Turn the clock back, and you come to a time when Ferrari WAS motor racing. The story of the world-renowned Italian marque revolves around a man who dedicated himself to the sport: Enzo Ferrari. In Formula One and sports car racing, also in GT and Formula Two, Ferraris have triumphed. The team has survived lean years when success has eluded it, when its drivers have been killed or injured, but on every occasion Ferrari has rebounded to the top. Everyone knows the factory at Maranello has produced some of the most sought-after high-performance cars in the world. Road-going Ferraris are more than mere status symbols, they exemplify perfection in metal for their delighted owners.
The Enzo Ferrari Story
Enzo Ferrari was born on 18 February 1898. With his elder brother, Alfredo, he shared a room over his father's metal-construction workshops which adjoined the Ferraris' house on the outskirts of Modena, a town in northern Italy in the Emilia-Romagna region. At the age of ten he was taken by his father and brother to watch his first motor race, the Circuit of Bologna.
The young Ferrari had three ambitions in life: opera, journalism and motor racing. He hadn't an ear for music, which ruled out singing, but he did dabble in journalism in later years, publishing a magazine Scuderia Ferrari. Motor racing, however, was number one on his list. By 1911, at the age of thirteen, he had persuaded his father to let him pilot the family car. His father's business had extended beyond making equipment for the Italian state railway to car repairs.
Enzo enjoyed practical work but shunned a proper engineering apprenticeship. Called up to serve in the Italian Army during World War 1, Ferrari was posted to the Third Mountain Artillery. Initially he had to shoe mules, but later he talked his way into tinkering with engines. In the bitterly cold winter of 1918-1919 Ferrari travelled to Turin to seek employment with Fiat
, only to be given the brush-off. Soon his luck changed.
After almost exhausting a small inheritance from his father he obtained a job testing lorry chassis adapted to take car bodies. Part of the work included driving the bare chassis to the bodybuilders in Milan and it was here that Ferrari became aquainted with many of his boyhood racing heroes, including Nazzaro. Ferrari also met an ex-cycle racer, Ugo Sivocci, then chief tester with Construzioni Meccaniche Mazionali, and he ultimately joined that company.
The Parma-Poggia de Berceto Hill-Climb
At the end of 1919 came Ferrari's grand chance. He was invited to drive for CMN in the Parma-Poggia de Berceto hill-climb, where he was fourth, and then in the famous Targa Florio, where he was ninth after considerable delays. In 1920, Ferrari joined Alfa Romeo as a driver and tester. Racing a 4.2-liter Type 20/30, he opened his innings with this famous marque with a second place in the Targa Florio
and victory in the Aosta-Grand St Bernard hill-climb. Later successes included second place in the 1921 Circuit of MugeIlo, a win in the 1923 Circuit of Savio, first in the 1924 Coppa Acerbo, Circuit of Savio and Circuit of Polesine races and victory in the 1927 and 1928 Circuit of Modena events.
Count Enrico Baracca
All these were scored in various Alfa Romeos, often against more powerful opposition. With an 1100 cc Talbot, Ferrari also took second places in the Circuit of Montenaro and the Circuit of Pescara Voitureue races in 1931. His final win was in the minor Bobbio-PeIlice race of 1932, driving an Alfa Romeo. Ferrari's most famous victory was the 1923 Circuit of Savio at Ravenna. Driving a 3-liter Alfa Romeo RL Sport, he completely dominated the race, utterly demoralising drivers of more powerful cars as he smashed the lap record. Here Ferrari met Count Enrico Baracca, the father of Franco Baracca, a legendary fighter pilot in World War 1 who, like Ferrari, was born in Modena.
The Cavallino Rampante
Franco Baracca had shot down 34 adversaries before he himself was killed in 1918. On the side of his aeroplane he had placed his personal mascot, a black painted figure of a prancing horse, the Cavallino Rampante. The Countess Paolina Baracca, on meeting Ferrari, gave him permission to use the emblem on his cars. Ferrari added a gold shield, the color of Modena, and it was proudly borne on his personal racing cars. From 1933, the prancing horse was painted on Scuderia Ferrari team cars and it is seen to this day. The racing career of Enzo Ferrari was often interrupted by ill-health and it ceased in 1932 when his son, Dino, was born.
