Ferrari is a prestigious Italian automaker known for its powerful, luxurious and exotic sports cars which have reached high levels of sophistication thanks to the company's expertise as a dominant Formula 1 team.
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Enzo Ferrari founded Scuderia Ferrari in 1929. During the first few years, he mainly sponsored Alfa Romeo drivers and prepared their cars for races.
In 1938, "Il Commendatore" became head of Alfa's motor racing department. He left two years later when he learned that the automaker wanted to purchase his company. Because he was prohibited by contract from racing for four years, the Scuderia briefly became ''Auto Avio Costruzioni Ferrari'' and produced machine tools and aircraft accessories.
The first automobile designed by Enzo Ferrari was the Tipo 815 AAC, but it was actually sold as an Alfa Romeo due to that same contract. In 1947, the Ferrari 125 GT and 125 S hit the stage with a race-derived, 1.5-litre V12 engine. However, only two copies were ever built.
Then came the 166 Inter in 1949. A total of 37 units were manufactured during its short existence. The car was replaced by the 195 Inter a year later, just as the F1 team began running. Ferrari won its first Grand Prix in 1951.
From 1953 to 1964, the company produced the popular 250 GTE, a four-passenger model which managed to rival the legendary Jaguar E-Type and found 950 takers.
In 1969, Fiat bought a 50-percent stake in Ferrari while the Dino 246 GT and GTS were launched. Available until 1973, these two proved to be extremely successful with a combined 3,800 units sold. The 365 and its multiple versions also enjoyed success.
The Dino 308 GT4 was the first Ferrari to use a V6 engine when it made its debut in 1974. Upon bowing out at the start of the next decade, the car had registered 2,826 deliveries.
The year 1976 marked the arrival of the first model equipped with an automatic transmission, namely the 400 Automatic, a distant heir to the 1960 250 GT 2+2. A new 308 GTB, introduced in 1975, opened the door for Ferrari to really take off.
The Mondial (1980-1992) became the most popular Ferrari of all time, with sales topping 6,800 cars. In 1984, the exclusive GTO rolled off the assembly line along with the Testarossa, one of the most illustrious Ferraris to this day and a television star on 'Miami Vice'. The '80s also saw the birth of the 208, 308 and 512 Bbi.
Enzo Ferrari died on August 14, 1988 from a lung infection. The famous F40, launched in 1987, was the last car he ever approved.
The Mondial shared the spotlight with the 3.4-litre, V8-powered 348 for two years. The latter was produced from 1989 to 1995. Meanwhile, the 512 TR replaced the Testarossa, and the 456 GT offered seating for four. In 1994, the F355 succeeded the 348, and a year later, Ferrari inaugurated the F50 supercar featuring a removable hardtop.
In 1996, the Italian company released the 550 Maranello, powered by a front-mounted, 5.5-litre V12 engine, and followed that up with the 360 Modena in 1999. A revamped 550 called M575 Maranello took over in the early 2000s before retiring in 2006, the same year the 599 Fiorano made its debut. And of course, no one will ever forget the exquisite F430 (2004-2009), the 612 Scaglietti (2004-2010), and the sublime Enzo Ferrari (2002-2004).
The 599 GTO and GTB both remain active. They are now joined in the lineup by the California (2008), 458 Italia (2009), 458 Spider (2011), and last but not least, the four-passenger, four-wheel-drive FF (2011).
Ferrari has a story - and what a story it is - that will be told over and over again for decades and centuries to come. Much like you, as a car-friend I've read bits and pieces of Enzo's life and legacy, and have always been fascinated by how he reluctantly ended up making and selling cars in order to support his Scuderia Ferrari. Now, 64 years later, his name is associated with some of the outright best cars in the world.
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