Editors Notes: Welcome to Ford vs Ferrari week. Since it’s the 50 year anniversary of the legendary event (when Ford Motor Company took on racing giant Ferrari in their figurative home court and won), and since a movie celebrating the event will release this month, The Kicker will be using this event for our weeks theme. Please enjoy this installment.
Ferrari is an Italian sports car manufacturer based in Maranello, Northern Italy where the Ferrari Formula One racing team is also based. The company was originally called Auto Avio Construzioni or AAC which was created when Enzo Ferrari left the racing company Scuderia Ferrari (which is now known as the racing division of the company. At that point, naturally, it was the whole company).
Although AAC began by creating aircraft parts for the Italian government – please note this was 1938 it soon had commissions to build its own racing cars for the 1940 Brescia Grand Prix.
The first car was the AAC Tipo 815 which had an engine loosely based on a Fiat model with four-speed transmission. Two cars entered the Brescia, the 020 and the 021 – these were the only two cars of this make ever produced. The 021 had problems with its valves and broke down. The 020 wasn’t that much of an improvement, breaking down after another half an hour.
Ferrari only really became a manufacturer of automobiles in 1947 when the first car to feature the badge of a horse rampant (on its hind legs), also known as the prancing horse. Another noticeable part of the badge is the Italian flag at the top of the design.
Ferrari popularised the idea of Berlinetta or two door sports saloons and later 1980s Supercars such as the GTO also use the same standard. Many other brands also now make Berlinettas or “little saloon cars” such as Opel, Alfa Romeo and Maserati.
“Road cars” created at this time by Ferrari included Dino which had a mid-engine, the lower power making it more suitable for road use than its racing cousins. The idea was to create more affordable sports cars to take on brands such as Porsche.
The huge selling point of Ferrari cars, at least in the 1950s and the 1960s was customization so that any individual customer can specify what they require from the car. This philosophy was updated in 2011 as the Tailor Made Programme where customers can work with the Maranello designers to look at such items as trim, color and interior material and make it as unique as possible. It is ideas like this that helped Ferrari become a world player.
In the 1980s the handling and acceleration were improved, thanks mainly to the racing car section of the company. This could only be achieved through lighter bodywork, including a carbon fiber roof.
Although Evoluzione were originally built in 1986 as a racing car with it just couldn’t be matched with any racing project, the body styling just didn’t seem to fit. So in the end six cars of this type were ever made. It did however influence the later F40 make.
Since then, Ferrari have created grand tourers, concept cars such as the Modulo and the Mythos and even one-off cars. It seems to be a brand that insists on going its own way and creating special versions just for the customers.