Team Scuderia Ferrari
In 1929, he had left Alfa Romeo to form his own team, Scuderia Ferrari. This was based at Ferrari's now-enlarged, two-storey building at Modena. Scuderia Ferrari, in addition to being appointed an Alfa Romeo distributor, was responsible for maintaining customers' competition cars and, most important of all, fielding the Alfa Romeo works team. Alfa kept more than a finger on the pulse until the end of 1932, when their finances were weak and they came under State ownership. Scuderia Ferrari carried on, however, although the opposition from the Nazi-backed Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union teams began to tell from 1934 onwards.
Enzo Ferrari built two cars to compete in the 1940 Mille Miglia, known simply as '185s' due to an arrangement Enzo had with Alfa Romeo. Strangely, the cars were listed in the race programmes as Ferraris - unfortunately both cars were to retire.
Enzo Ferrari - his keen eye for building race thoroughbreds seemed to be stamped on every car that left the Maranello factory.
Ferrari 250MM, with Pininfarina designed body
1954 Ferrari 750 Monza, which was powered by an in-line twin-overhead=cam 3 liter engine.
1951 Ferrari Experimental GP car, which actually featured in early 1951 season races. It was fitted with a 2.5 liter V12.
Naked 1951 Ferrari Experimental GP car - it would come second in the Syracuse GP driven by Serafini.
Similar to the 750 Monza above, this is actually a 1956 250S.
Ferrari V12 from a 250GT Testa Rossa.
1948 V12 2-liter engine used in the 166 series.
1961 Ferrari 250GT, built by Scaglietti with bodywork designed by Pininfarina.
1961 Ferrari 248P, which was fitted with an eight-cylinder engine.
1965 Ferrari Dino 166. These were named after Enzo's son, who died in 1956 at the age of 24.
1966 Ferrari 330GIC, which had bodywork by Pininfarina.
Chris Amon pictured at Monaco in his Ferrari 312 in 1969.
Ferrari 250 Coupe. It was fitted with the famous Ferrari V12 3 liter engine. The designation 250 referred to the cubic capacity of each individual cylinder.
1969 Dino 246 GTS, identical to the 246GT except that it had a removable roof panel which could be stowed in the trunk.
Niki Lauda gave the constructor's championship back to Ferrari in 1975 and 1976, partnered by Clay Regazzoni. Lauda was also the 1975 World Champion driver. This picture was taken in Austria in 1976 in his 312T.
The front engined Ferrari 365GTB Berlinetta Daytona, capable of 175 miles per hour, and featuring a gearbox mounted in unit with the differential.
Ferrari 308 GTB.
In 1938, Alfa Romeo formed a new company to take control of their racing programme. It was known as Alfa Corse, and Enzo Ferrari was retained as manager. However, Ferrari did not see eye-to-eye with the newly appointed director, Wilfredo Ricart, and he quit the scene in 1939. Beforehand, Ferrari had been instrumental in the birth of the Alfa Romeo 158 Voiturette programme. Ferrari left Alfa Romeo having agreed not to reform his team or 'engage in motor racing activities' for four years. However, using the proceeds of the liquidation of Scuderia Ferrari plus his pay-off from Alfa, he formed the Societa Auto Avio Construzioni Ferrari and engaged Alberto Massimino to design two cars for the 1940 Mille Miglia
Entered in the 1½
-liter class in this drastically shortened race, the cars were simply known as '815S' (although they mysteriously appeared on the entry list as 'Ferrari 815s') and used several Fiat components, including two 508C cylinder heads on a straight-eight aluminum block. During World War 2, Ferrari manufactured German-type grinding machines. At the end of 1943, Italian decentralisation laws decreed that Ferrari had to move from Modena. He chose Maranello, 12 miles to the south, at the foot of the Frigano hills. The Maranello factory was twice bombed in the latter days of the war, but was rebuilt in 1946, the year Enzo Ferrari announced that he was to build the first racing car officially to bear his name.
