On March 12 1947 Enzo Ferrari fired up the 125 S, the first car to bear his name. That test-drive on the streets of Maranello marked the start of modern Ferrari history.
The then-modest factory quickly grew into one of the great internationally-renowned ‘Made in Italy’ icons. Exactly 70 years later, on March 12 2017, Ferrari launched its official celebrations for this milestone anniversary.
The 125 S (the S referred to its sports car-type bodywork) was the first car to sport the Ferrari badge. Its 12-cylinder engine, vital to powerful performance, was designed by Gioacchino Colombo with Giuseppe Busso and Luigi Bazzi also contributing to the project.
On that March morning in 1947 the car, which was still an unbodied steel rolling chassis, roared to life for the first time and the great Ferrari adventure began. Just two months later, on May 11 1947, the vehicle made its track debut at the Piacenza Circuit. At the wheel was Franco Cortese.
Enzo Ferrari dubbed this maiden outing as “a promising failure” after the car was forced to pull up with a fuel pump problem while leading the race. That moment of failure, however, was short-lived: just nine days later on May 20, Cortese drove the 125 S to victory in the Rome Grand Prix, completing the 40 laps of the circuit and the 137 kilometres of the race at an average speed of 88.5 km/h.
This was the first of six victories the 125 S delivered in 1947, the most notable of which was the Parma Grand Prix with Tazio Nuvolari doing the driving.
Coming to the present day, LaFerrari Aperta is being billed as a “70th anniversary icon”.
Ferrari says its unique core values are brilliantly represented by the car launched to mark the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the company. The LaFerrari Aperta is the new limited-edition special series model dedicated to the company’s most loyal clients and is also the spider version of the acclaimed LaFerrari supercar.
Maranello’s latest supercar, say its makers, “effortlessly combines extraordinary performance with the unique exhilaration of open-top driving”. It is equipped with the same hybrid power unit as the coupe: an 800 cv 6,262cc V12 engine (specific power output of 128 cv/l, compression ratio 13.5:1) coupled with a 120 kW electric motor for a total power output of a 963 cv.
A ‘Driven by Emotion’ anniversary
In the course of 2017, over 60 nations will host events crafted to treat clients and enthusiasts of the marque to a string of unique experiences as part of the ‘Driven by Emotion’ concept, one of the cornerstones on which the Ferrari story was founded and has flourished.
‘Driven by Emotion’ is a tribute to the importance placed by the Cavallino Rampante (Prancing Horse) on emotion throughout the last 70 years: be it in terms of delivering “the most riveting and rewarding driving experience possible, Ferrari’s universally lauded and acknowledged styling, or innovation via the pioneering technological solutions revealed by each new Maranello model”.
The anniversary celebrations will culminate in Maranello on the weekend of September 9 and 10, but there will be other initiatives paying homage to Cavallino Rampante history, not least special exhibitions and the first ‘Cavalcade Classiche’.
Some of the highlights in Ferrari history:
1947 – Ferrari is founded
1950 – Ferrari makes F1 debut
1958 – Mike Hawthorn becomes F1 World Champion in a Ferrari 246 F1
1962 – Unveiling of the 250 GTO, winner of the International Championship for GT Manufacturers in 1962, 1963 and 1964
1964 – John Surtees becomes Formula 1 World Champion with the 158 F1
1967 – Three Ferraris – two 330 P4s and a 412 P –deliver a spectacular 1-2-3 parade finish in the 24 Hours of Daytona
1968 – The 365 GTB4 (Daytona) is unveiled at the Paris Motor Show
1969 – Fiat becomes a Ferrari shareholder
1972 – The Fiorano Circuit, Ferrari’s test track, is officially opened
1975 – Niki Lauda takes the Formula 1 World Champion title in the 312 T
1981 – Gilles Villeneuve delivers first ever victory in a turbocharged F1 car in the 126 K at Monaco
1984 – The Ferrari Testarossa is unveiled at the Paris Motor Show
1987 – The F40 debuts at the Frankfurt Motor Show
1988 – 14 August: Enzo Ferrari passes away at the age of 90
1993 – The marque’s first single-make championship, the Ferrari Challenge, is launched
1998 – The new Renzo Piano-designed GES Wind Tunnel opens
2004 – Ferrari sets a new F1 record of 6 Constructors’ and 5 Drivers’ World titles in a row
2006 – The exclusive XX programme, designed to deliver extreme performance to top clients, debuts
2007 – Kimi Räikkönen and the Scuderia Ferrari are World Champions
2013 – The Cavallino Rampante’s first hybrid model, the LaFerrari, goes into production
2015 – Ferrari is listed on the New York stock exchange
2016 – The LaFerrari Aperta, an iconic model celebrating the marque’s 70th anniversary, is launched at the Paris Motor Show
2017 – The latest addition to the Ferrari family, the 812 Superfast, debuts at Geneva.