Ferrari has been manufacturing annoyingly outstanding sports cars since 1947, becoming a major player in all professional racing events and staying ahead of the majority of competitors ever since. Founded by rebel spirited Enzo Ferrari, the story of the famous Scuderia is that of dedication, distinction and really, really fast cars.
Having become enamored with driving and car engineering in his youth and having gained substantial race car test driving experience through a series of jobs for different companies in Turin in Milan, Enzo set the base of the red-flagged road legend. Initially, the Scuderia appeared as a conglomerate of sponsors and trainers for Alfa Romeo whom Enzo had worked for as head of the racing department during the late ’30s.
His ties to Alfa Romeo would only last for 2 years as Enzo parted from the company upon learning of their plans to take over his Scuderia. Still bound to racing restrictions stated in his contract, Enzo had little to do except becoming a temporary supplier of tools and accessories for producers like Piaggio and RIV. After moving to Maranello in 1943, Enzo built the Tipo 815 which was the actual first Ferrari and not the 125 Sport as it is mistakingly believed.
The latter was indeed much more popular than the first. Propelled by a 1.5 L V12 engine, the raw, beautifully unfinished model set the landmark for a future highly acclaimed racing dynasty. However, it would not be easy to rise to the rank it holds today. Following several tensions between Ferrari’s wife and Scuderia manager, Romolo Tavoni, a lot of key employess were fired, including Tavoni and some top engineers.
Left paralyzed and unprepared to battle the Jaguar E-type on track, the company could do little to ensure regrowth. Help came from one of the people had fired himself, former chief engineer Carlo Chiti who brought new men on the team to complete the development of the 250 GTO model. The mission of finishing the GTO was successfully accomplished by the Forghieri-Scaglietii duo, among others. The way the car had been built later earned the Scuderia several victories in the Sebring race.
Ferrari would flourish in the 60′s under the magical commanding touch of Forghieri’s engineering talent. Models like the Dino became almost instantly classic hits, resulting in a great increase in sales. The steady cash flow allowed the Ferrari team to further deepen in research and new engine development that was eventually crowned by the ulterior release of the 250 P.
During the mid-60s , Ferrari saw a set back delivered by the Ford GT mark 2 who abruptly ended Scuderia’s winning streak at Le Mans. After safely emerging from a FIA bill banning all cars above 3000cc from entering LeMans and having had to pause the 312 P model project, Ferrari would make acquaintance with a new contender. The menace came from Porsche who dominated racing in the early 70′s , leaving Ferrari dreaming about the title.
Later however, Ferrari would make a spectacular comeback withe their later 312PB model. 1973 saw Ferrari retire from sports car racing to focus entirely on F1. After a life caught between struggle, jet-setting and winnings, Enzo Ferrari passed away a age 90. His demise cemented the maturity of the Ferrari myth as well as it helped boost sales and the overall value of the brand.
Presently, Ferrari is part of the Fiat group who owns the majority of the company’s share. As for Ferrari’s modern days of racing, they are far from being over. Between 2000 and 2004, Ferrari pilot Michael Schumacher went straight for world domination and won the World Driver’s championship four times in a row. Subsequently, Ferrari was the keeper of the Constructor’s Championship for 5 years (1999-2004).
Ferrari has long shed the mantle of sports-car status, becoming an icon while Enzo Ferrari was unofficially appointed Patron Saint of Sports Cars. Curiously enough, Ferrari never made use of advertising, being a brand built entirely though tradition and quality.