Throughout the war years Ferrari and Bazzi had dreamed of future racing machinery and Ferrari ultimately decided to build a 12-cylinder machine. He remembered photographs he had seen of a 1914 Packard Indianapolis car and a 1924 Delage and, above all, he had fallen in love with the sound of a '12'. A 60 deg. V12 of 1498 cc was designed by Colombo and this basic unit was to form the foundation of Ferrari power for many years. Initial plans boasted that three Ferraris would be built: a road-going sports car, a competition sports car and a single-seater; the last-named was to have a supercharged engine.
Giuseppe Farina and Franco Cortese
The competition sports car was the first to be seen, type-numbered the 12SC. Two cars appeared at Piacenza on 11th May 1947, driven by Giuseppe Farina and Franco Cortese. Farina crashed, but Cortese made up for a poor start and took the lead. However, with two laps to go Cortese spluttered to a halt with fuel pump failure. The scream of 12 cylinders was to be heard later in the year as Nuvolari, Scuderia Ferrari's most famous pre-war driver and now 53-years-old and in failing health, won the Arcangeli Grand Prix at Forli by over a lap and then won the Circuit of Parma.
The Ferrari 159, first seen in August, had its engine increased to r.o liters and Raymond Sommer secured a victory at Turin. In 1948, the first of the famous line of 166 series Ferraris appeared. Basically, these were powered by full 2-liter versions of the V12 engine and they remained in production until 1953. Clemente Biondetti took a Ferrari 166 to victory in the 1948 Mille Miglia and the combined Targa Florio/Tour of Sicily and repeated the dose in 1949, while Ferrari's first Le Mans victory came in 1949 with Luigi Chinetti and Lord Selsdon sharing a 166 MM. In 1950 the 195 variation, a 2.3-Iitre model, was introduced, followed by the 2.6-liter 212 the same year and the 2.7-liter 225 in 1952.
Ferrari's chief interest was, of course, Formula One. The Gran Premia version of the original Tipo 125 appeared in the Italian Grand Prix at Valentino Park on 5 September 1948. Three cars were listed for Giuseppe Farina, Raymond Sommer and B. Bira and, of these, only Sommer was destined to finish - in third place behind Jean-Pierre Wimille's Alfa Romeo 158 and Luigi Villoresi's Maserati 4CL T/48. Later in the year Farina won at Lake Garda, notching up thefirst win for the Grand Prix Ferrari. Alfa Romeo withdrew in 1949, but rejoined the fray the following year with the inauguration of the World Championship.
Ferrari himself had helped evolve the 'Alfetta' cars back in 1938 and realised that his 125S would be no match for them. In the winter of 1949-1950 Ferrari decided to explore the alternative avenue then open in Formula One: an unsupercharged 4½
-liter engine in place of a supercharged 1½
-liter. Alfredo Lampredi, who had replaced design consultant Colombo, developed a V12 engine which started life as a 3.3-lirre unit and, after an interim period at 4.1 liters, became the full 4½
liters in time for the Italian Grand Prix. Alberto Ascari's Ferrari led the early stages of the race: the threat was there!
It Was Like Killing My Mother
In 1951, Ferrari finally beat Alfa Romeo. 'It was like killing my mother,' Enzo Ferrari is reported to have said when burly Argentinian Jose Froilan Gonzalez opposite-locked his Ferrari 375 round the Silverstone
circuit to beat Juan Manuel Fangio's Alfa Romeo 158 in the British Grand Prix. As had been customary since 1948, Ferrari cars swept the board in Formula Two in 1951, private owners scoring many of the successes in the V12 166C cars. However Ferrari looked to the future. Lampredi designed a new four-cylinder engine which was easier to maintain than a '12' and, with a large bore, offered better acceleration qualities
It transpired Ferrari were well prepared, as, with Alfa Romeo retiring and BRM as unreliable as ever, Formula One was doomed. Only Ferrari had competitive cars! The FIA decided to run the World Championship for Formula Two cars in 1952 and 1953. The 1952 and 1953 seasons provided Ferrari with their most successful years to date. The 2-liter Ferrari 500 won Alberto Ascari two World Championships; he won six out of seven championship Grands Prix in 1952 (he did not start the seventh) and five out of eight in 1953. Other team drivers Piero Taruffi, Mike Hawthorn and Giuseppe Farina also won races, leaving arch-rival Maserati with but one victory.
