Ferrari History


Ferrari:                     For the best selection of Ferrari models in Perth WA see the new and custom models section  

Ferrari has been the cornerstone of Grand Prix racing through the whole history of the world championships. The red cars have not always been winners, but they have always been there! Contesting every season and only very occasionally missing a race or races when there was a major technical problem or Enzo Ferrari wanted to make a political point - and they are the cars enthusiasts look for before all others. The Italian team has a unique place, and it remains strongly identified with its founder.

When Enzo Ferrari entered Grand Prix racing in his own name his target was to defeat Alfa Romeo, whose official team his Scuderia Ferrari had represented in the 1930s and when he achieved it he is reported to have said "I have killed my mother". He has not felt similarly sentimental about any of his later rivals….

Ferrari loved 12 cylinder engines and almost inevitably the first Grand Prix Ferrari had a V12. Designed by Gioacchino Colombo this had first appeared in 1946 as a sports car engine, then was used in 1.5 liter form in the first true Ferrari single seater in 1948.

In the absence of the Alfa Romeo team in 1949, these 1.5 liter Ferraris won five races but by the next year a new designer, Aurelio Lampredi had turned to the alternative capacity offered by the regulations and started working towards a 4.5 liter unsuperchasrged engine. This was fully developed by 1951 when Froilan Gonzalez drove a Ferrari 375 to defeat the Alfa Romeo 159 team for the first time. That led to the collapse of racing under those regulations, as Alfa withdrew leaving Ferrari as the only creditable contender.

For 2 years championship races were run for 2 liter unsupercharged cars and the Ferrari Tipo 500 was beaten in only one championship race, the last of 1953. Fortune swung to the other extreme and the opening seasons of the 2.5 liter formula were almost barren, Ferrari's 625 being no match for Maserati, Mercedes and Lancia cars. The near collapse of the Lancia company led to a deal arranged by Fiat, whereby the Lancia GP team material was handed over to Ferrari. These Jano Designed V8 cars were campaigned as Lancia-Ferraris, defending Italian honor against the growing British threat. When Maserati disappeared, this defense became a lone rearguard action with Dino 246 and 256 cars in 1958-59, although Mike Hawthorn did take the 1958 drivers title with just one victory and a string of good placings.

Like every other constructor, Ferrari had to follow the cooper lead and adopt the rear engine layout and for a new Formula in 1961 had a team of Ferrari Dino V6 / Tipo 156 F1 cars designed by ex Alfa Romeo engineer Carlo Chiti. These were ready as the year opened and dominated it, with Phil Hill driving them to become the first American world champion. Then dissent split the team, Chiti and other key personnel left and the British V8 cars held sway.

Mauro Forghieri took over as chief engineer, combining Latin temperament with automotive genius and apart from a period when he was displaced (but had to be hastily reinstated) he has guided the technical aspects of Ferrari's teams ever since.

As the 3 liter Formula, which was to run through to the 1980s, came into effect in 1966 the Ferrari team was again well prepared, with V12 engined cars. The V12 route was natural for Ferrari, for whom "more horsepower" might have been the motto. Partly because of personality clashes within the team, the advantage was squandered in 1966-67 and then the engine was increasingly outclassed by the Cosworth DFV, which was generally mounted in lighter and better mannered chassis.

 Experience led the Ferrari engineers to a horizontally oppose 12 cylinder solution, to an engine which was to the team well from 1970 until1978. Their problem came in other areas, notably in chassis development, and the team was actually withdrawn for a short period in 1973 while these were tackled. Extraordinarily, new monocoque chassis were commissioned form a British company. The introduction of ground effects posed problems for Ferrari in both chassis and engine departments, the flat 12 was suddenly a handicap, as it cylinder heads intruded into space crucial for the under body air flow to be fully utilized. In any case, the turbo engine concept was by then proved and with a sideways glance at supercharging (experimental engines were run with the BB Comprex system) Ferrari went for a V6 with KKK turbochargers, developing it to race worthiness remarkably quickly. This almost coincided with the ban in sliding skirts, which opened the way for power to reign supreme and at some cost to mechanical failures Ferrari had power in abundance.

 The 126Cchassis had distinct shortcomings but Ferrari now had a resident chassis engineer from the British school, Dr Harvey Poslethwaite, who brought in the new carbon fiber composite material technology and the equipment needed for its use in building monocoque was installed at Maranello. With the 126C2 the team achieved mechanical reliability and in the 1983 126C3 they had a chassis to match the best. Not altogether oddly, Ferrari fortunes then slipped a little with the 126C4 in 1984.

