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Ferrari S.p.A. is an Italian sports car manufacturer originally founded in 1929 by Enzo Ferrari as Scuderia Ferrari. Ferrari was recently spun off from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), which owned 90% of the company. Many of the same FCA shareholders have a stake in Ferrari, with the remaining 20% split evenly among the public and Enzo Ferrari's son Piero Ferrari.
The company initially started out as the racing team for another Italian sports car manufacturer—Alfa Romeo, sponsoring drivers to race cars produced by Alfa before moving into production of street-legal vehicles in 1947. While the company continues to produce fast, luxurious cars for the road, it has also stayed true to its roots and has continued its participation in racing to this day, achieving great success in Formula One. Of course, it has also had great success in general sports car racing over its history.
It is only to be expected that Ferraris are known as unique machines, since the company and many of its cars were the vision of one man: Enzo Ferrari. Possessing a strong love for racing, Enzo Ferrari hoped to find work for Fiat after serving in World War I, but the company was facing a post-war slump and wasn’t hiring. Instead, after a short stint working for a smaller car company called CMN (Costruzioni Meccaniche Nazionali), Ferrari went to work for Alfa Romeo as a test driver, which eventually led to racing in their factory team.
Ferrari managed to rack up a number of wins in these local races, but he was not overly interested in racing in the more prestigious competitions, even though Alfa Romeo had offered him the opportunity. Over time, Ferrari had proved to be better at managing the team. He continued to work directly for Alfa Romeo until 1929, at which point Alfa Romeo’s factory team was privatized and it became Scuderia Ferrari (which literally translates to “Ferrari’s stable,” denoting “Team Ferrari”), with Enzo at the helm. Now operating as the racing team for Alfa Romeo, Ferrari managed the large team of drivers he had built up and the development of the factory Alfa cars used for racing. Alfa supported the team for the first few years but would later pull back due to financial issues, forcing Ferrari to have to pull strings in order to get any Alfa Romeo cars to race at all. As a result, Scuderia Ferrari was not very successful despite its impressive stable of quality drivers.
In the late 1930s, Alfa decided to take control of its racing efforts once again, making the decision to enter racing under its own name. The car manufacturer established Alfa Corse in 1938, absorbing what had been Scuderia Ferrari. Enzo Ferrari remained in charge of the racing department, but he was not happy about the changes. He would leave the company not long after in 1939. As part of the terms of agreement he had signed with Alfa Romeo, he was essentially prohibited from restarting Scuderia Ferrari and could not design or race cars under his own name for four years. Because of this, Ferrari founded Auto Avio Costruzioni (AAC).
AAC started out by supplying parts to other racing teams. In 1939 it was commissioned by Italian race car driver Lotario Rangoni to design and build two racing cars for him and driver Alberto Ascari for use in a race to be run in April of 1940. The resulting race car was named the AAC Tipo 815, and while it did not sport the Ferrari name, it was the first actual Ferrari car. The onset of World War II put a temporary halt on racing, and thus Ferrari’s AAC was forced into using its factory to produce machine tools and aircraft parts for the Italian government during the war years. By the time the war ended, the non-compete clause in Ferrari’s contract with Alfa Romeo had expired and he could now design and build race cars under his own name. A new Scuderia Ferrari was started up with some of Ferrari’s former colleagues at Alfa Romeo, and the company that we know today as Ferrari S.p.A. was officially established in 1947. Scuderia Ferrari became the racing team division of the Ferrari automobile marque, which it still is to this today, making it the oldest surviving team in Grand Prix racing.
The First Ferrari Vehicles and Beyond
Enzo Ferrari was not initially interested in the idea of producing and selling road cars to the public when he formed Scuderia Ferrari, but circumstances led him to reluctantly embrace it as a necessity so that he could fund his primary interest—his racing team. The first Ferrari vehicle was actually the 125 S sports/racing model, which was produced in 1947. Looking for that special something to give his cars the edge on the tracks, Enzo gave the 125 S a V-12, which would become the de rigueur engine configuration for most Ferraris to follow. The 125 S with its 1.5-liter engine was soon replaced by the 166 S with a 2-liter. This started a trend of constant improvements in Ferrari’s track cars, which led, in turn, to improvements in the road cars. The first fast, luxury Ferrari built for long-distance driving and designed for the grand tourer (GT for short, meaning “gran turismo" in Italian) market was the Ferrari Inter 166, which made it the first Ferrari vehicle to be purchased for the road and not the race track.