Backtracking to Ferrari's sports-car programme, Lampredi's V12, which shattered Alfa Rorneo's stronghold in Formula One, was initially developed in the 265S sports car in 1950. A 4.1-liter engine was used in the 340 series announced in 1950, and first raced in 1951 when Luigi Villoresi gave it a victorious maiden outing in the Mille Miglia
. Several versions of the 340 were made and sold, clothed in various designs from Italian coach builders Pininfarina and Superleggera Touring. The 4.5 and 4·9-liter 375 and 375 Plus Ferraris replaced the 340, plucking some important successes for Ferrari, including the 1954 Le Mans 24 hours
Ferrari also won the World Sports Car Championship in 1953 and 1954. The first of a famous line of cars - the 250 series - was revealed in 1952 when Giovanni Bracco drove the development Ferrari 250 Sport to victory in the Mille Miglia. Later models were called the 250 Mille Miglia and, at the Paris Salon in the autumn of 1953, the road-going GT version was announced: the 250 Europa. At first Lampredi-designed engines of 2963cc were installed, but from late 1954, production continued with the Colombo-inspired engine of 2953cc. Over the years the 250 developed to become Ferrari's chief production car.
The Ferrari 250 GT
The famous 250 GT model was announced in 1956, and in 1964 the engine was enlarged to 3.3 liters and powered the 275 GTB/GTS range, the first Ferrari GT cars to feature independent rear suspension. After their two glorious World Championship years with Ascari, Ferrari were perhaps complacent about the 1954 2½
-liter Formula One. They prepared a modified version of the trusty 500, known as the 625, and the 553 (or Squalo). Both were powered by four-cylinder engines, the 553 featuring a shorter-stroke, higher-revving unit. It was a poor season for Ferrari. The new Mercedes-Benz W196 easily eclipsed the machines from Maranello, while the Maserati 250F (designed by former Ferrari man Colombo) was also superior.
The Super Squalos
Gonzalez won the British Grand Prix in a 625 and Hawthorn the Spanish Grand Prix in a modified 553, after soul-stirring drives. Basically, Ferrari's problem was that the 625 was underpowered and the 553 handled terribly; a temporary solution was to adapt the 553 engine to fit the 625. Lampredi left in 1955, and Ferrari had to make do with updated 625s and modified Squalos, now known as 555s or Super Squalos. In yet another miserable year the only championship race success was Trintignant's lucky win in the Monaco Grand Prix in a 625A. During 1955, the promising Lancia D50 Formula One cars were withdrawn as a result of financial problems and the death of team leader Ascari.
The Italian Automobile Club, worried at Ferrari's lack of success and the continued domination by Mercedes-Benz, arranged for Lancia to hand over their cars to Ferrari - lock, stock and barrel - together with the services of Vittorio Jano, the designer, who was well known to Ferrari in pre-war days. Furthermore, Fiat agreed to give a grant of 50 million lire per annum for five years. The following season saw Ferrari bounce back to the top. After experimenting with various mixtures of Lancia and Ferrari parts, Ferrari-modified Lancias were used successfully by Juan Manuel Fangio (enticed into the team after Mercedes' withdrawal) to win the World Championship.
In 1957 Ferrari continued with much-modified cars which could genuinely be called Ferraris (the type number was 801), but despite lengthy experiments little extra power could be coaxed from the Lancia-inspired V8 engines. The result was a shocking season with Ferrari failing to win a championship nice in the face of Maserati and Vanwall opposition. Yet another new chapter in the Ferrari saga began in 1957. Jano, retained as design consultant, evolved a 1½
-liter V6 engine for the new Formula Two. Although rarely seen throughout the formula (1957- 1960) it was a powerful motor and won races. However, it had another application: Formula One.
With the 1958 regulations insisting on 130-octane aviation fuel instead of the special brews of before, Ferrari decided to develop the V6 instead of modifying the disappointing V8. Experimental 1860cc and 2195cc engines were raced in Formula Two chassis at end-of-season non-championship Formula One races, culminating in a 2417cc unit powering the 1958 Formula One cars which were known as Ferrari Dino 246s. The Dino was named after Ferrari's beloved son who died in June 1956 of a nephritus virus, aged 24. He had been instrumental in the V6 engine project and his death proved a shattering blow to Enzo Ferrari.