 That 1983 combination was more then enough to ensure that Ferrari captured the constructors' championship again. And while the drives' championship captures most public attention, it is the constructors' championship that is all-important to Enzo Ferrari.

 Ferrari Dino V6 / Tipo 156 F1 Car

 Having seen out the last season of the seven year 2.5 liter Formula with the last serious GP contender with a front mounted engine, Ferrari was ready for the 1961 races with the "nostril nosed" rear engined Ferrari Dino V6 Tipo 156 

This had a relatively unsophisticated space frame based on four large diameter tubes, with the engine contributing some stiffening. Suspension was conventional, "traditional" wire wheels were still used and the body was broad and flat toped. This was the era of disk brakes and the car was fitted with Dunlop disks (not ventilated disks as show on the Exoto Ferrari Tipo 156).

 Road holding and handling did not match rival British cars but the V6 Dino engines gave Ferrari a power advantage that was decisive in 1961 - when that was matched by the new British V8 in1962 the Ferrari Dino / Tipo 156 was outclassed. Two twin ohc V6s were used, a 65degree unit developed from an F2 engine and a new 120 degree unit, which was generally used in championship races (the wide angle of the vee helped to lower the car's center on gravity. 

The 120 degree unit is the one seen in CMC's Ferrari Dino F1 156 die-cast model. This is a an exquistit model and very highly detailed surpassing any other dicast model on the market today!

 In Grand Prix, the Ferrari team was beaten only twice in 1961, by Stirling Moss in Rob Walker's Lotus at the top of his form on the "drivers" circuits of Monaco and Nurburgring. Phil Hill gained the world championship driving these Ferraris.  

 Ferrari 312B

 This car typified Ferrari, solid and competent in appearance, competitive in performance. Its heart was a new oversquare horizontally- opposed 12 cylinder engine, with four valves per cylinder operated by twin overhead camshafts.

 This engine played a load bearing role and was mounted under a backbone beam that projected from the back of the quasi monocoque chassis behind the cockpit. Ferrari was still not wholly committed to the full monocoque concept and until forced by safety regulations sought the best of both worlds with stressed skin structure allied to tubes. Suspension was conventional and while brakes were outboard front and rear on the first cars the rear brakes were moved inboard in the revised 1971 car.

 An angular B3 version appeared, but never raced; the sub-designation was applied to another new car, with full monocoque chassis built in England. This version had a pronounced angular shape and the engine was mounted to a bulkhead behind the cockpit in the normal manner. With modifications, this 312B3 served through 1974, being succeeded by the 312T, the letter in that designation being owed to Ferrari's famous trasversale gearbox.

Ferrari 312T

Enzo Ferrari was heard to say that 1974 came a year late. The 312B3 had been so close to winning the Championship that the 'Old Man' could taste it. At the end of 1974 the factory presented the 312T, a brand new car to challenge the 1975 Formula One season.
 
By the time the 312T debuted at Kyalami, South Africa, it was the most eagerly awaited Formula One car since the Lotus 72 five years earlier. What set the Ferrari 312T apart from the 312B3 was the very compact transverse-mounted gearbox positioned ahead of the rear axle and immediately behind the exceptionally reliable, compact and powerful boxer engine.
 
The combination of a compact rear end, redesigned suspension and powerful motor resulted in extremely high perfprmance. Those who watched the 1975 season unfold will recall Lauda demonstrate a remarkably precise driving style that would not have been possible in a lesser car.
  
The technological advances made on the 312T would carry Ferrari through the most exciting and successful period of Formula One competition for the Scuderia. The 312T would evolve into the 312T2, T3, T4 and finally the T5. Although they didn't know it at the time, 1975 would be the first of a Championship hat-trick for Ferrari: 1975-76-77, and yet another Constructors Championship in 1979. Forza Ferrari!

Ferrari 312T2

The FIA changed the rules for 1976 to disallow the high air scoops that made cars like the Ferrari 312T unforgettable. The result was the new 312T2 Ferrari, arguably the most beautiful Ferrari F1 car of its era! It also propelled Ferrari to a second straight Constructors Championship. Had it not been for the near-fatal crash that left Niki Lauda permanently scarred, there is no doubt the 312T2 would have taken the Austrian to a second Drivers Championship. A laurel that Lauda lost by just a single point, despite his absence during the 1976 season.

