The Power and Passion of Red

20 Sep

In Spring of 2014, I spent some time in Italy, breathing the Italian air, walking around Ferrari’s private racetrack, Fiorano, near Marenello, and touring the Galleria Ferrari and even walking the Enzo Ferrari Museum in Modena.  The streets in this historic region are narrow and rarely straight.  You see numerous ceramic manufacturers, an industry that has been around these parts for nearly 2000 years before Enzo.  Though primarily architectural ceramics, the range of products include pottery and kitchenware as well. You may spot stores selling the region’s balsamic vinegar or possible a sign pointing out Luciano Pavorotti’s former home. Nothing jumps out as the heart and soul of Ferrari as you approach the actual factory. When you first spot it, the historic look of the entrance gate is exactly as it has been for years.  Across the street is the famous Ristorante Cavallino, that Enzo Ferrari opened so he could get a table and meals matching his preference. The food is wonderful but reservations are recommended, as the place seems to be on every Ferrari fans bucket list.Factory2

Ferrari cars are assembled inside the Marenello factory, while the body / chassis components are made and assembled just up the road in Modena at the former Scaglietti factory.  Carrozerria Scaglietti was opened as a repair shop and coachbuilder in 1951 by Sergio Scaglietti. Initially located just across the street from the Ferrari factory, he became the primary builder for Ferrari designs.  Relocating slightly north as space was needed, then selling the factory to Ferrari later in life.

IMG_3621A short walk away is the Galleria Ferrari and the feel of the space changes quickly.  Every store and business seems to be Ferrari themed, selling clothes, shoes, miniatures, photos, posters, and all types of memorabilia.  There are Ferrari rental businesses with a choice of cars to enjoy for an hour or two.  IMG_3922An elderly gentlemen drove past me in a Fly Yellow Ferrari convertible and after a few blocks he made a U-turn and came back by.  He repeated this a few times as he enjoyed his chance to check this off his Bucket List without getting lost in the Italian countryside.

Just past the Galleria is the Fiorano test track used by Ferrari for both street and race cars.  You can hear the sounds of cars on track easier than you can see them.  There’s a strong sense of history in the air from the famous racing talent that has driven laps here under the watchful eyes of “il Commendatore” (The Commander) Enzo Ferrari.

With an almost unflagging focus on racing and winning, in 1938 Ferrari started building car parts on his own after a successful 13 year stint with Alfa Romeo running their racing division.  Enzo would often race cars himself but had limited race wins as his mechanical talents and business drive outpaced his driving talents.  Luckily, he knew and befriended many great drivers who stood on winner’s podiums thanks to his cars. Though he made 2 race cars for the 1940 Mille Miglia, WWII and his contract with Alfa Romeo prevented any real car building until 1947 when he formed Ferrari S.p.A..   Success came quickly in Ferrari racing with many different drivers.  The cost of racing is higher than the winnings so the flawed business plan was solved when Enzo’s

Photo by Chuck, The Car Guy

Photo by Chuck, The Car Guy

friend, Luigi Chinetti, a successful racer and former coworker from Alfa Romeo who had emigrated to the USA during WWII, convinced Enzo that if he built street cars, wealthy people would buy them.  The decision saved the company and has provided us numerous great cars throughout the years.

Unfortunately, economic downturns in the 1960s and the OPEC created oil shortages in the 1970s almost ended the exotic car company’s future as Enzo tried everything he could to hold to his exacting standards. Sale of a 50% stake in his company to Fiat helped with cash flow but the use of V12 motors and no compromise engineering was still too expensive.  Reluctantly, Enzo tried a new V8 engine, mid level priced car in the market.  MagnumPIAfter some initial interest, and a perfect product placement in what would become a popular TV show (Magnum PI) sales soared. The pricing of the V8 powered cars enabled additional buyers, and these mid level Ferraris quickly outsold all previous Ferraris combined.

Now, Ferrari still produces some of the most extreme sports cars on the planet, combined with a mid level car that still outperforms most people who try to drive them. Their latest struggle is that Fiat has acquired Chrysler. Cross brand collaboration within the Fiat family of cars has happened many times recently with Maserati (The MC12 and Enzo), Alfa Romeo (8cCompetizione), Lancia (Stratos), and Fiat (500 695 Tributo Ferrari). Luca di Montezemolo, hand picked by Enzo as head of Ferrari, just announced his retirement in frustration with Fiats plan to perhaps stretch that cross brand support into the Chrysler side.

All of the history and current drama aside, touring Modena, the birthplace of Ferrari and the Enzo Ferrari Museum which is dedicated to Enzo’s history, and the Ferrari Galleria dedicated to racing success past and present is clearly exhilarating. These spaces are filled with the cars, items, and history of Ferrari. You had better appreciate the color red, as the places are filled with plenty of it. With the national racing color of Italy being shades of red, where France was light blue, Germany had silver, England used dark green, it helped people to distinguish there home cars while watching races.

ferrarimuseum-18The Enzo Ferrari Museum is built down into the ground and when viewed from above looks much like some sort of race duct on a modern race car. Once inside it is open floor plan with the cars selectively placed on modernistic pedestals and spotlighted from above. Grouped by age, the cars progress from the early Alfas (borrowed from the Museo Alfa Romeo) to the modern Enzo Ferrari, the only car named after the founder. As you walk the museum, the lights suddenly dim, and the entire white ceiling and wall space becomes display screens for movies profiling Enzo and the racing and company history. As the movies talk about a specific car, the spotlights highlight that car on display. The presentation lasts about 25 minutes and then the lights are all back on bright for another 35 minutes. Next door, is the former family home of the Ferrari family and a portion is open with displays of smaller items through the years from logo samples to Enzo’s trademark sunglasses. These displays are designed to remain static and are dedicated to the history of Enzo Ferrari who died in 1988.