The 1958 season was one of mixed fortunes. Mike Hawthorn won the World Championship from Vanwall driver Stirling Moss, yet only won one Grand Prix to Moss's four, but team drivers Luigi Musso and Peter Collins were killed in race accidents. Hawthorn announced his retirement in October, but was fatally injured in a road accident in January 1959. In 1959, Ferrari's Formula One strength comprised Jean Behra, Tony Brooks, Phil Hill and Dan Gurney in the revised Dino 246 models.
Brooks won the French and German Grands Prix, but the small, lightweight and less powerful Cooper-Climaxes proved the sensation of the year and outclassed the Ferraris on most other circuits. The situation was even more serious in 1960, Ferrari's only victory being Phil Hill's in the Italian Grand Prix, a hollow win considering that the British teams went on strike! New designer Carlo Chiti built a rear-engined car, which appeared from time to time, but it was less than successful. In sports-car racing, however, Ferrari were enjoying more success. During the period of the World Sports Car Championship (1953 - 1961) Ferrari only failed to win the series twice, losing in 1955 to Mercedes-Benz and in 1959 to Asron Martin.
Ferrari sports-car designs were prolific and in-line, four-cylinder, in-line six-cylinder and V6-engined cars were seen in the late-1950s with the inevitable V12s. The in-line '6s' were from the Lampredi regime and were quickly dropped after his departure in mid-1955, their only major success being Piero Taruffi's victory in the 1955 Tour of Sicily with the 3747cc 118 LM. Several large-capacity V12s were built, including the 4022cc 335 with which Taruffi won the last of the classic road-racing Mille Miglias in 1957
Phil Hill and Wolfgang von Trips
The 3-liter V12, as used in the 250 GT, powered ssuccessful Ferrari sports-racing cars in the late 1950s, while the newer V6 configuration was first seen experimentally in sports cars from 1958. In 1961, Ferrari went rear-engined in earnest. This was the first year of the 1½
-liter Formula One and Ferrari were well prepared with two versions of the V6. The British opposition were less organised and suffered a 30-40 bhp handicap. Ferrari won all but two of the World Championship Grands Prix they contested, Phil Hill taking the title. Sadly, Wolfgang von Trips, Hill's team-mate and a rival for championship honours, perished in the Italian Grand Prix after a collision with Jim Clark's Lotus.
It was not surprising, therefore, that the 1962 Grand Prix season was an utter disaster, with no championship race victories. In sports-car racing the scene was brighter, with a multitude of V6, V8 and V12 models gaining success, admittedly against opposition weaker than usual. When Phil Hill / Olivier Gendebien drove a 4-liter Ferrari 330 TR/LM to victory in the 1962 Le Mans 24-hours
it marked the last major success for a front-engined Ferrari. In 1963, the rear-engined 250P sports car appeared - a 3-liter machine which scored a winning 1-2 debut in the Sebring 12-hours
. From this developed the 3-liter (and later 3.3-liter) Ferrari 250LM competition GT car to replace the 250GTO.
At the end of 1962, Ferrari 'released' his drivers and signed up John Surtees as team leader. The much-revised 156/63S were quick, but not always reliable in Formula One, although Surtees boosted morale with a win in the German Grand Prix on the tough Nurburgring
. Although there were only two years of the 1½
-liter formula remaining, Ferrari developed both V8 and flat-12 engines for Grand Prix racing. Using the V8-powered 158, Surtees won the German and Italian Grands Prix in 1964 plus the World Championship; the flat-12-engined 512, seen experimentally in 1964, failed to win a championship race in 1965 although it was still considered competitive.
In the mid-1960s Ferrari sports cars were a force to be reckoned with, as Ford discovered to their cost. Ford were keen to challenge the Europeans in long-distance races, their aim being to win the Le Mans 24 hours. Discussions took place between Ford and Ferrari whereby Ford offered to finance Ferrari's competition programme (the cars to be known as Ferrari-Fords), while Ferrari production cars would come under the control of Ford (and be known as Ford-Ferraris). However, Ferrari, on reading the contract, discovered he would not have the ultimate control after all and the deal was scrubbed at the 11th hour.