Ferrari 312T4

In 1979 Ferrari contested the Formula One World Championship with their 312T4. Though not the last, the 312T4 was without a doubt the ultimate evolution of the 3-litre Ferrari flat-12 motor. The 312T4 is rarely referred to as a thing of beauty but the shape of this Championship winning racer is unquestionably functional and purposeful. Inspired by the Lotus 79, the entire chassis and body is designed to act as a giant wing with a vast undertray, sliding skirts, and a broad flat upper surface.
 
Ferrari's greatest challenge was placing their wide engine into the new chassis. Up until then the flat-12 engine had an advantage because of it's ultra-low center of gravity. Now, however, the entire engine would have to be raised to permit sufficient airflow beneath the car, unlike the Ford-Cosworth competition with their V-8 engines. No longer was the low center of gravity an advantage for the Scuderia.


In it's first outing at Kyalami, South Africa, drivers Jody Scheckter and Gilles Villeneuve led the field home in a 1-2 finish. By the end of the 1979 season the 312T4 propelled the dynamic duo to six overall victories, good enough to earn Scheckter and Ferrari the World Drivers and Constructors Championships! The 1979 Ferrari 312T4 goes down in history as one of the great achievements in Formula One engineering: a 3-liter winner amidst turbo-charged competition.

 Ferrari 126C

 Work started on Ferrari's turbo engine early in 1980 and it was shown within six months, made its public debut in practice for the Italian GP, was race worthy for he 1981 season. Perhaps, fortunately for rival teams at that time, Ferrari followed an old tradition and installed it in a mediocre chassis…

 Basically the new engine was a 1.5 liter `120 degree V6, like so many things in the Ferrari repertoire with elements harking back to the past. The KKK turbochargers were in the vee, but the installation of ancillaries around the engine was to change frequently. Initial output was 540 bhp for its first racing season, which made it the most powerful engine on the circuits in 1981.

 However, chassis and suspension shortcomings handicapped drivers in terms of their lap speeds, and led to heavy tire wear. For 1982 Postlethwaite introduced carbon fiber composite constructions, this resulting in a Ferrari monocoque that was adequately stiff. A revised suspension introduced after the opening races in 1982 contributed to the transformation of the car.  

 That season its engine was rated at 580bhp, which on paper was equaled by some rivals and exceeded by the Alfa Romeo 182T and it was increased for the following year. A contentious novelty was the introduction of a water injection system to partly cool the compressed (and therefore heated) gas fed to the cylinders. Arguments raged: was this water a fuel additive or a coolant? Eventually, like so many racing storms, it blew over.

 The flat bottom 126C3 came into use during the 1983 season, when the team was almost frustrated in the championship by detail features. These sometimes resulted from poor preparation - could it have been that the smartly black and yellow uniformed mechanics of recent seasons are a little less painstaking then their baggy grown overalled Ferrari predecessors?

 In Appearance, the 1984 C4 was the smoothest car in the 126 series, and this was reflected in ancillary component installations under the skin. The monocoque was similar to the C3, the engine slightly modified. Although its handling was immeasurably better then the 1980 126C the C4 did not measure up to some of its 1984 rivals in this respect.

Ferrari 641/2

Formula One took a radical turn in 1989. Replacing the turbo-charged formula was a new 3.5-litre formula that leveled the playing field for every team. Ferrari had a trick up their sleeves, however: a semi-automatic gearbox. The system, a first in Formula One, was complex but lightning fast! Once the drivers got used to the paddle-shifter arrangement the technology prooved to be a valuable asset to the Scuderia.
 
Enrique Scalabroni and Steve Nichols turned the Ferrari Tipo 640, which they inherited from Englishman John Barnard, into the 641. The 640 began life on a high-note with Mansell taking victory in Brazil, but the new team turned that car into a true competitor that might have won the 1990 World Championship had Ayrton Senna not crashed into Prost at the season finale in Japan.
 
The 641/2 retained the basic compact and slippery body design of its forebearers, though subtle differences made it an enormously attractive car. The most visible change from the 641 is the hump above each side pod air intake that tapers back into the beautiful teardrop-shaped bodywork. Nicely sculpted ducts on the flanks draw air through the radiators.
 
The Ferrari 641/2 is without a doubt one of the most beautiful shapes Formula One has ever seen. Exoto celebrates this World Championship contender that propelled drivers Alain Prost and Nigel Mansell to six victories with this special polished aluminum collectible.

