When it comes to state-of-the-art engineering, Ferrari is at the forefront of the auto industry and has grown to a market cap value of $30 billion. From the early days of the company, before their cars bore Enzo Ferrari’s surname to some of the fastest cars ever built today, the brand has become synonymous with high-performance automobiles. Ferrari experienced a fascinating transformation that took them from a rag-tag racing team to the world’s best-known luxury car manufacturer. Interested in learning more about Ferrari? Keep reading to familiarize yourself with the history and milestones of the company.
Early Days of Ferrari
Ferrari was founded in an deade when never-before-seen technologies and consumerism drove growing, post-war economies in Italy and around the world—the Roaring 20s. In 1929, Scuderia Ferrari was formed by father and namesake of the company, Enzo, initially functioning as Alfa Romeo’s racing division. Alfa Romeo spent the next ten years or so withdrawing its racing teams, reorganizing and reimplementing them, stringing Enzo Ferrari along, when in 1939, he left the team and formed Auto Avio Costruzioni. Due to a four-year non-compete contract, Enzo shelved his idea for a high-performance race car brand, and began producing his first car, the Tipio 815, under his newly formed company. By 1947, Scuderia Ferrari came roaring back to life, in part to help distinguish factory racing cars from customer team cars, and released the V12-engine 125 S. Although the car was unable to finish its debut race at Circuito di Piacenza, it claimed Ferrari’s first win at the Grand Prix of Rome shortly after, and went on to win five other races throughout its initial year.
Learn more about the Top Ferraris of All Time
As a new decade arrived, Ferrari set in place the foundation for a more consumer-facing business model, with the first showroom in the United States opening in the early 1950s. Prior to this, the luxury car brand catered solely to racing professionals and wealthy team owners. By 1960, the company had officially become a public corporation.
1960s-1980s: Transitional Phase & Exponential Growth
As the 60s progressed, the company continued on its path, mixing consumer and racing products to great success. However, possibly affected by the death of his eldest son Dino in the late 50s, Enzo began losing top staff, including chief engineers Carlo Chiti and Giotto Bizzarni. At the time, the 250 GTO (arguably one of the most famous race cars of all time), was in production, and ended up being finished by engineers Mauro Forghieri and designer Sergio Scaglietti. Although the company’s teams continued to claim victories on the race track and consumer awareness was rising, the company faced many challenges with competitors and a waffling luxury car market. To survive, Enzo sold 50 percent of the company to Fiat in 1969. Immediately, capital and investment funds increased, and factory extensions were authorized. New model investment further up in the Ferrari range also received a boost. With the sudden gas crisis of the 1970s, you’d think it might slow down the popularity of such inefficient vehicles, but Ferrari continued to grow thanks to the influx of support from Fiat. This decade saw the introduction of the innovative Berlinetta Boxer flat-12 Engine, while new factories, test circuit racetracks and design houses allowed them to pump out new models like the 308 GTS and Dino. By the end of the 70s, some production models were being churned out by the thousands—a big feat for such a company. The 1980s brought more growth for Ferrari, with the introduction of some of its most iconic cars, the Testarossa, Mondial and the F40 in celebration of the company’s 40th anniversary. But although Ferrari had established itself as the world’s premier race car team and the name became synonymous with the ideal luxury car at this point, the future of the company was about to see a big shake up.
Death of Enzo Ferrari to Today
The F40 was an important car, both to the company and founder, Enzo. With its carbon-fiber body, large wing, Kevlar panels and other trademark features, the car is known to be Enzo’s masterpiece. However, it’s also famous for being the last Ferrari model he worked on personally, as he passed away just a few months after its launch in August 1988. After Enzo’s death, the company came under the direction of Luca di Montezemolo and the founder’s son, Piero, and was renamed Ferarri S.p.A. Additionally, Fiat was able to buy up more of the company, increasing their stake to 90 percent. The nineties saw Ferrari shifting to smaller engines in their production models, like the v8 F355 Series, and plenty of F1 championships under the driving expertise of Michael Shumacher, through 2004.In 2014, di Montezemolo was replaced by current CEO Sergio Marchionne and plans to officially split from Fiat Group were executed the next year. Today, Ferrari remains one of the most iconic sports car brands in the world, winning over 5,000 prizes throughout its existence and holding the record for longest-standing and most successful Formula One race team.
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