 Ferrari Enzo marked a new design direction for Ferrari.
From Day One, Montezemolo pushed the designers (and his engineers) to go a little too far, knowing they could always back off a bit if necessary. Pininfarina design chief Lorenzo Ramaciotti had an internal competition, stressing aerodynamics and a shape more aggressive than the F50 with a nose that had to resemble an F1 car’s.
Initially, there were approximately two dozen proposals; these were then cut down to two. They were presented to Ferrari management in summer 1998, but Pininfarina and Ramaciotti decided to push the envelope even further with another model that had a nose much like the one that would grace the Ferrari Enzo.
management saw this, then asked for elements of all three design studies to be
used. Then they threw in a new parameter -- to eliminate the rear wing seen on
all of the proposals.
Ferrari conducted design studies for the 2003 Ferrari Enzo.
The resulting extreme form was the production Ferrari Enzo, a shape “determined by the car’s high performance potential,” Ramaciotti said, “rather than aesthetics.” In essence, the wind tunnel ruled, and the shape was signed off on early in 2000.
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