Top 10 cars of Enzo Ferrari
As big an icon as the brand he founded, the legendary Enzo Ferrari has overseen some of the greatest road and racing cars in history. Here are our top 10
Enzo Ferrari died on August 14, 1988 at the age of 90; some 30 years later, his legacy lives on. The Ferrari brand is what it is today thanks to the iron-fisted rule of Enzo, who decreed that the Italian marque would always be more important than any individual within it.
This mentality was often remarked upon by disgruntled Grand Prix drivers as dictatorial, but there is no denying that Mr Ferrari’s methods produced results – on both the road and the race track. Here are the ten most notable cars Enzo Ferrari oversaw.
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Alfa Romeo P3
Intertwined by fate, Enzo Ferrari and motor sport found each other after his family’s carpentry business collapsed. Enzo went in search of work, which led him to a small company called Costruzioni Meccaniche Nazionali that built passenger cars. Ferrari was its test driver, but was later promoted to racing driver. A fourth-place finish at his debut event in 1919 lead to an offer to race for Alfa Romeo.
Enzo saw success at Alfa but, deeply shocked by the death of his team-mate Antonio Ascari, he began to lose his hunger for racing. After the birth of his son Dino, he moved into a managerial role and created a team of star drivers that raced under the name of Scuderia Ferrari as a factory-backed team.
However, Alfa Romeo was initially reluctant to hand over its latest racing machines to Enzo, who was making do with out-dated Monzas. Alfa’s financial difficulties left the new P3 cars locked away and out of the Scuderia’s reach.
In August 1933 the cars were finally delivered to Ferrari, having already missed 25 previous races. However Ferrari made up for this by winning six of the final 11 events that year. The Alfa P3 helped announce Enzo’s team as serious players.
Auto Avio Costruzioni 815
In 1938 Alfa Romeo returned to the racing scene, hiring Enzo as team manager and ultimately disbanding Scuderia Ferrari. This didn’t last long, as Ferrari left Alfa the following year, but before doing so the Italian manufacturer prevented Enzo from using his name in racing for at least four years. In this time he made the most of the tooling left over from the Scuderia racing days, and started a small company called Auto Avio Costruzioni that made aircraft parts.
It didn’t take long for Ferrari to crave the sights and smells of motor sport again, and in 1940 he entered his first creation into the Mille Miglia. It was based on a Fiat platform and dubbed the 815 Tipo after its eight cylinders and 1.5-litre engine. Sadly the car never got the further refinement it required, due to the outbreak of World War Two.
Ferrari 125 S
After the war Enzo was free to use his name in racing again, and so in 1947 the 125 S became the first Ferrari-badged car. Unlike the Auto Avio Costruzioni 815, this model’s engine wasn’t a development of Fiat’s engineering, it was a pure Ferrari V12. This new 1.5-litre unit produced 118bhp and showed promise at its debut race at Circuito di Piacenza, despite a DNF due to technical issues. Ferrari would have to wait another two weeks for the car’s first victory at the Grand Prix of Rome.
Enzo reluctantly sold examples of the 125 S to privateer teams to help fund Scuderia Ferrari. The two original cars of 1947 were later dismantled and used to build their successors, such as the legendary 166 S.
Ferrari 250 Series
The 250 Series of Ferrari cars were defined by their engine; 250cc of displacement and around 300bhp made these lightweight V12s perfect for racing. Ferrari’s road-going GT cars also benefitted from the racing technology. Many of these machines are now world famous, with examples such as the 250 GTO and California ranked among the most valuable cars in the world.
Ferrari 156 ‘shark nose’
The 156 was the direct result of new grand prix regulations that reduced engine capacity from 2.5 to 1.5 litres. This mid-engined racer featured what became known as a ‘shark nose’, which aimed to improve aerodynamics while maintaining a cool flow of air to the radiators mounted within the nostrils.
Phil Hill used this car to great effect, winning the 1961 World Championship and helping Ferrari claim the International Cup for F1 Manufacturers.
Designed to honour Enzo’s late son, Dino Ferrari, this range of cars was design to be a more affordable way into sports car ownership. Dino is actually credited with designing the V6 used in the car that bears his name. Initially the car was forbidden from wearing the Ferrari shield, but the later Dino 308 GT4 2+2 was eventually given the honour in 1976.
Ferrari 356 GTB/4
Colloquially known as the ‘Daytona’, the 356 GTB/4 continued the Ferrari tradition of front-engined V12 GT cars. Enzo Ferrari was a traditionalist and was reluctant to change the historic formula despite the advantages of mid-engine layouts demonstrated in motor sport. Even today Ferrari continues to produce V12 GTs with the engine up front.
The Daytona was never officially raced by Ferrari itself, but the Prancing Horse did produce three batches of racer variants that made use of aluminium and glassfibre bodies.
Ferrari 365 GT4 BB
While Enzo Ferrari reluctantly created his mid-engined racing cars, he was convinced that fitting a flagship 12-cylinder engine in the middle of a road car would prove too much for customers to handle. Much like in motor sport, Enzo eventually relented to progress and the 356 GT4 BB came into being.
BB stands for Berlinetta Boxer, with the latter B referring to the flat-12 engine mounted midship. This was the first top-flight Ferrari of its kind, a car that set the trend for all of the brand’s halo models that followed. LaFerrari has a lot to be thankful for.
A later 5.0-litre BB 512 upped engine capacity, which added torque but reduced power slightly. In 1981 the BB 512i added fuel injection.
The Ferrari 312T was revealed in 1974, ready for the ’75 season, after extensive testing by Clay Regazzoni and Niki Lauda. This naturally aspirated flat-12-engined car initially presented some teething problems, but these were overcome thanks to further testing and the firm hand of Enzo Ferrari, who promoted a competitive environment among his drivers.
Lauda won the championship in 1975, with Regazzoni helping Ferrari take its first Constructors’ Championship in a decade — an important victory for Lauda and Ferrari.
The 312T continued to evolve over the years, spawning six incarnations in total – many seeing success at the hands of the star.
Enzo Ferrari knew that his reign wouldn’t last forever, and so he wanted to make a statement with a model celebrating 40 years of the brand. The F40 was that car…
Powered by an 2.9-litre twin-turbocharged V8, it was the first road-legal car capable of over 200mph. The F40 was actually born out of the 288 GTO Evoluzione Group B racing project that never got its chance to compete.
This was the last car Enzo Ferrari signed off before his death. What a final act!
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