Entering the Enzo Ferrari Museum with the Ferrari family home on the right.

Entering the Enzo Ferrari Museum with the Ferrari family home on the right.

1987 F1 car

1987 F1 car

IMG_1590

Part of the movie presentation that displays on the walls and ceiling.

Part of the movie presentation that displays on the walls and ceiling.

1932 Alfa Romeo 8C2300 Spider Corsa with the 1935 Alfa BiMotore behind.  Both products of the Scuderia Ferrari team.

1932 Alfa Romeo 8C2300 Spider Corsa with the 1935 Alfa BiMotore behind. Both products of the Scuderia Ferrari team.

1937 Alfa Romeo 158 built by Scuderia Ferrari, the race division of Alfa Romeo.

1937 Alfa Romeo 158 built by Scuderia Ferrari, the race division of Alfa Romeo.

One of the 2 built, 1940 Auto Avio Costruzioni 815.  It was the first car to be fully designed and built by Enzo Ferrari.

One of the 2 built, 1940 Auto Avio Costruzioni 815. It was the first car to be fully designed and built by Enzo Ferrari.

The 1987 F40 with the yellow 1966 275 GTB4.

The 1987 F40 with the yellow 1966 275 GTB4.

Though shown at the 1980 Turin Auto Show, Enzo Ferrari refused to make a production run of the Ferrari Pinin as it had two too many doors.

Though shown at the 1980 Turin Auto Show, Enzo Ferrari refused to make a production run of the Ferrari Pinin as it had two too many doors.

A perfect Dino GT.

A perfect Dino GT.

An identical recreation of the first Ferrari 125 S from 1947.

An identical recreation of the first Ferrari 125 S from 1947.

A wire frame 250 GTO was the Quality Control jig for the GTO body panels.

A wire frame 250 GTO was the Quality Control jig for the GTO body panels.

The 250 Berlinetta Lusso sits next to its Maserati competition.

The 250 Berlinetta Lusso sits next to its Maserati competition.

IMG_1591 IMG_1589 IMG_1584

This 1953 ARNO XI Hydroplane with a twin supercharged V12 set a world speed record at 241.7 KPH.

This 1953 ARNO XI Hydroplane with a twin supercharged V12 set a world speed record at 241.7 KPH.

Logo changes throughout the years are displayed

Logo changes throughout the years are displayed

Enzo's trademark sunglasses

Enzo’s trademark sunglasses

Down the road in Maranello, the Ferrari Galleria seems to always be undergoing remodel or expansion… each time I have stopped some construction is going on to add something and this latest visit was no exception. Displays follow the racing of the past, then many of the development cars that lead to either race or street cars, a championship room dedicated to recent Formula 1 success, and then modern race cars from the Sports or GT racing series like Le Mans, Daytona, or the Challenge Series. The Galleria displays will continue to change with time as new cars and successes earn their spot in the limelight.

Galleria entrance

Galleria entrance

Samples of the myriad of Ferrari colors

Samples of the myriad of Ferrari colors

Evolution of the F1 Cockpit

Evolution of the F1 Cockpit

2009 Ferrari F60

2009 Ferrari F60

1989 F1 car

1989 F1 car

1985 F1 156

1985 F1 156

Since the originals were cut up and gone Ferrari recreated a 156 Sharknose

Since the originals were cut up and gone Ferrari recreated a 156 Sharknose

1970 512 M

1970 512 M

Ahhh, the famous butts that sat in these seats.

Ahhh, the famous butts that sat in these seats.

1951 Ferrari 166 F2

1951 Ferrari 166 F2

1951 Ferrari 166 F2

1951 Ferrari 166 F2

Looking inside the 1957 500 TRC.

Looking inside the 1957 500 TRC.

1954 750 Monza

1954 750 Monza

What appears to be a Ferrari P4.

What appears to be a Ferrari P4.

Recreation of Enzo's office.

Recreation of Enzo’s office.

Trophy Wall

Trophy Wall

F1 Championship room

F1 Championship room

2008 F1 Constructor's Championship winner

2008 F1 Constructor’s Championship winner

From back to front:  2003 360 Challenge Stradale, 2013 458 Speciale, 2007 430 Scuderia, 2006 430 GTC-GT2, and the 2011 458 GT2 car built by AF Corsa.

From back to front: 2003 360 Challenge Stradale, 2013 458 Speciale, 2007 430 Scuderia, 2006 430 GTC-GT2, and the 2011 458 GT2 car built by AF Corsa.

1987 Ferrari F40 bi-Turbo Motor

1987 Ferrari F40 bi-Turbo Motor

One of the displays shows race and street wheel development and changes.

One of the displays shows race and street wheel development and changes.

Display of the 2008 India Tour and 2005 China Tour, 612 Scaglietti cars. In the back is the odd green colored 599 test vehicle for the HY-KERS electric motors.

Display of the 2008 India Tour and 2005 China Tour, 612 Scaglietti cars. In the back is the odd green colored 599 test vehicle for the HY-KERS electric motors.

A stretched Ferrari 348 was the rolling test mule for the Enzo V12.

A stretched Ferrari 348 was the rolling test mule for the Enzo V12.

Project F150 cars in the foreground with a final LaFerrari in the back.

Project F150 cars in the foreground with a final LaFerrari in the back.

Project F150  (LaFerrari)development cars.

Project F150 (LaFerrari)development cars.

LaFerrari

LaFerrari

Full size Ferrari sculptures along the walkway next to the Galleria

Full size Ferrari sculptures along the walkway next to the Galleria

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