FER­RARI TURNS 70

FER­RARI’S 70TH AN­NIVER­SARY IN MARANELLO

New Zealand Classic Car - - Contents - Words and photos: James Ni­cholls

As we all know, Enzo Fer­rari (1898–1988) was the man who gave his name to the pro­duc­tion of some of the world’s fastest and most beau­ti­ful sports and rac­ing cars ever built. The lead­ing Ital­ian coach­builders — Car­rozze­ria Tour­ing, Pin­in­fa­rina, Vig­nale, and Ghia — com­peted to make ever more de­sir­able bod­ies for these amaz­ing Fer­rari chas­sis.

Fer­rari’s his­tory is im­bued with leg­endary au­to­mo­biles boast­ing style and per­for­mance. It was fit­ting, then, that, to cel­e­brate the 70th an­niver­sary of the mar­que es­tab­lished by Il Com­menda­tore, the au­to­mo­tive world gath­ered to­gether in Italy to pay trib­ute to these mag­nif­i­cent mas­ter­pieces of en­gi­neer­ing.

Me­chan­i­cal leg­end

This special week­end be­gan with the pa­rade of over 100 ex­am­ples of the me­chan­i­cal Fer­rari le­gends that would take part in the Con­corso. Lead­ing the charge of ve­hi­cles bear­ing the Cavallino Ram­pante was an ar­ray of cars from the ear­li­est 166 In­ter and 195 In­ter from 1950 through the decades up to the mod­ern icons, the F40, F50, and Enzo, as well as ev­ery­thing in be­tween.

This stun­ning se­lec­tion drove past the Museo Enzo Fer­rari and the house where Enzo was born, and where his fa­ther, Al­fredo, had his work­shop be­side the rail­way lines in Mod­ena. The cars then con­vened at the Ac­cademia Mil­itare at the Palazzo Du­cale, the old­est mil­i­tary univer­sity in the world. Here, in the his­toric cen­tre of the city, the au­to­mo­biles lined up in the Pi­azza Roma for all to marvel at. A luncheon was cre­ated for the own­ers and jury by Miche­lin-star chef Gio­vanni Grasso, and held in the cool shade of the palace’s in­ter­nal court­yard.

Pis­tad­i­fio­rano

Af­ter a main course of fil­let of sea bass, it was on to the start of the main ac­tiv­i­ties, to be held Fer­rari’s pri­vate race track, the pista di Fio­rano. This 3km long cir­cuit is pur­pose- built for test­ing, and the fastest ever lap time of 0.55.999 is held by Fer­rari leg­end Michael Schu­macher in an F2004 For­mula 1 Grand Prix car.

The Con­corso cars were lined up track­side ac­cord­ing to the 19 dif­fer­ent classes to be judged. Mean­while, RM Sotheby’s con­ducted its Leggenda e Pas­sione auc­tion nearby. It gen­er­ated sales of €63M, and a world-record price for a 21st-cen­tury car was set when a stag­ger­ing €8.3M was paid for a 2017 La­fer­rari Aperta char­ity lot for Save the Chil­dren.

Af­ter the auc­tion, there was a buf­fet din­ner for Fer­rari’s 3000 in­vited guests, who were treated to a mar­vel­lous spec­ta­cle. De­spite the driv­ing rain, thun­der, and light­ning, the show went on, fea­tur­ing a host of ac­ro­bats, dancers, celebri­ties, driv­ers (in­clud­ing Se­bas­tian Vet­tel and Kimi Räikkö­nen), and cars com­bin­ing to pro­vide a glo­ri­ous cel­e­bra­tion of Fer­rari’s his­tory in move­ment, colour, and sound. Highlights were the con­tri­bu­tion of the mem­bers of the afore­men­tioned Mil­i­tary

Academy in their splen­did uni­forms and the clos­ing set by tifoso Jay Kay.

On Sun­day, it was judg­ing time. As one might ex­pect, all the cars to be judged in the Con­corso d’el­e­ganza — from all over the world and as far afield as New Zealand and Mex­ico — were of the high­est order. Fifty-five im­mac­u­lately pre­sented ex­am­ples were be­stowed prizes by the mem­bers of the jury, which was com­posed of such mo­tor­ing lu­mi­nar­ies as lead­ing his­to­rian Adolfo Orsi, rac­ing le­gends Ar­turo Merzario (who saved Niki Lauda from the flames at the Nür­bur­gring) and Le Mans win­ner Nino Vac­carella, plus a whole host of Fer­rari ex­perts such as Richard Fritz, who man­aged the North Amer­i­can Rac­ing Team (NART) and was a di­rec­tor of Luigi Chinetti Mo­tors in New York.

Special praise

Among the class win­ners, those de­serv­ing of special praise were the glo­ri­ous 1954 250GT coupé by Vig­nale built es­pe­cially for Princess Lil­iane de Réthy of Bel­gium; the 1957 250 Cal­i­for­nia Spi­der pro­to­type; the 1959 410 Su­per­amer­ica; the unique 1956 250GT coupé with its char­ac­ter­is­tic dou­ble­hump roof; and the 1950 166 MM, which ran in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1941 with Yvonne Si­mon and Betty Haig as pi­lots.

At the end of the af­ter­noon, the two Best of Show win­ners were an­nounced. For the com­pe­ti­tion cars, the first prize went to the 1953 340 MM Vig­nale Spi­der, which was the win­ner of the Giro di Si­cilia, and then the 1953 Mille Miglia when its driver, Conte Gian­nino Mar­zotto, set a new av­er­age speed record of over 142kph.

The win­ner of the road-go­ing Best of Show cat­e­gory was a sur­prise to many, but there could be no dis­put­ing of the beauty of the silver 1986 Tes­tarossa. This unique road­ster ex­am­ple of the Tes­tarossa was built specif­i­cally for Gianni Agnelli to cel­e­brate the 20th an­niver­sary of his ap­point­ment as pres­i­dent of Fiat in 1966. In his favourite Ar­gento colour, with a blue line run­ning around the pas­sen­ger com­part­ment and along the sill and a blue in­te­rior, it is a stun­ning car with its dis­tinc­tive ‘TO 00000G’ num­ber plate.

Apart from the dra­matic storm adding to the spec­ta­cle of Satur­day evening’s ex­trav­a­ganza, the weather was benev­o­lent. Pos­si­bly, this was just a fur­ther ex­am­ple of Enzo Fer­rari’s metic­u­lous at­ten­tion to de­tail and tes­ti­mony to the show­man­ship of his cre­ations.

Forza Fer­rari!

“Pos­si­bly, this was just a fur­ther ex­am­ple of Enzo Fer­rari’s metic­u­lous at­ten­tion to de­tail and tes­ti­mony to the show­man­ship of his cre­ations”

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