It must have given Ferrari great satisfaction to beat Ford handsomely for two years. It was 1966 before Ford finally won at Le Mans and it took time and millions of dollars to achieve. Ferrari's sports cars had grown to meet the transatlantic challenge: the 3285cc 27SP and 3967cc 330P of 1964 became more sophisticated for 1965 with the Introduction of the twin-ohc-per-bank 27 SP2 and 330P2 models plus the 4390cc single-ohc-per-bank 36SP2 for customers. In 1966, the 330P3 was unveiled, to be followed by the 330P4 of 1967 which featured a new 36-valve engine. Then the FIA announced a maximum engine capacity limit of 3 liters for sports-prototypes in 1968, resulting in both Ford and Ferrari retiring hurt.
The 1966 3-liter Formula One saw Ferrari well prepared with the 312/66 and, for the first time since 1951, they contested the World Championship series with a V12 engine. Showing the heritage of the original Colornbo/Lampredi designs, the engine was the work of Franco Rocchi and was an adaption of the unit seen in the sports cars. Ferrari should have won the World Championship as their car was superior to the opposition, but after Surtees had won the second round (the Belgian Grand Prix) he left the team. He had failed to agree with team manager Eugenio Dragoni and a heated row brewed at Le Mans, where Dragoni considered Surtees had not recovered sufficiently from injuries received the previous autumn to race in the 24-hour event.
Luck deserted Ferrari again in 1967. Lorenzo Bandini died as a result of a fiery crash in the Monaco Grand Prix, Mike Parkes crashed in the Belgian Grand Prix and severely injured his legs, while Lodovico Scarfiotti temporarily lost heart and went into semi-retirement. This left the young New Zealander, Chris Amon, alone to uphold Scuderia Ferrari's honour. Amon, who at the start of the season didn't expect to compete in many Formula One races, suffered the usual vitriolic attacks by the Italian sporting press (who for years felt Ferrari cars were so superior anyone could win with them) but emerged with some well-earned place results.
Ferrari persevered with the V12-engined cars, reputedly lighter and more powerful with 48-valve engines, for a further two seasons. But they only won one race - Jacky Ickx won the wet 1968 French Grand Prix - despite a series of meteoric drives by Amon. Time and again Amon would prove quickest in practice and the early stages of a race, only to break down. At the end of 1969, his cars now hopelessly uncompetitive against the Ford-powered opposition, Amon reluctantly left the team.
The 1967 Formula Two called for engines based on a production block. Ferrari was interested in this 1600cc category and collaborated with Fiat whereby a development of the old V8 engine would be used in a Fiat GT car and sold in sufficient quantities for the power unit to be eligible for Formula Two use. Then the FIA enforced a maximum limit of six cylinders and a last-minute decision was made to switch to the familiar Dino V6 unit, reworked by Rocchi. The Formula Two Ferrari was a disappointment when it appeared in 1967, but was more of a force the following year.
Failure at Can-Am and the Indianapolis 500
At the end of 1968 drivers Andrea de Adamich and Tino Brambilla entirely dominated the four-race Argentine Temporada series, foreshadowing a highly successful 1969 season. Nothing could have been further from the truth and after some miserable outings the cars were withdrawn. Ferrari were attracted by Can-Am in the late 1960s, but, like attempts at the Indianapolis 500-mile race in that decade, the project was doomed to failure. Lightweight versions of the P4 sports cars were prepared in 1967 and in the following year Chris Amon raced the first pukka Can-Am Ferrari, the 6222cc 612. Its failure could really be blamed on Ferrari's hectic racing programme, and the Can-Am side was dropped at the end of 1969, by which time a full 7-liter V12 engine had been prepared.
