Ferrari is one of the most famous names in post 1945 automobile history. Enzo Ferrari started his career as a mechanic at Alfa Romeo. In the year 1923 Alfa Romeo offered him the opportunity to become (test) driver for the Alfa Romeo racing team. Enzo Ferrari was not very successful as a racingcar driver so he was made responsible for the organization and technical problem solving within the racing team. Soon Enzo Ferrari was asked to be the team manager of Scruderia Alfa Romeo; and he was successful winning many races and championships for Alfa Romeo. As Alfa Romeo decided to end their racing activities Enzo Ferrari decided to start his own racing team; Scruderia Ferrari. Scruderia Ferrari was racing Alfa Romeo cars and they were very successful in the thirties of the twentieth century. In the late thirties the competition of Auto Union and Mercedes-Benz became too strong so Alfa Romeo decided to stop the production of racing cars. Enzo Ferrari decided to construct and produce his own racing car which became reality in the year 1940; the Auto Avia tipo 815. The car was based upon Fiat mechanics and was not successful. After world war two, in the year 1945, Enzo Ferrari asked his old friend and engineer Colombo to work with him developing a new racing car. Colombo constructed the legendary Ferrari 60° V12 engine with two overhead camshafts (one per cylinder row). The V12 engine had a capacity of 1500 cc. and the unit saw it's debut in the Ferrari 125 S. This prototype was going to be evaluated and in 1947 the result was the first Ferrari production sportscar; the Ferrari 166. The tipo 166 design was inspired by the open "Barchetta" style being introduced by carrosseria Touring. The Colombo V12 engine was enlarged to 1995 cc. and the power output reached 200 bhp. at 7000 rpm... The Ferrari tipo 166 would be responsible for the eternal fame of the Ferrari name... In the year 1949 driver Luigi Chinetti was able to win the 24 hours race of Le Mans for Ferrari and a few months later they won the 1949 Mille Miglia... Ferrari was going to win many Grand Prix and sportscar races around the world in the years to come. In our modern days Scruderia Ferrari is the team to beat in the Formula 1 Grand Prix Championship with driver Michael Schumacher. In the continuation of the Ferrari history we will not highlight the Ferrari racing activities but we will focus on the Ferrari V12 sportscars with front mounted engine built until 1985.
Unlike many similar yet independent companies, Fiat Group-owned Ferrari continued to thrive after the death of its charismatic founder and is today one of the most successful sports car companies in the world.
1947 - The beginning
The first Ferrari road car was the 1947 125 Sport, powered by a 1.5 L V12 engine; Enzo reluctantly built and sold his automobiles to fund the Scuderia. While his beautiful and blazingly fast cars quickly gained a reputation for excellence, Enzo maintained a famous distaste for his customers, most of whom he felt were buying his cars for the prestige and not the performance.
1961 - The great walkout
Enzo Ferrari's strong personality had served his company and racing team well for decades. But internal tensions reached the boiling point in November 1961 Long-time sales manager, Girolamo Gardini, had long chafed at Enzo's wife, Laura's, involvement in the company. The two frequently argued, but their dispute became a crisis for the company when Gardini made an ultimatum to Enzo: If tensions continued, he would leave the company.
Enzo was never a man to accept a challenge to his authority, and he dealt with the situation with a typically heavy hand. Gardini was ousted, as was Scuderia Ferrari manager, Romolo Tavoni, chief engineer Carlo Chiti, experimental sports car development chief, Giotto Bizzarrini, and a number of others who stood by them. All were tremendous losses to the company, and many thought this might be the end of Ferrari. Indeed, the defectors immediately formed a new company, ATS, to directly compete with Ferrari on the street and the track, and took with them Scuderia Serenissima, one of Ferrari's best racing customers.
This "great walkout" came at an especially difficult time for Ferrari. At the urging of Chiti, the company was developing a new 250-based model to defend its honor against the Jaguar E-Type. Development of this car, the 250 GTO, was at a critical point, with the chassis development and styling left incomplete. Even if the car could be finished, it was unclear if it could be raced successfully without Tavoni and his lieutenants.
Into this void stepped young engineer Mauro Forghieri and long-time racing bodyman, Sergio Scaglietti. Both were up to the task, with Forghieri successfully honing the GTO's handling and Scaglietti designing an all-new body for the car. The GTO went to Sebring with driver Phil Hill and placed first in class. It continued winning through 1962, brushing aside the challenge from Jaguar and becoming one of the most famous sports cars in history.
This shakeup, and Forghieri's engineering talent, made the 1960s even more successful for Ferrari than the previous decade. The mid-engined Dino racers laid the foundation for Forghieri's dominant 250-powered 250 P. On the street, the Dino road cars sold strongly, and legendary models like the 275 and Daytona were on the way.
