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The Beginning of Ferrari

Exotic Car History - Enzo Ferrari & His Supercars

Enzo Ferrari was born in 1898 in the small town of Modena in Central Italy. He, his older brother, his mother and father all lived in a modest, four room space above his father’s metal working shop.

As a boy, Enzo aspired to be an artist. His dreams involved the opera and sports journalism. After he was drafted for the war in 1917, Enzo came home in search of a job. His father and brother had died, and he needed a job that could support him in the post-war economy.

Enzo ended up with a factory job that stripped parts from old trucks and used their chassis to build new cars. This job got him more and more interested in racing, as his father and brother always had been. After spending some time at his favorite hangout, Vittorio Emanuele bar, a local favorite for race car drivers, Enzo was quickly recruited to test drive cars for the well-known Milan automaker, Construzioni Meccaniche Nazionali.

After working with that company for a year, Enzo Ferrari entered into the Targa Florio, an intense race that took place in 1920, and driving an Alfa Romeo 20/30, he took second place overall. This got his name into a place of recognition, and people began to pay attention to the up and comer, Enzo Ferrari.

Partnering with Alfa Romeo, Ferrari continued to race throughout the 1920’s. In partnership with some of the design engineers from Alfa Romeo, Enzo developed the Scuderia by 1930, a car he used to enter into over 20 races, winning 8 titles among them.

Enzo wanted his Alfas to stand out in the crowd, so he painted an emblem of a prancing horse on a bold yellow background onto them. Ferrari said he created this image based on the crest of the Countess Paolina Baracca. Enzo’s brother, Alfredo, had served with her son, Francesco, in the same flying squadron in WWI.

In light of all of Ferrari’s wins in the Italian racing world, he became a pseudo-celebrity, garnering attention in all racing markets. However, soon after this fame began, Ferrari and Alfa came to have disagreements about design and production aspects, and Enzo Ferrari was let go from the Alfa Romeo company in 1938. As part of the agreement, Ferrari was not allowed to manufacture a car with his name on it for four years post-split, thus delaying the development of the first real Ferrari.

In the meantime, Enzo spent his time and his own company’s efforts developing a car called the 815, but this car was the only one his company would produce until after the war. Ferrari survived through WWII by manufacturing grinding machines and machine tools.

Once the war came to an end, Enzo Ferrari immediately began talks with Gioachino Colombo (a former design engineer of Alfa’s), and began work on a new engine design he had in mind.  On March 12, 1947, the first Ferrari, a 125 with a V-12 engine started up for the first time. The 125 was supported with a tubular chassis, leaf springs and shock absorbers. The 1496cc engine could produce up to 118 horsepower, with a 5-speed transmission.

In 1948, the 166 Sport was introduced with the Colombo V12 under its hood. This rear-wheel drive registered sports car was a powerhouse. It got 110 hp, and could reach speeds of 113 mph. Ferrari has only updated its style a few times through the years, making it notable for its continuity and craftsmanship in a world of ever-changing cars.  Some of the most notable models of the Ferrari were:

  • The Dino 246 GTS (ran from 1968 – 1974). The Dino had only 3700 units manufactured during its lifespan. It housed a V6 engine, got 195 HP, 166 lb-ft of torque and could get from 0 to 62 in 6.7 seconds. This model was a 5-speed manual, and had an original base price of $13,895.

  • The 308 GTSi Quattovalvole (ran from 1982 –  1985). The Quattrovalvole housed a V8 engine, got 240 HP, 192 lb-ft of torque and could get from 0 to 62 in 7.2 seconds. This model was a 5-speed manual and had an original base price of $58,555.

  • The 360 Modena (ran from 1994 – 2004). The Modena was named after the birthplace of Enzo Ferrari. This model housed a V8 engine, got 400 HP, 275 lb-ft of torque, and could get from 0 to 62 in 4.5 seconds. This car could reach the speed of 183 mph and got 13.1 mpg. It had an original base price of $147,332

  • The LaFerrari (new in 2013 and still in production) is decidedly a rare edition, with only 499 units to be allowed in production. The engine is a 6.3 liter V12 with 800 HP and 516 lb-ft of torque. This car can get from 0 to 62 in 2.5 seconds and maxes out its speed at 217 mph. It is equipped with a 7-speed dual clutch, and will cost $1,200,000.


While Ferrari’s are rare and powerful supercars, they are also fragile assets that need protection. If you are lucky enough to own one of these pieces of history, don’t let it go undervalued or under protected with cheap insurance coverage.

Classic Auto can help you protect the cars you are so proud to have in your collection! We are just a quick phone call away, and we can provide you with instant, free Ferrari insurance quotes, as well as information about our agreed valuation plans, our roadside assistance policies, and our customizable coverage, designed to meet the needs of individual exotic car owners. Give us a call today at (888) 901-1338.


About the Author

is Vice President of Classic Automobile Insurance Agency, Inc. Classic Automobile Insurance Agency has been protecting collector, classic and exotics since 1992.

Posted: 12/20/2013 9:00:00 AM with 0 comments


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