The Ferrari 312B Boxer
Unfortunately it was overshadowed by the big production based V8s. At the end of 1969, an entirely new Formula One 1 car appeared. Chris Amon tested it and thought it uncompetitive, but how he must have wished he had remained in the team when at the end of 1970 it proved the fastest car in Formula One. Jacky Ickx won the Austrian, Canadian and Mexican Grands Prix and newcomer Clay Regazzoni the Italian, Ickx taking second place in the World Championship. The car was the Ferrari 312B, the 'B' standing for Boxer as the car had a horizontally opposed 12-cylinder engine. This was a direct descendant of the 2-liter flat-12 engine used by Peter Schetty in the Ferrari 212E which totally dominated the 1969 European Hill-climb Championship.
The 1971 season should have seen Ferrari sweeping the board again as the flat-12 engine definitely had the edge over the opposition. However, the revised B2 chassis seemed inferior to the 1970 design (Ickx, in desperation, reverted to the B1 at the end of the year), possibly as it was not 'tuned' to the tyres. Tyre technology was and remains a very important factor in motor racing. Nevertheless, Ickx won the Dutch Grand Prix, thanks to his superior wet-weather driving, while early in the season Mario Andretti had won the South African Grand Prix in an old B1. Ferrari did not win a Grand Prix from August 1972 until April 1974.
In 1972, Ickx and Regazzoni found their revised B2S not quite the equal of the British Ford-engined cars, except at Nurburgring
where Ickx's sheer skill brought victory. The new B3 promised for that year was abandoned after a lengthy series of tests, being considered a total flop. In 1973 a new design, known as the B3 but not a derivative of the unraced 1972 car of that name, took the whole year to develop, by which time Ickx had despaired of ever winning again and in mid season had left the team. However, chief engineer Mauro Forghieri appeared on the scene after spending some time on other Ferrari projects and he developed the B3S into race-winning propositions in 1974.
In April, Niki Lauda and Clay Regazzoni scored a resounding 1-2 victory in the Spanish Grand Prix in yet another magnificent Ferrari comeback, culminating in second place in the championship for Regazzoni. 1975 was Lauda's year, the Austrian taking the 312T, with its transversely-mounted gearbox, to the driver's and constructors' titles. The success was repeated in the Constructors' Championship in 1976, but Lauda's fiery accident at the Nurburgring
took the sting from his challenge in the final rounds. Ferrari nevertheless were again a force to be reckoned with in Grand Prix racing; the sports car programme too had its up and downs in the 1970s.
After a year's absence from the scene, while Enzo Ferrari 'fumed' at the FINs decision to impose a minimum engine capacity limit of 3 liters in sports-car racing, Ferrari bounced back in 1969 with the V12-engined 312P. It was not a brilliant year, Porsche and Ford sharing the major honours, but for 1970 Ferrari planned to take full advantage of a 'loophole' on the regulations. Five-liter cars were permissible if at least 25 examples were constructed within a year, this being a move to admit the 'semi-production' cars such as the Ford GT 40
and the Lola T70 with their 'stock-block' Chevrolet engines.
Porsche made the move first, spending a fortune on the 5-liter 917 project. Ferrari followed with the 512S, using a 4994cc V12 engine. The lighter Porsches were perhaps superior, or definitely better-organised, and Ferrari's expensive exercise became almost a white elephant. Only one victory was recorded in a championship race, at Sebring
. In 1971, the car was lightened, to become known as the 512M, but the works lost interest in the project. As is their wont, the FIA revised the sports car regulations once more, banning all the 5-liter machinery from 1972, so in 1971 F errari ran a single 3-liter 312P with a flat-12 engine as an 'experiment' and to gain experience for a full attack the following season. The 'experiment' proved the car was extremely quick.
Fiat buy a 50% of Ferrari
The 1972 programme, however, was a sensation. The cars won every race entered plus the championship. The only race Ferrari did not contest was Le Mans, which was the only one Matra did! In 1973, Matra ran a full programme of races and narrowly conquered Ferrari in the championship after a season-long struggle. During the 1970s Ferrari continued motor-racing activities - helped by Fiat. For some years Fiat paid Ferrari 'under the counter' and in mid 1969 came the announcement that Fiat were to purchase a 50% holding in Ferrari. Not only did Ferrari's racing programme benefit, but an exchange of technical expertise was of great assistance to both companies.