Ferrari 250 GTO

Many people will argue that the best car in the world is the Ferrari GTO. While more modern supercars surpass the GTO in terms of performance, none excel better in both form and function. During its heyday, the GTO dominated the World Sports Car championship, and it is still one of the most beautiful shapes ever to grace a Ferrari chassis. 

For these reasons, the GTO is one of the most desired and expensive cars. In fact, chassis 3729GT received a high bid of nine million dollars at Bonhams' 1997 Gstaad Auction, but failed to meet its 10 million dollar reserve. Many cars have fetched a higher price privately, but if 3729GT had sold, it would have set the world record price for an automobile at public auction. 

So what is all the fuss about? What we have here is probably the greatest road and track car ever made. It combines sexy styling, championship-winning engineering and exclusivity. Only 39 copies exist and all have colorful histories. 

GTO Development 

For the 1962 manufacturer's championship, focus was switched from sports prototypes to grand touring cars and Ferrari was provided with increased motivation to further develop their 250 GT as much as the rules would allow. They built the 250 Gran Turismo Omologato (GTO), a car named after the homologation process in which it was conceived. 

Providing a base for the GTO was the 250 GT chassis. Starting in 1954, with the 250 Europa GT, the engine, chassis and body of the 250 series evolved into a greater product each year. The final development was the GTO, and it was bulletproof from the start. 

Before the 1962 season, Ferrari assembled a small team led by Giotto Bizzarrini who hacked his old 250 Boano chassis and modified it, in secret, to his own ideas. Fixed was a rather crude body which took advantage of a much lower and shorter dry-sump engine. At the front was a smaller fascia that made the old short wheel base (SWB) look like a brick. Initial test results around Monza showed significant improvements in every area over the SWB Berlinetta and Sperimentale, sometimes called the GTO prototype, that raced at LeMans in 1961. 

Before production of the GTO commenced, Bizzarrini and several key people left Ferrari during the famous Palace Revolt. This left Girolamo Gardini to sort out Ferrari's 1962 sports car. Gardini used most of Bizzarrini's modifications from the test car and added a rear spoiler and watts linkage for stability. 

At their yearly press conference in 1962, Ferrari released no fewer than six different racing models and among these versatile race cars was the production version of the 250 GTO. This supercar would eventually become the most important though, demanding money, attention and acclaim. 

Production GTO 

During its launch, many of the press called the GTO 'a Testa Rossa with a roof'. They rightly named it as such since many of the ideas used on the GTO came straight from Ferrari's prototypes. Every aspect of the GTO's engine was upgraded to reflect the 250 Testa Rossa's. Compared to the older Tipo 168, the newer Tipo 168/62 used larger valves, smaller clearances, lighter materials and dry sump lubrication. 

Designated type 539/62 Comp, the chassis in the GTO was an evolution of the unit found in the 1961 250 GT Competition. Through years of development, this chassis had become more like a space frame, using a higher number of small bracing tubes. Upgrades to the chassis also included new front brakes, a more adjustable, stiffer suspension and a lower driveline. 

Inside, the GTO was very sparse and purposeful. As such, the only covered areas were the thinly clothed seats. No speedometer or odometer was offered, and the only real luxury was the wooden Nardi steering wheel. 

GTO in Action 

During its first year, GTOs decimated the competition. Thus, Ferrari scored maximum points in 1962 Division III Championship. During the fifth round at Le Mans, GTOs placed second and third overall. This was a remarkable result, and proved that the GTO could beat most cars in the prototype category. 

By the end of the first season, Jaguar, Aston Martin and Chevrolet tried to convince the governing body that the GTO was not a GT car. However, Appendix J, Section 254 stated that and modifications introduced after homologation did not disqualify the car if they were a 'normal evolution of the type'. Since the GTO was an 'evolution' of the largely produced 250 GT road car, it was within rules, although the five-speed gearbox and dry sump lubrication were never factory road car options. 

The remaining two seasons would prove very successful for the GTO. Ferrari again took the Division III championships in both 1963 and 1964. By the end of the 1964 season, Shelby-led Daytona Cobras were proving their worth and for the first time GTOs were beaten around Le Mans and Sebring. 

Beyond 1964, the GTO was stretching its potential. Ferrari was unable to homologate their rear engine 250 LM and instead developed a competition version of the 275 GTB, which really became the '65 GTO. These developments left the hat trick of the division III championships to forever highlight the end of Ferrari's 250 series.