This year, as Ferrari’s 70-year anniversary, it is worth remembering that Ferrari man, a Ferrari, although Ferrari’s designer of the car is somewhat older, even, than Ferrari’s sports-brand luxury cars that we all grew up.
Enzo Ferrari was a prominent figure in Motorsport long before he put his name on the car, and the emblem of the prancing horse of the great war air ACE Francesco Baracca was well known years before any road car between the edges of the gates of Maranello.
So, amid the celebrations, let us also remember that Enzo will now 119, and that 97 years ago, he has received international recognition, coming second in the 1920 Targa Florio. It is also the 85th anniversary of his emblem was slapped on a number of Alfa Romeo, which began to dominate Grand Prix racing in the early 1930-ies. And it’s 77 years since the first of the two AAC 815s – auto avionics avio Construzione was built in 1940, Ferrari in name, that the alpha didn’t allow him to put on their cars.
But all this is not a round number, I’m poking around the nose of the new Spider 488 through the famous tunnel and hearing the roar of his raw 660bhp twin-turbo V8 engine Bouncing off the walls. This is our first stop on a short pilgrimage to places of significance for Ferrari, as we know that the last seven decades.
We at Goodwood and I want to say that our cruise on the outskirts of London and in the far corner Norfolk will follow a chronological path through the History of Ferrari in the UK, but it is not. So although our course will be geographically tolerably straight and true, we’ll jump in time as a Berserker TARDIS.
We are in chains to celebrate two races that were held here, and remember one that went ahead without key hero – one of Stirling Craufurd moss.
You can discuss all day the identity of the greatest racer in the world, but few would deny that between his retirement in 1958, Fangio and moss career here in 1962, moss was the man most important for driving for them. Enzo did not differ, but moss was not easily cared and did something no other driver was an old man: he said he’d take Ferrari, but not a Ferrari. Ferrari will supply factory-spec sports cars of Rob Walker racing, painted in dark blue tones Rob and sterling will be to see how he got on. If it worked, Stirling moss would lead the Ferrari driver in F1.
So, in 1960, moss took the start of the Tourist Trophy race in a brand new, very blue Ferrari 250 SVB. Then TT was a full-blown stage of the World Championship of sports cars, as important as the 1000km races at the Nurburgring and Monza. He just disappeared, finding time as he raced around the super-fast Sussex circuit to pick out and wave the pretty girls in the crowd. He whiled away the time, listening to the victory via the radio and comments of Raymond Baxter. He repeated the performance the following year.
From April 1962 there was no longer SVB waiting in the pen, but a convenient new vehicle called the 250 GTO. All moss had to do first was race his Lotus 18/21 in the case of F1. But for unknown reasons he crashed, suffering life-threatening injuries. Moss never raced a GTO.
It’s not that far to our next stop, industrial estate in Shalford, near Guildford, and at the offices of none other than Gordon Murray design. Murray is a fan of a particular Ferrari F40 and in particular, but that’s not why we’re here.
Our visit is the recognition of other British, who have been looking for a Ferrari that he, like moss, was able to dictate terms in Maranello. To do this, we spool forward a generation from the era of the moss. Now Ferrari is elderly and will die soon, and the team F1 is in crisis. It’s been years since a Ferrari driver lifted the title of world champion of F1, the Scuderia has failed to keep pace with its British rivals, but not more than the McLaren.
Ferrari knows that the McLaren’s reversal of fortune in the early 1980-ies was largely John Barnard and carbon fibre McLaren MP4/1. He and those who followed his example, turned to the sport, and Barnard had acquired a reputation as an innovator equal to Murray. Ferrari wanted him.
The problem is that Barnard didn’t want to go. He had a family and heard enough politicians Ferrari to put his life in the Italian sun. Unusually, then, Ferrari decided that his F1 cars are not designed in Maranello and in Guildford.
Deftly, Barnard called his Guildford technical office, as he was known in the TRP for everyone. There are no winners and prize-winners of the championship have been developed here, but it did result in the Ferrari 641, which set the pace all over 1990 to the penultimate race in Suzuka, when Senna deliberately drove into Alain Prost at the first corner, ruining a simple strong shot at the world title.
It was Barnard who brought technical means Ferrari to date, while the second moved to the Scuderia, laid the foundations of the era of Schumacher, which will begin after his departure. As for the GTO, it was sold to McLaren, and from there to the Murray, where innovative design work continue to this day.