Fiat largely controlled Ferrari's production side, but Enzo insisted on remaining at the helm of the competition programme. Road-going Ferraris in 1974 comprised the Dino, the Daytona, the BB and the 365GT 4. The Dino was developed from the 1965 V6 sports car, first being offered for sale in 1967 in 2-Iitre form and in 2.4-liter form from 1969. In 1973 it was augmented by the Dino 308GT, unusually powered by a V8 engine of 2926cc. From 1964 the 330GT 4-liter car grew, becoming the 4.4-liter 365GT in 1968, and the fastest version, the Daytona, reaped some success in GT racing.
The Ferrari Berlinetta Boxer
The 1974 piece de resistance was the Berlinetta Boxer, first seen in prototype form in 1971 and from 1973 available to customers. This had a 4.4-liter flat-12 engine developed from the Grand Prix and sports car 3-liter engines. By 1976 the range of road vehicles had been rationalised to four models, the Dino 308 GT 4, the glass-fibre bodied 308 GTB, the front-engined 400 GT and the 512 GT4 Berlinetta Boxer - now fitted with a 5-liter engine. As well as introducing glassfibre to their range the company also offered their first ever automatic gearbox option on the 1976 400 GT, but there was still no mistaking Ferrari's sporting heritage.
The Return Of Pininfarina, And The Elegant 308GTB
Pininfarina made a triumphant return in 1975 with the re-styled 308GTB, a true replacement for the 246GT. The 308GTB used the same chassis and wheelbase as the original car, and for the first two years had fiberglass bodywork. Not surprisingly, a 308GTS Spyder was soon available, however fortunately Ferrari decided not to de-tune the open-top and so both variants were good for a top speed in excess of 150mph.
Daytona fans will inevitable click the ‘contact’ button and direct hate mail at what we are about to say, but we believe the greatest of all the Ferrari super-cars was the Boxer, which first went on sale in 1973. Correctly entitled the 365GT4 BB, the car had a multi-tube chassis, with fully-independent suspension and disc brakes. Nothing new there, but this was already a super-sweet chassis. What made the Boxer so special was the horizontally opposed mid-mounted 4.4-liter V12 engine, fed by quad Weber carbs and good for 360bhp at 7500rpm. The car's claimed maximum speed was 180mph +, but no independent tester that we are aware of ever achieved that speed. The Pininfarina styled body featured sweeping wing lines, and was very like that of the 308GTB which soon followed it.
From mid-1976 the design was updated, to become the BB512. This car had a larger 4942cc engine, and a claimed maximum of 188mph, though peak power was down to 340bhp at 6800rpm. It was still a phenomenal car, though the claims for its pace were grossly exaggerated; even so it would sell steadily (more than 150 cars a year) until the mid-1980's.
The Bertone 308GT4 And Pininfarina Mondial 8
In 1981, the 308GT4, styled by Bertone, replaced by the Pininfarina styled Mondial 8. There were no major mechanical changes worth mentioning, other than to say that Bertone had now truly captured the identity and spirit of the earlier Ferrari’s and the new car was far more in keeping with tradition. It would continue to be a success, and would slowly evolve in the early 1980’s with the adoption of new technologies, such as the fitment of fuel injection and then, in 1983, inheriting four-valve per cylinder heads. The latter cars became known as Quattrovalvole (QV), and the peak power output was 240bhp.
When it came time to replace the Boxer Ferrari knew it would need to be very special. Launched in 1984, the “Testarossa” was exactly that. The basic mechanical layout was that of the BB512, but the engine had four-valve heads, and power was boosted to a whopping 390bhp. The Pininfarina style was certainly controversial, incorporating slats in the body sides to channel air into the radiator air intakes behind the doors. Those that liked fresh air were disappointed to learn that Ferrari would only produce a two-seater version coupe.
The Ferrari tradition continues to this day, never more so than at the Formula One circuits around the world. Enzo Ferrari died at the age of 90 in Modena on August 14, 1988. Without one man - the autocratic and occasionally eclectic Enzo Ferrari - there would be no Ferrari legend, for he was the superb organizer, and dogged fighter, who had the ability always to surround himself with gifted engineers.
Also see: Ferrari Car Reviews
| The History of Ferrari (AUS Edition)