There are and there were great sports cars in the world. But when you ask somebody whether he is a nobody or a superstar about a sports car only Ferrari will be on their lips.
Almost every car Ferrari launched since its first Ferrari badge production car roll out in 1947 have become iconic. Although its roots traces back to 1929 when Enzo formed the Scuderia Ferrari racing team. And it started business as Auto Avio Costruzioni founded by Enzo Ferrari in 1939 headquartered in the facilities of the old Scuderia Ferrari in Modena.
So its really hard to select any seven. My criteria is not to select best or popular or critically welcomed but that helped defining the name Ferrari as we know it. Lets start the countdown.
The 125 S was the first vehicle to bear the Ferrari name when it debuted on May 11, 1947 at the Piacenza racing circuit. But the 1,500 cm³ 12-cylinder 125 S was unable to finish the race, despite a favorable showing against the strong Maserati 6CS 1500s.
Two weeks later, on the 25th of the same month the 125 S claimed Ferrari’s first victory at the Grand Prix of Rome on the Terme di Caracalla Circuit, where it was also driven by Cortese. The 125 S won six of its fourteen races in 1947. So it has to be on the list. As it was from here where true journey of brand Ferrari started.
Having the distinction of being Ferrari’s first road car, the 166 Inter set a high standard of engineering and style. This was Ferrari’s first 12-cylinder engine to reach 2-litre capacity.
This model was one of the first to do well outside Italy, helping to build a reputation for Ferrari in the all-important American market. The hand build 166 Inter was the road version of the 166 sports racing model produced between 1948 and 1950.
The 250 GTO was born out of the storm that was threatening to engulf the company. On one hand Jaguar E-type had emerged as a powerful adversary and on the other hand the Great Walkout. GTO was in mid of development when Gardini (Long-time sales manager), Tavoni (manager ), Chiti (chief engineer), Bizzarrini (experimental sports car development chief ) and a number of others who stood by them were ousted following feud with Enzo’s wife Laura.
All were tremendous losses to the company, and many thought this might be the end for company. Most of all It was 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.
Here stepped young gun in the guise of engineer Mauro Forghieri and long-time racing bodyman Sergio Scaglietti. Forghieri successfully honed the GTO’s handling and Scaglietti designed 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.
The company called is the new 312 P and was Ferrari to race in the World Sports car Championship. By the 70’s, Ferrari was facing stiff competition with Porsche and Alfa Romeo. The company’s racing department lost many races in the World Sports car Championship. It decided to give up the 512 in 1971 in order to prepare the new 312PB for the 1972 season, when only 3 litre class would be allowed. The 312PB dominated the World Sportscar Championship in 1972 against a rival Alfa Romeo, as the Porsche factory did not compete after the rule changes.
In 1973, Ferrari with two wins eventually lost the championship. In addition, Company was forced to race at Le Mans, despite concerns that even the modified engine would not last. Yet, one car survived and scored an unexpected and honorable 2nd place. It was last of Ferrari in Sports car racing and decided to retire from the sports in order to focus on the railing F1 effort.
In the mid 1980s, Ferrari considered an entry into the insane world the World Rally Championship’s Group B class. Taking the Ferrari 308 as a base, the twin turbocharged Ferrari 288 GTO was made to take on the likes of the Lancia O37 and the nearly invincible Audi Quattro.
Sadly, in 1986, after the death of Henry Toivonen and co-driver Sergio Cresto at the Rally De Corse in Corsica, Group B was banned before the 288 GTO could ever take to the rally stages. It ensured that all the 272 cars were never used for racing.
The 288 GTO was also only the second car ever in the Ferrari lineup to take on the GTO – Gran Tourismo Omologato (Grand Touring Homologation Special) moniker until the 599 GTO came along in 2010.
The last car made under the guidance of Enzo Ferrari before his death. The Ferrari F40 was made extensively out of carbon fibre and Kevlar. And had a mid mounted 2.9 litre engine making 478 bhp, with a large clamshell bonnet. This bonnet became as iconic as the car itself.
The F40 featured a no-nonsense approach to performance with bare basic interiors, exposed carbon everywhere and racing bucket seats. As it featured an outrageous aero, an even more outrageous engine and the top speed of 201 mph!.
Only a total of 1311 F40s ever made. Originally sold at a price of $400,000 in 1988. The F40 also became the poster car of choice for a whole generation of millennials.
This was made in the remembrance of Legend Enzo. Made of carbon fiber, 349 Enzo’s were made Originally. And with invitations to buy the car going out to people who had bought the F40 and the F50 (both!). All cars were pre-sold before the launch.
But a little more public pressure meant that Ferrari conceded to make 50 more cars. In 2004, Ferrari made one last Enzo specially for the Pope and the Vatican. Enzo #400 was eventually sold at auction for over $1.1 million.
The Enzo also spawned Ferrari XX division. The XX race division made the FXX based on the Enzo. Too outrageous to be driven on the road and too much tech to conform to any sort of racing series. The FXX is essentially a very very expensive track toy for a few exclusive people who can afford one.
As I said earlier, almost all Ferrari are iconic car but that was not the criteria. You have other stories let me know. For more auto related news keep reading The Autolane.