Auto123 went to Italy to visit some superb museums dedicated to the automobile. Today, in the second of three installments, a look at the Ferrari museums.
Modena, Italy - If you’re planning a trip to Italy, and you have even the slightest affinity for performance cars, you’ll want to include on your itinerary the towns of Modena and Maranello. Famed automaker Ferrari has two distinct museums located there, within 20 km of one another.
We start our trip with the Enzo Ferrari museum, located a few steps from the downtown area of Modena and housed in a former mechanic’s shop used by Enzo Ferrari until 1943.
Totally renovated and modernized, the shop-turned-museum now houses a replica of Enzo Ferrari’s office, a few vehicles and a number of engines that marked the history of the brand. For example you’ll find there the V6 turbo mounted in the Ferrari F1 car driven in 1981 by Gilles Villeneuve, the V12 used in Alain Prost’s Ferrari in 1990 and the V10 placed in Michael Schumacher’s car in 2000.
Opposite the workshop, a large modern building has been erected to house racing and street cars, displayed in chronological order. Also on display are a number of objects typical of the period of each vehicle, such as transistors, cell phones, the first iMac, etc.
Some old, some new
Among the most beguiling models we came across was a magnificent 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO, which we pretty much immediately fell in love with. A little further along is a striking 1964 275 GTB and a 1962 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso, both invariably big seducers of visitors to the museum.
Over the course of the visit, we move forward in time and come across more-recent models. One section is devoted to front-engine grand tourers like the 456M GT, the 550 Maranello and even the 575 Supermamerica, a limited-edition convertible derived from the Ferrari 575 Maranello.
The last section of the museum features contemporary models like the Ferrari FF, GTC4 Lusso and the California, two versions of which (the original and the current model) share the spotlight.
Lastly, Ferrari also has on display the Monza SP1, un a single-seat model with no roof and original lines.
The Ferrari museum in Maranello
20 or so kilometres to the south of Modena lies the town of Maranello. Since 1943, when Enzo set up shop there, Maranello has developed at an impressive pace. Just streets away from one another, we find the factory, the Formula 1 team, the Fiorano test track and… the Ferrari museum.
It’s a hopping place, especially in the summertime, so we recommend you head there early in the morning to ensure you get good long looks at the cars on display and get the most out of your visit.
The exhibits at the museum are temporary, and usually stay for several months. During our visit, the spotlight was on the supercars, or those rarified models that figure among the most exclusive and high-performance models ever to have been produced.
The visit starts with a bang as we come face-to-face with the Ferrari 288 GTO and the fierce F40, the very last car green-lit by Enzo Ferrari before he died. Opposite these two legendary cars sits a superb F40, the engine of which was directly derived from the one used in Formula 1 in the early 1990s.
A few metres further on, we find the Ferrari Enzo, partially developed by Michael Schumacher. Then comes the Ferrari LaFerrari, the company’s last street-legal supercar produced to date. The spectacle is capped off with the FXX-K. Unveiled in 2014, it’s powered by an enormous 6.2L V12, assisted by an electrical motor. Total output? 1,050 hp!
The Scuderia celebrates its 90th in style
In 2019, Scuderia Ferrari celebrated its 90th of year of competitive racing. Facing the Ferrari currently driven by Sebastian Vettel is an Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Spider, the first car to sport the famous prancing horse on its chassis in 1932. In fact the racing team founded by Enzo Ferrari drove Alfa Romeos at the outset.
At the museum, an enormous room tells the rich story of Ferrari in automotive racing, from the 24 hours of Le Mans to Formula 1 to Targa Florio and a lot more in between.
Then you come to a room devoted to the Formula 1 cars that have marked the brand’s history, driven by such legends as Schumacher, Fangio, Raikkönen and Niki Lauda. For visitors from Canada, it’s a special pleasure to get up close to the Ferrari 312 T4 Gilles Villeneuve drove to a second-place overall finish in the 1979 F1 season.
A simulator more real than real life itself
For driving fans, Ferrari also offers a turn at a simulator. The experience comes at a price (25 Euros for just seven minutes!), but it’s worth it if only for its astounding realism. A hydraulic system makes the car move around on its axis and mimic the movements of a real Formula 1 car; the seatbelts pull in you in tight, and you can even adjust the level of difficulty of the simulated drive.
Choose Number 1, and the drive is quite easy. But push 4 on the steering wheel, and the accelerator and brakes behave like a real F1 car! In this mode it behooves one to be gentle with the pedal or one will find oneself off the track in no time. Experts can also activate the DRS (a system that allows you to boost the straightaway top speed) to carve a few more seconds off their lap time.
It’s as thrilling as it sounds, so if you’re in this neck of the Italian woods, make sure to visit Ferrari’s museum in Maranello!
Check out more photos on the next page.