FERRARI TURNS 70
FERRARI’S 70TH ANNIVERSARY IN MARANELLO
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.
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.
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.
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.
“Possibly, this was just a further example of Enzo Ferrari’s meticulous attention to detail and testimony to the showmanship of his creations”