From there, it’s just a short hop to the Ferrari dealership in Egham, in the famous art Deco Tower garage. This is not the first Ferrari was sold in the UK, but no building in the UK more readily associated with the brand. Thanks for that Colonel Ronnie choir, which became the first Ferrari distributor in the UK in 1960. Team it famous ‘Maranello Concessionaires’ was one of the most successful private outfits in the race to Ferrari, good enough to hire the likes of John Surtees and Graham hill, the last two wins the Tourist Trophy races for Ferrari at Goodwood.
The idea of the character of Colonel ensured by the fact that at Le Mans in 1967, he put piers courage and Richard Attwood in one machine just because he was surprised to have the car completely filled by graduates of Eton and harrow.
The Colonel moved to Egham in 1967, simultaneously with the beginning of the greatest era of Ferrari road car to date. With DELF. FM and Dinos to sell the business prospered, and the choir remained at the helm another 20 years before finally selling in 1987. Today the site is owned by the Sytner group, which itself is a subsidiary of the company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Penske automotive group, therefore, his racing roots are preserved.
Still on the racing theme, not to walk on British land memories of Ferrari is complete without the Silverstone. By 1951, Ferrari the automaker was still only four years. At this time, the Alfa Romeo 158 was almost invincible. With the engine 1.5-liter supercharger to produce 450 HP, it blew everything else into the weeds. In the first world championship of drivers in 1950, the Alfas won every round, a feat yet to be repeated.
But he had one weakness – thirst – and the Ferrari he said. So Ferrari asked Aurelio Lampredi design 4.5-liter unsupercharged V12, which was a little less power, but would have stopped much less frequently for fuel. At Silverstone, Froilan Gonzalez scored the first pole position of Ferrari, but because he had to stop once for fuel and Alfas twice, he won the race, the first Ferrari that now we call Formula 1.
Our ultimate location on the coast of Norfolk has nothing to do with Ferrari, but the car we find there is critical. It’s a long drive from Egham, but 488 devours journey. I am reminded that its roots can be traced without deflection back to the first Ferrari with a mid-engine V8 with twoseater, gorgeous 308 GTB from 1975. Ferrari claimed its 255bhp 3.0-litre Quad-Cam engine, but the truth was probably closer to the 230bhp. The engine in a modern car increased by less than a liter, but produces almost three times more energy, much more than even the McLaren F1. But even in foul weather conditions, it handles everything beautifully.
Spider engine produces more than six times the power of a Ferrari, we’re going to see 166 in 1949. This is just the seventh road-going Ferrari ever built, and it is the oldest in the UK. And it’s somehow even Spider 488 not: the classic V12 engine.
Inter time-warp, and 68-year-old car in perfect condition, despite the fact that have not been restored; she just thoroughly looked after throughout its life. On the racing version of this car won Le Mans in 1949, making Ferrari the first privateer to win the greatest race in the world on its debut; only McLaren with the line feat. And hisses, tear, roar, the sound of its 2.0-litre V12 166 will look want to try to repeat the feat.
The car is the work of two of the most famous engineers of Ferrari: a V12 was to Gioachino Colombo and the power of Ferrari road and racing cars until the mid 1960-ies, while the chassis has been credited to the above Lampredi. Body design easy ‘adaptation’ on tour in Milan.
In race trim the engine was good for 140bhp genuine – fabulous output in the 1940-ies on the 2.0-liter engine powerful enough to go twice around the clock – but in single-carburetor form the road, Ferrari suggested about 110bhp, feels fine.
The truth is, even with its independent front suspension, 166 has a prewar feel like it stops and steers. This is not a precision instrument, but one that should be aiming at about a predetermined direction of travel and modified in the future. But it rides well and the interior with these gorgeous Jaeger dials, each of which contains the signature of the legendary Ferrari, it’s a really special place.
Transmission something else. People used to say, when you bought a Ferrari that you paid for the engine and got the rest thrown in for free. You can understand why, except that I would include the transmission part of the package. It has five gears – even in 1940-ies a road car that can claim that – closely stacked and works in perfect harmony with a motor. Considering how small it dozen pistons should be, I would expect that it needs to be revved up to its 6000rpm cut-off in each gear to provide even halfdecent response. In fact, the engine inexplicably Torquay and giving all their 4500 rpm. The gearshift is slow but accurate, the engine is smooth and fascinating a character as any I know. In the 1940-ies it looked like a space ship.
It felt weird to jump between Ferrari developed 70 years and, frankly, I struggled to find things that are common to them. Except, that is, from the point of view. More than any other car, more than any other brand, the Ferrari was, and remains, about the simple and delicious business driving. Other considerations may enter into the pot, but they do it second. It was thus, when Ferrari built his first car, and it remains so today. We can only hope that in 70 years our descendants will still be able to say the same thing.