Through the 1950s and '60s, the same models that were winning on the track were offered in less powerful, more luxurious street car versions. This allowed those precious few who could own a Ferrari to feel a connection to the brand’s on-track success, with models like the 250 GT (which was immortalized in the film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off). Throughout the 1960s it became harder for a road car to compete on the track, and the company started to diverge its race and road cars. For example, models like the 500 Mondial were intended for track use with no road car equivalent, while models like the 365 California were aimed at road use.
Even though race and road cars were diverging, race regulations required that at least one hundred of a given car had to be produced for a car to be homologated or approved for racing. A great example of how Ferrari still managed to produce few numbers of a particular vehicle that was designed for racing, while still getting around these requirements, was the Ferrari 250 GTO. Ferrari produced only 39 of its 250 GTO (Gran Torismo Omologata,”Grand Touring Homologated”) over the course of its production run from 1962 to 1964, but skipped some chassis numbers to convince regulators that more had been built. The 250 GTO took best in class and second overall at Le Mans in 1962 and 1963 and won outright at Daytona in 1963. In terms of racing, the car eventually became obsolete, being used only in regional races and as road cars. The few that had been built were sold only to buyers which Enzo himself approved of. During the 250 GTO’s production, tensions ran high and Ferrari’s sales manager, chief engineer, and racing manager were all fired. Others took their place, working seven days a week and late into the night. Their hard work eventually paid off, and the car is widely considered the greatest Ferrari of all time, not to mention one of, if not the most valuable Ferrari today. It was also Ferrari’s first foray into the supercar market.
The 1968, Dino, named after Enzo’s late son who had always taken a keen interest in auto design, was the first mid-engine Ferrari. The first model featured a V6 engine while its successor, the 308 GT4 released a few years later, was Ferrari's first V-8 production automobile. Enzo thought a mid-engine car would be too difficult for a non-professional driver to handle safely, but was eventually convinced that using a smaller engine would make the car safer. This layout would go on to be used in most of the Ferraris produced during the 1980s and 1990s, as the Oil Crisis of the early 1970s that led to decreased interest in big-engine high performance cars, making twelve cylinder Ferraris a tough sell. For a time, Ferrari also built 2+2 versions of its mid-engine V8 cars. Although they were created looking quite different from their 2-seat counterparts, both the GT4 and Mondial, which were produced during the 1980s and 1990s, were closely related to the 308 GTB. The company has also produced front-engine 2+2 cars as well, culminating in the current Ferrari FF and California.
Ferrari entered the mid-engine 12-cylinder fray with the Berlinetta Boxer in 1973. Up until this point, its 12-cylinder engines had only been used in its 2-seat Gran Turismo vehicles. In the 1980s, one of the most famous Ferraris of all time was released, the Ferrari Testarossa, which also featured a mid-mounted flat-12 engine. The Testarossa—not to be confused with the Ferrari TR "Testa Rossa" race car of the late 1950s and early 1960s—had an appearance all its own. When it was unveiled in 1984, one auto designer said only “I hate it,” while another described it as “exciting, aggressive and awesome.” The car ended production in the mid 1990s, and Ferrari no longer produces mid-engine 12-cylinder cars.
Sale of Ferrari and the Brand Today
In the mid 1960s, Ford was so impressed with Ferrai’s racing success, that it was in talks with Enzo to buy the company, even though Ford “lost more [cars] in rounding errors than Ferrari made in a year.” Enzo would not make the deal though, since he would have lost too much control over his company.
In the late 1960s, unionized workers went on strike, as not all Italian workers were willing to work around the clock like Enzo Ferrari was. This slowed shipments of parts, which in turn slowed production. Business suffered, and Enzo had to sell a majority of his ownership in the company to Fiat S.p.A. Fiat approached Ferrari with a much more flexible proposition than Ford had, allowing Enzo Ferrari to retain a 10% share in the company (now owned today by his son), while Fiat purchased the remaining 90%. Ironically enough, Enzo had finally achieved his youthful dream of working for Fiat. In 1988, Enzo Ferrari died at age 90, an automotive legend, having run his company his way for forty years. The last new Ferrari to be launched before his death later that year was the Ferrari F40, and arguably it is one of the most famous supercars ever made. At the time, it was the fastest, most powerful, and most expensive vehicle that Ferrari had ever sold to the public.