1963-1967 - The US rivals
The big V8-powered Shelby Cobra developed and built by the American entrepreneur Carroll Shelby challenged the Ferraris in the early 1960s. By mid 60's, Ford tried to buy Ferrari but no agreement was reached. Instead, after being defeated in 1964 and 1965 races the Ford GT40 ended the dominance of Ferrari Prototypes at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966 when the GT-40 Mark II dominated the race with a 1-2-3 finish.. Ford would win again in 1967, this time with its Mark IV prototype and also in 1968 and 1969 with the Gulf-Wyer entered Ford GT-40 Mk.I cars winning both years to close out the decade against the new and upcoming Porsche 917.
1968 - Ferrari boycott
After the performance of the big V8-powered Ford at the 1967 Le Mans, the FIA banned prototypes over 3000cc, which also affected the Ferrari 330P models. This was announced in late 1967 and came in effect for 1968, and the Scuderia did not take part in Sports car racing in order to protest this.
1969-1971 - Porsche
These years saw a new challenger. Formerly competing with smaller cars only, the Germans entered the new 3 litre sports car prototype class in 1968 with the Porsche 908, while Ferrari raced the Ferrari 312P in only few events in 1969. In March of that year, the presentation of the 5 litre Porsche 917, built in advance in 25 exemplars, had surprised also Ferrari, which answered later that year with the production of 25 Ferrari 512S, funded from the money gained by the FIAT deal. At that time, Porsche had almost a full season of experience with their new car, though, and also taken the World Sportscar Championship where Ferrari was only 4th.
The year 1970 saw epic battles between the two teams and the many cars they entered, yet Porsche won all races except the 12 Hours of Sebring, where the victorious car and its drivers Ignazio Giunti/Nino Vaccarella/Mario Andretti had their origins in Italy. Ferrari decided to give up the 512 in 1971 in order to prepare the new Ferrari 312PB for the 1972 season, when only 3 litre class would be allowed. In addition to Porsche, the old national rival with its Alfa Romeo T33/3 also had won two races in 1971, and thus was ranked 2nd in the World Championship, above Ferrari.
1969 - Fiat
Early in 1969 Fiat took a 50% stake in Ferrari. An immediate result was an increase in available investment funds, and work started at once on a factory extension intended to transfer production from Fiat's Turin plant of the Ferrari engined Fiat Dino. New model investment further up in the Ferrari range also received a boost.
Less positive was the effect on industrial relations at Ferrari's Maranello plant. In June a visiting journalist witnessed a group of workers suddenly running out of a work-shop in response to the blast of a whistle: this was part of an industrial stoppage originating at the main Fiat plant in Turin, and contrasted with the relatively smooth state of production that the writer had witnessed at competitor plants nearby.
While increased Fiat influence was quickly felt in the development, production and marketing of road cars, the racing department remained initially little touched by Fiat's new status within the company as chief investor.
1972-1973 - dominance, defeats and fare-well
The Ferrari 312PB models dominated the World Sportscar Championship in 1972 against a rival Alfa Romeo, as the Porsche factory did not compete after the rule changes, and Matra focused on Le Mans only. In their home race, the French won, as Ferrari did not enter in 1972 due insufficient reliability over 24 hours, in order not to blemish their otherwise perfect record in that season.
In 1973, though, the Matra team also challenged for the championship which Ferrari eventually lost with two wins, compared to Matra's five, while Alfa Romeo had not entered that year. In addition, Ferrari was now forced to race also at Le Mans, despite concerns that even the modified engine would not last. Yet, one car survived and scored an unexpected and honourable 2nd place.
Ferrari then retired from Sports car racing to focus on the ailing F1 effort.
1988 - The Death Of Enzo
When Enzo died in 1988, Ferrari finally became a mythos. The value of used cars rose, as well as sales of current models. The last new model he commissioned was the specialist F40.
1996 - Champion Schumacher to Scuderia Ferrari
The hiring of Michael Schumacher and other members from Benetton triggered a comeback of the F1 team, with three wins in 1996, and close yet eventually losing challenges to the driver's championship in the years 1997 to 1999.
2000-2004 - Schumacher Dominates F1
In an unprecedented and record-setting fashion, Schumacher and Ferrari dominate F1 winning the World Driver's championship from 2000 through 2004 and the Constructors' Championship from 1999 through 2004. 2006 saw him retire from F1.
As of 2008, Fiat Group owns 85% of Ferrari, Mubadala Development Company owns 5%, and Enzo's second son Piero Ferrari owns 10%. Of these, Ferrari is under main control of the Fiat Group, containing Alfa Romeo as well.