Ferrari is one of the best-known luxury car brands in the world. It has a long and fascinating history and is today the dream car for many people around the world.
Here are some interesting facts about the company and their amazing products.
How was Ferrari created?
The story of Ferrari begins in around 1929 when Enzo Ferrari formed Scuderia Ferrari, based in Modena, Italy. Scuderia Ferrari bought, repaired, and fielded Alfa Romeo racing cars for "gentlemen drivers" and in 1933 took over Alfa Romeo's racing team. When Alfa Romeo brought its racing team back in-house in 1938, they hired Enzo Ferrari as manager of the new racing department.
In 1939, Ferrari left Alfa Romeo and agreed that he would not use the Ferrari name for races or racing cars for at least four years. He founded Auto Avio Costruzioni, to produce machine tools and aircraft accessories.
The new company did however produce a race car, in 1940, the Tipo 815, which was based on a Fiat platform. In 1943, the Ferrari factory moved to Maranello. It was bombed by the Allies during WWII. It was rebuilt and is still the main site of Ferrari production to this day. The company became what we know as Ferrari today in 1947 when their cars began to sport their famous horse logo.
When was the first Ferrari built?
The first-ever Ferrari, though not technically speaking called a Ferrari, as the Auto Avio Costruzioni 815. This was a two-seater Barchetta that had a 1.5-liter engine under the hood.
The "Tipo 815" was built in 1940 and only two were ever built. Both of these raced at the 1940 Brescia Grand Prix but both failed to finish due to engine problems.
One of them was later scrapped, but the other surviving car is currently in a car collection in Italy.
Ferrari was unable to call it a Ferrari as he was still under contract with Alfa Romeo at the time. Although he had left the company the terms and conditions of his release prevented him from building a car under his own name for a time.
For this reason, he had to think of an alternative name.
And so, without further ado, here are some interesting facts about the company and their amazing cars. This list is far from exhaustive and is in no particular order.
1. Ferrari's famous badge was a war veteran's coat of arms
The now-famous Ferrari badge has a long and glorious past. The rampant stallion can be traced as far back as 1692 and the Royal Piedmont Cavalry Regiment. The Regiment adopted fire-red as its colors and its insignia was a rampant stallion. Two centuries later, Italy's first airborne squadron was formed during World War I. One of the first cavalry officers to join the squadron was the ace, Francesco Baracca, who had the rampant horse painted on the fuselage of his bi-plane.
Baracca died in combat on Mount Montello near Treviso during the war and in 1923, the horse symbol was entrusted by his parents to the winner of the "Circuito automobilistico del Savio" car race in Ravenna, to carry on the memory of their son. The winner was Enzo Ferrari.
2. Cars are not the only income stream for the brand
Ferrari is obviously best-known for its amazing cars. But these are not the only lucrative income stream for the company.
Ferrari also makes a pretty penny from selling and licensing a wide variety of merchandise. From toys, to clothing, to accessories, the Ferrari brand is so much more than just vehicles.
To date, there are no less than 30 Ferrari boutique stores around the globe. Two are under direct ownership of Ferrari with others operating as licensed franchises.
3. Not all Ferrari's are red
One of the first things that spring to mind when you hear the name Ferrari is the color red. Officially called "racing red", this is the color chosen by the Ferrari racing team and is regularly the color of choice whenever the cars appear in movies.
In fact, this was the official color that the International Automobile Federation (FIA) assigned to all Italian Grand Prix race cars in the early years of auto racing. However, Ferraris come in a variety of colors, including black, white, green, and silver. But most people often opt for the famous red paint job.
4. Ferrari was almost bought out by Ford
Ferrari is a hugely successful brand and for a good reason, many competitors have tried their luck to buy them out. One such company was the Ford Motor Company who made an offer to Enzo Ferrari of around $18 million in 1963.
After a lengthy negotiation, Enzo finally rejected the offer. Today Ferrari is majority-owned by Fiat, which has a 90% stake.
They are in turn, an asset of the holding company Exor who owns various other brands including Juventus, Fiat Chrysler, and CNH Industrial.
5. Michael Schumacher was once the highest-paid sportsman of all time when racing with Ferrari
When Michael Schumacher raced for Ferrari he was one of the highest-paid sportspersons of all time. He had a very long and successful racing career and Ferrari paid him well for his talents.
This was money well spent. The combination of Ferrari cars and Schumacher's unparalleled skill enabled the team to win seven Formula One World Championships.
6. Enzo Ferrari was not a keen traveler
Enzo Ferrari, despite his skills at building vehicles, was not very keen on traveling around. He rarely, if ever, left the area around his home and office in Modena and Maranello.
In fact, he was famously claustrophobic and hated traveling in aircraft and elevators.
7. The Ferrari F40 was the last model to be personally approved by Enzo
The iconic and much-admired Ferrari F40 was the last Ferrari to receive Enzo Ferrari's personal approval. This mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive sports car was produced between the late 1980s to early 1990s.
The F40 was the successor to the 288 GTO and was designed and built to celebrate Ferrari's 40th Anniversary. Only 400 were ever produced and each unit sold for around $400,000.
8. Enzo Ferrari was a war veteran but was almost killed by the flu
The great Enzo Ferrari was not just a visionary car designer and builder but also earned his stripes during the horrors of WW1. During the war, he fought under the 3rd Mountain Artillery Regiment of the Italian Army.
He survived the war but he was almost killed in 1918 by the global flu pandemic. Sadly, a flu outbreak did kill his brother and father in 1916.
9. Today you can customize many elements of your brand new Ferrari
Ferrari has a Tailor-Made program that allows buyers to personalize many elements of their new car. Provided by the Maranello factory, buyers can choose from lively colors, various interior trims, finishes, and other accessories.
10. Abu Dhabi has a Ferrari theme park
In 2010, Ferrari opened its very first theme park in Abu Dhabi. It is touted as the world's largest indoor theme park and comes complete with thrill rides, including an F1-inspired roller coaster.
11. Each letter in a Ferrari's name symbolizes its body style
Each of the letters used in Ferrari model names symbolize the car's body style. For example, the letter "M" stands for "Modifacata".
For example, GTB is an acronym for "Gran Turismo Berlinetta" and it's used on models such as coupes or closed Berlinettas.
12. Ferrari is one of the world's best-known brands
Branding is an essential element of any successful business. Ferrari has been a master of this practice, and consequently, is one of the best-known brands in the world.
They are often ranked alongside Disney, Hollywood, and Coca Cola for their brand recognition.
13. There was a time Ferrari tried to limit production
Under the advice of chairman Luca di Cordero Montezemolo, Ferrari attempted to limit production to prevent market dilution of their products.
He argued that "The exclusivity of Ferrari is fundamental for the value of our products. We made the decision to make fewer cars because otherwise, we risk injecting too many cars on the market.”
But this didn't last long. He was ousted and replaced by Sergio Marchionne in 2014 who took the opposite approach. He soon ramped up production to 7,200 units a year with plans to eventually boost output to 10,000 a year.
And that's a wrap folks. These are some of the coolest facts about the world-sensation that is Ferrari.