The 1990s were a tough time for Ferrari. Between 1991 and 1993, sales fell by half in response to widespread economic recession. Ferraris also failed to impress in auto magazine comparison tests during those years. Perhaps, without its fearless leader, Ferrari had lost its way. Inspiration to get out of this funk once again came from the race track. In the early 2000s, Ferrari’s Formula 1 racing team had great success with champion driver Michael Schumacher. In celebration of Ferrari's first formula one title of the new millennium, they set about designing the F1-inspired Ferrari Enzo supercar. Originally, it was to be called the Ferrari F60, but the company was so pleased with what was now the fastest Ferrari ever to be released that they called it the Enzo, named in honor of their founder. The Enzo had a 6 liter V-12 engine inspired by the engines used in the company’s F1 cars. The body was also F1 inspired, with its sharp, downswept hood. A Ferrari designer said the car’s shape was “determined by the car’s performance potential rather than aesthetics.” The big engine may still have been the central design feature, but aerodynamics now had their part to play as well. Whether Enzo Ferrari would have appreciated this concession to aerodynamics, one would like to think that he’d be proud of his engineers for looking, once again, to the race track to inspire a truly unique performance sports car.
In 2007, Fiat S.p.A reorganized its automobile business once again and Fiat Auto S.p.A became Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fiat S.p.A. The renamed subsidiary included five companies as part of the restructuring: Fiat Automobiles S.p.A. (the current company responsible for handling all Fiat-branded car activities), Alfa Romeo Automobiles S.p.A., Lancia Automobiles S.p.A., Fiat Professional (light commercial vehicles) and Abarth & C S.p.A. The Fiat Group’s other automotive companies, Ferrari S.p.A. and Maserati S.p.A, each would operate independently under ownership of Fiat S.p.A.
Another major event would shake up Fiat in 2009. In April of that year, Chrysler LLC filed for bankruptcy. On June 10, 2009, Chrysler LLC emerged from a Chapter 11 restructuring overseen by the U.S. government, with the majority of all of Chrysler's assets being sold to what was called "New Chrysler", which became Chrysler Group LLC in alliance with and owned in part by Fiat. The U.S. government lent support to the deal in the form of 6.6 billion US dollars in financing, which was paid out to the "Old Chrysler,” formerly Chrysler LLC, and now a company called Old Carco LLC. Initially after the bankruptcy proceedings were complete, Fiat only owned 20% of the new Chrysler Group LLC company. In 2011, Fiat’s stake in Chrysler was increased to over half when it bought the shares of Chrysler that were being held by the U.S. Treasury and Canada. Fiat continued to gradually acquire the other parties' shares and increase its ownership stake in the company over the next couple of years.
2012 was the best financial year on record for Ferrari. The company posted record sales, proof that the path Enzo cut decades ago by following the adage “race on Sunday, sell worldwide on Monday,” has worked out pretty well for Ferrari over the decades. Seemingly only getting better with time, one can only wonder if the phenomenal growth will continue into the future.
In January of 2014, Fiat S.p.A. purchased the remaining 41.5% of Chrysler Group LLC from the United Auto Workers, taking complete ownership, and announced that it would be reorganizing and merging into a new holding company. In July of 2014, Fiat announced how this would all take place, and that Fiat S.p.A. (which now wholly owned the Chrysler Group) would be merged into Fiat Investments N.V., a new Netherlands based company. Fiat Investments would then be renamed Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. and would become the new holding company of the Fiat Group, once shareholders approved which it was in August. In October, the merger was approved and Fiat S.p.A. and Chrysler Group LLC were officially merged together to form Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA). It was established as a Netherlands-based holding company with its global headquarters located in the United Kingdom, with two wholly owned automotive subsidiaries under its control: Fiat Group Automobiles, which houses Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Fiat (Fiat’s own branded cars), Fiat Professional and Lancia, and Chrysler Group, which houses Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram Trucks. The names of these two groups were subsequently changed in late 2014 to FCA Italy S.p.A. (formerly Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A.) and FCA US LLC (formerly Chrysler Group LLC). This was implemented as the latest phase in the adoption of the FCA corporate identity, in order to highlight that all group companies worldwide are part of a single company. The Chrysler name will continue on as a vehicle brand under the FCA US LLC however. FCA also continued its direct ownership of other former Fiat S.p.A. companies, such as luxury car manufacturer Maserati and Mopar, a components manufacturer.
In January of 2016 FCA spun the company off. The goal was to turn Ferrari into an independent brand to help FCA raise funds to help finance billions in investments in order to develop numerous new models over the next few years. A 10% stake in the company has been sold in an IPO in 2015, and the remaining 80 percent of distribute Fiat Chrysler’s stake was distributed to its own investors.
