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Ferrari – 10 Facts You Never knew about the luxury sports car

Updated on December 9, 2015
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One fact about Ferrari that will always be true is that there is something very special about the name Ferrari. There are more powerful cars that money can buy and there are more expensive ones, but it is still Ferrari that conjures up images of Monaco, playboy lifestyles and speed. Perhaps it is Ferrari’s long and successful association with Formulae One that makes it every school boys dream car, or the regular appearance of Ferraris in the movies and TV shows like Miami Vice and Magnum. Whatever the reasons behind it, a Ferrari, with its prancing horse logo and the famous Ferrari red, will still turn heads in any city in the world when it lets out that distinctive Ferrari roar.

If you have wondered, how much does a Ferrari cost, then as the saying goes, you probably can’t afford it, because you are talking somewhere in the region of £200,000 and that’s just the start. Owning a car like a Ferrari is not just about affording the price at the showroom; it’s about affording the insurance, servicing and repairs too.

Still, we can but dream and buy our lottery tickets again this week. In the meantime, here are ten facts about Ferrari that may not have known.

Enzo Ferrari in the 1920s
Enzo Ferrari in the 1920s | Source

Facts about Enzo Ferrari

Enzo Ferrari was an Italian racing driver who was born on 18th February 1898, although his recorded date of birth is actually the 20th of February, because heavy snow prevented his father getting to the local registry office.

Ferrari’s fascination with motor racing began when he was just ten years old, when he witnessed Felice Nazzaro win the 1908 Circuit di Bologna race and he decided, there and then, that he wanted to become a race driver.

He made his own competitive race debut in 1919 at the Parma-Poggio di Berceto hill climb and he had a successful racing a career from there on in racing for Alfa Romeo and later on managing his own Ferrari Formula One Race Team and the Ferrari brand.

Enzo Ferrari lived a relatively quiet, reserved life and he rarely gave any interviews. He died, aged 90, on 14th August 1988, but his death was not publicly announced until two days later. This was at Enzo’s personal request and it was to make up for the two day delay in the registration of his birth.

Ferrari race cars through the years

Francesco Baracca posing by his SPAD S.XII
Francesco Baracca posing by his SPAD S.XII | Source

1. The Prancing Horse came from an Italian WWI fighter ace

Enzo Ferrari was gifted the prancing horse logo by the family of Italy’s World War One flying ace, Francesco Baracca, who had used the logo on the fuselage of his fighter plane. Barracca died in a mysterious plane crash in 1918 and it was the fighter ace’s mother who suggested the Ferrari use the logo on his cars to bring him luck. Ferrari later used the same logo for his own racing team when it was founded in 1932. The yellow shield, on which the Ferrari prancing pony sits, is in honour of Enzo Ferrari’s home town of Modena, Italy.

Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons | Source

2. Enzo Ferrari was given his nickname by the King of Italy

Enzo Ferrari’s nickname of "il Commendatore" is often thought to be a reference to his tyrannical Management style, but it was actually an official title that was bestowed upon him by the King of Italy, Vittorio Emmanuel III, in 1927. The name, which is translated as “Knight Commander”, was officially withdrawn when all Italian titles were rescinded when Italy became a republic in 1946 but the nickname stayed with Ferrari until he died.

Replica of the Ferrari 125 S
Replica of the Ferrari 125 S | Source

3. The first Ferrari road car was introduced in 1949

The first ever road car to bear the Ferrari name was the Ferrari 125 S, which made its public debut at the Piacenza racing circuit in 1947. It is still considered by many to be one of the most beautiful cars ever made and it set the trend for future Ferraris for many years to come with its V12 engine. Despite the fact that car quickly became a legend, there were only two ever made and both cars were dismantled by Ferrari, so they could use the parts in later models.

Source

4. Ferrari red wasn’t the first choice of the company

Today, you can buy a Ferrari in a number of different colours, but most people associate the brand with the bright Ferrari red. Originally, all Ferraris did come in red, but that wasn’t the choice of Enzo Ferrari. The red was used because it was the official colour assigned to all Italian Grand Prix cars by the International Automobile Federation (FIA). Red is still the most popular colour today for new Ferraris; about 45% of all Ferraris sold are painted in that world famous red.

Fernando Alonso in his Ferrari
Fernando Alonso in his Ferrari | Source

5. Ferrari has won more than 5,000 races

Since the Ferrari team first began racing in 1947, they have won more than 5,000 trophies in motor sports. They have 15 Formula One Drivers’ World titles and 16 Constructors' titles, and they have notched up nine victories in the Le Mans 24 Hours 24 hour race. The F1 team, which is officially called Scuderia Ferrari, is the most successful in the sport and it’s the longest surviving teams. Ferrari is the only team to have competed in every single F1 competition since 1950.

6. Fiat is the biggest shareholder in Ferrari

Enzo Ferrari sold half of his company’s shares to Fiat in 1969, so that he could raise more capital for the development of the business. By 1988, the Ferrari family had sold even more of their shares to Fiat, who now has a total stake of 90% in the company. The remaining 10% of Ferrari is still owned today by Enzo Ferrari’s son, Piero Lardi Ferrari, who is currently the vice chairman of the company.

Ferrari watch
Ferrari watch | Source

7. Merchandising is big business for Ferrari

Today, Ferrari is more than a just brand of car and a racing team; it’s a designer brand in its own right. Ferrari now has more than 30 retail outlets around the world and the brand make sales in excess of $1.5 billion a year selling a range of items that includes watches, shoes, clothing and sunglasses. They also sell scale models of the Ferrari cars. A limited edition scale model of the Ferrari 275 GTB/4 will set you back about $10,000.

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi
Ferrari World Abu Dhabi | Source

8. There is a Ferrari theme park in Abu Dhabi

The Ferrari theme park in Dubai, which was opened in 2010, is the world largest indoor theme park and it has four major rides, including the world’s fastest roller coaster that reaches nearly 150mph and loads of other attractions for kids and adult car enthusiast’s alike. Like everything that has the Ferrari brand though, it’s certainly not a cheap experience. Entrance fees start at $95 and the biggest roller coaster ride will cost you an extra $165. Ferrari is now also working on a new roller coaster in honour of the flying ace Francesco Baracca, and that is set to be the steepest roller coaster in the world.

Ferrari factory tour

Ferrari 458 Special
Ferrari 458 Special | Source

9. If you do buy a Ferrari, you can customise it

When you buy a new Ferrari you can personalise just about every aspect of your car, from the finishes, to the interior trim and accessories. You need to make your mind up fast, though, because even once you have decided how you want your new Ferrari to look, it will take another two years before you take delivery of it. You’ll be in good company, though, because other people who have bought custom made Ferraris include Eric Clapton and the golfer Ian Poulter.

10. Ferrari has never strayed far from home

Ferrari  factory and museum, Maranello, Italy
Ferrari factory and museum, Maranello, Italy | Source

While Ferarri has become one of the best known brands in the world and Enzo Ferrari himself travelled all round the globe, the Ferrari factory and headquarters always been in Enzo Ferrari’s home town of Modena, and now in the nearby town of Maranello. The Ferrari name grew out of a young boys dream to be racing driver and became the name that will forever be associated with speed, style and luxury and the car that most young boys can now only ever dream of owning.

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    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 19 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Ferrari are legendary. This was a fascinating read about one of the iconic carmakers that has stayed true to it's original ideas.

      Lawrence