Ferrari, a Flashback Through the Decades

Ferrari, a Flashback Through the Decades

Since 1947, Ferrari has produced some of the finest examples of Italian engineering and is arguably the biggest name in the automobile industry.

With nearly seven decades of experience, the history of Ferrari is immense and the prancing horse has become a legendary symbol of a true Italian masterpiece.

In Formula 1, Ferrari has won a record 16 Constructors' Championships and has had many world-famous drivers, from Niki Lauda to Michael Schumacher. With one of the most anticipated events in the automobile and sporting calendars coming up, the Monte Carlo Formula 1 Grand Prix, why not rent a Ferrari in Monaco and experience the history of the car and the track yourself.

However, it is not just in Formula 1 where Ferrari excels, there have been many breathtaking Ferrari supercars over the generations, which have been inspired by its racing background. Ferrari has made groundbreaking technological advances over the decades and has demonstrated this through a wide range of styles 

Keep reading to discover the seven most elegant, most revolutionary and most powerful Ferraris from each of the seven decades of Ferrari’s legendary history.

The 1940s – Ferrari 125 S

1947 saw the official release of Ferrari’s first street legal car. The 125 S was the very first Ferrari to be manufactured with the famous black prancing horse, making it a huge mark in the history of Ferrari. The 125 S had a very elegant design, featuring a large grill at the front to cool the engine and two beautiful headlamps on either side. Described as a ‘promising failure’ by Enzo Ferrari himself, after pulling out of its first race, this car was undoubtedly the beginning of a legendary history.

The 1950s – Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa

Ten years later, Ferrari introduced the Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa. Featuring a five-speed transmission and a V12 engine, the 250 Testa Rossa was an incredibly powerful vehicle. It won the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans three times and still holds the record for the last front-engined car to win the prestigious race. The Ferrari 250 has an impressive design and is possible one of the most curvaceous cars in the history of Ferrari. It has a unique shape with pontoon fenders giving it a stylish yet powerful appearance. It is the second most valuable Ferrari (after the 250 GTO), with one model recently selling for more than £10.8 million. 

The 1960s – 250 GTO

Originally manufactured for racing, this 300 horsepower 3.0 L V12 engine is one of the all-time greatest classic cars. Its aerodynamic lines, elegant design and all-aluminium body are a work of art. Its muscular rear fenders, quad exhaust pipes and stylish front grill give the car a unique appearance. The 250 GTO is a perfectly balanced car which offers great handling and quality performance on and off track.

With only 39 ever produced, this beautiful and rare Ferrari is the considered the most valuable car in the world. August 2014 was not only a record-breaking moment in the history of Ferrari, but also for the entire automobile history, as the Ferrari 250 GTO smashed the world record, becoming the most expensive car ever sold at auction, at a price of £22.6 million. 

The 1970s – Ferrari 308 GTB

The Ferrari 308 GTB was the first Ferrari to be fitted with a fibreglass body. This iconic car has a sleek timeless design and a comfortable interior. It featured a 3.0L V8 engine which produced 227 horsepower and could reach a top speed of 158mph. The Ferrari 308 gained huge popularity through the famous television programme, Magnum PI. Selling more than 12,000 cars, the 308 was a huge success for Ferrari and inspired this year’s 488 GTB.

The 1980s – Ferrari F40

The Ferrari F40 was built to celebrate Ferrari’s 40th anniversary and was the last car to be built under the supervision of Enzo Ferrari, before his passing in 1988. He certainly left behind a true legacy through his final supercar. In the 1980s, the Ferrari F40 was at the height of technology. A 2.9L twin-turbocharged V8 engine with a staggering 478 horsepower, the F40 was the first production car to reach a top speed of 200mph. Its attractive streamlined exterior, minimalist interior and stylish rear wing acting as a vertical stabiliser gave the F40 a dynamic appearance an injection of power, much like a racing car. The F40 was a high-performance supercar with a sleek design. Electrifying to drive, but not for the light-hearted. 

The 1990s – Ferrari F50

Similarly to the F40, the F50 was built in celebration of Ferrari’s 50th anniversary, a huge milestone in the history of Ferrari. However, the F50 is often overshadowed by the brilliance and ingenuity of its predecessor, the F40. The two models shared many similar features, their exaggerated streamlined design and their specifications. Nevertheless, the F50 had a more stylish nose and more elegant style in general. It also had a carbon-fibre body and an even more powerful V12 engine producing 515 horsepower. This lightweight performance-inspired supercar was constructed using the latest F1 technology, the most powerful road car in the history of Ferrari.

The 2000s – Enzo Ferrari

Named after the founder of Ferrari, the Enzo Ferrari was the fourth and final extreme sports supercar Ferrari produced (after the 250 GTO, F40 and F50). The Enzo stretched the boundaries of our understanding of a road-car to the limit. Engineered using Formula 1 technology, the 6.0L V12 engine cranks out 660 horsepower, creating a mind-blowing noise and incredible power. The top speed, an astonishing 221mph, only further evokes the extraordinary power of the Enzo Ferrari. Its modern dipped nose and streamlined rear fenders give the Enzo an aerodynamic futuristic design, clearly inspired by Formula 1. The Enzo Ferrari illustrated Ferrari’s latest technological advances, a true performance-driven supercar.

The 2010s – Ferrari 458 Spider

Teleporting you in speed and style, the Ferrari 458 Spider is the very first hard top convertible with a mid-rear engine. The 458 Spider combines a retractable hard top, a perfectly aerodynamic design, leather F1-style seats and the latest electronic technology to produce an elegant sports car with an all-round performance. With its mighty state-of-the-art engine V8 engine, it can do 0-60mph in less than 3.4s and can reach a top speed of 199mph. The Ferrari 458 Spider is unparalled in its combination of design, comfort and performance.

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