Since the company began, it has been involved in motorsport, having competed in a range of categories, including Formula One and sports car racing via its Scuderia Ferrari sporting division. In addition, the company has also supplied race cars and engines to other teams and for one make series like the Ferrari Challenge over the course of its history.
Following the 1973 F1 World Championship, the writing was on the wall For Ferrari in terms of its participation in sports car racing. Formula 1 Racing was becoming more popular than sports car racing, and, upon seeing this trend, Ferrari knew that the company would have to focus on one or the other. So Ferrari decided to leave sports car racing at the conclusion of the year in order to pool its racing resources solely into Formula One racing, which it still does to this day. Although Scuderia Ferrari stopped participating in sports cars racing after 1973, Ferrari has built various sports cars for privateers on occasion in the decades since, which have been successful as well.
Enzo was known to push his workers hard; one of his former engineers called him an “agitator of men.” His workers frequently worked long hours, but the success the company was able to achieve in motorsport—and in road cars—speaks for itself. Statistically speaking, Ferrari is the most successful Formula One team in history, having earned a record of 15 Drivers' championships in the constructor category (supplier of the car driven by the person who won the Drivers’ Championship that year). Its most successful period aside from its early days in the 1950s and early 1960s was in the early 2000s when Michael Schumacher won five consecutive Formula One World Drivers' Championships. With the great number of victories it has achieved in Formula One, not to mention its success in other racing categories over the course of its history, Ferrari is certainly one of the most successful and prestigious automotive sports teams ever.
When one thinks of Ferrari, one thing that also comes to mind is the brand’s logo. The famous symbol is the black prancing horse on a yellow background, along with stripes of green, white, and red, which are the Italian national colors. The hood of all Ferrari road cars will usually have a rectangular badge while the sides of the car, close to the door, can sometimes have a badge shaped like a shield, along with the letters S and F, which stand for Scuderia Ferrari. The shield-shaped badge is the racing logo used on all Ferrari race cars.
So, where did this logo come from? Well, the prancing horse was actually the symbol used by an Italian World War I ace, as he used to paint it on the sides of his fighter plane. While racing at a track in Italy in 1923, Ferrari happened to meet the mother of the pilot, who unfortunately fell in battle. She asked Ferrari to use the horse on his cars in order to continue his tradition of sportsmanship, gallantry, and boldness, suggesting to Ferrari that it would bring him good fortune. Ferrari modified the horse and the background it was painted on a bit with his own personal touches. He began using the symbol on official company stationery in 1929, and it was displayed on a racing car for the first time in 1932.
Need Ferrari Parts?
Ferrari is truly the car specialist’s car and they are generally viewed as a symbol of speed, luxury and wealth. With a racing pedigree and small production numbers, the brand blends exclusivity and performance. By one estimate, only around 130,000 Ferraris have been built in the company’s entire 65 year history. Fewer than 7,500 Ferraris were sold by the company in 2012. For those lucky enough to own one of these truly unique – and rather expensive - machines, finding new aftermarket Ferrari parts is a hassle. Luckily, 1A Auto Parts provides new aftermarket Ferrari parts such as ignition switches, etc. Aftermarket Ferrari parts from 1A Auto are extremely durable and reliable. In addition, a new aftermarket replacement Ferrari part from 1A Auto will save you 30-50% on average over a comparable new OEM replacement Ferrari part that you would get at a local dealership. In addition to our aftermarket Ferrari parts, we also carry a selection of performance parts such as reusable air filters for your Ferrari as well.
At 1A Auto, our mission is to get you the right Ferrari parts for your car. Our product development team spends over 8,000 hours a year researching the best auto parts, and they are carefully selected by our trained engineers so you can rest assured that you are getting the correct, high quality part you need to get your Ferrari back on the road, at a discount price. You can shop for all of your Ferrari car parts and buy online safely and securely right here on our website, or you can call our customer service toll free at 888-844-3393 if you have any questions about any of our parts, or to buy over the phone.
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Look no further than 1A Auto for your aftermarket, original equipment (OE) replacement, and performance Ferrari auto parts and get your car the new parts it needs today, at a great discount, from car enthusiasts just like you! If you happen to be an enthusiastic Ferrari owner, have a deep passion for Ferrari vehicles, or just want to learn more about the automobile manufacturer, continue reading below for a detailed look at the brand's history and some of its past and present models.