Ferrari history
Written by: Marc Vorgers/ ClassicarImages 

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Ferrari is one of the most famous names in post 1945 automobile history. Enzo Ferrari started his career as a mechanic at Alfa Romeo. In the year 1923 Alfa Romeo offered him the opportunity to become (test) driver for the Alfa Romeo racing team. Enzo Ferrari was not very successful as a racingcar driver so he was made responsible for the organization and technical problem solving within the racing team.  Soon Enzo Ferrari was asked to be the team manager of Scruderia Alfa Romeo; and he was successful winning many races and championships for Alfa Romeo. As Alfa Romeo decided to end their racing activities Enzo Ferrari decided to start his own racing team; Scruderia Ferrari. Scruderia Ferrari was racing Alfa Romeo cars and they were very successful in the thirties of the twentieth century. In the late thirties the competition of Auto Union and Mercedes-Benz became too strong so Alfa Romeo decided to stop the production of racing cars. Enzo Ferrari decided to construct and produce his own racing car which became reality in the year 1940; the Auto Avia tipo 815. The car was based upon Fiat mechanics and was not successful. After world war two, in the year 1945, Enzo Ferrari asked his old friend and engineer Colombo to work with him developing a new racing car. Colombo constructed the legendary Ferrari 60 V12 engine with two overhead camshafts (one per cylinder row). The V12 engine had a capacity of 1500 cc. and the unit saw it's debut in the Ferrari 125 S. This prototype was going to be evaluated and in 1947 the result was the first Ferrari production sportscar; the Ferrari 166. The tipo 166 design was inspired by the open "Barchetta" style being introduced by carrosseria Touring.
The Colombo V12 engine was enlarged to 1995 cc. and the power output reached 200 bhp. at 7000 rpm...
The Ferrari tipo 166 would be responsible for the eternal fame of the Ferrari name... In the year 1949 driver Luigi Chinetti was able to win the 24 hours race of Le Mans for Ferrari and a few months later they won the 1949 Mille Miglia...
Ferrari was going to win many Grand Prix and sportscar races around the world in the years to come. In our modern days Scruderia Ferrari is the team to beat in the Formula 1 Grand Prix Championship with driver Michael Schumacher.
In the continuation of the Ferrari history we will not highlight the Ferrari racing activities but we will focus on the Ferrari V12 sportscars with front mounted engine built until 1985.

Click here to view a ClassicarImages photo reportage on 35 Ferrari sportscars built between 1949 and 1990...

Click here to view a ClassicarImages photo reportage on championship winning GT racing cars from 1953 until 1991. Amongst these GT champions we will find 6 Ferrari GT racing cars...

We continue in the year 1950, the Ferrari 166 evaluated into the succeeding model the Ferrari 195 Inter. The cylinder capacity of the Colombo V12 engine has grown to 2341 cc. As with the Ferrari 166 the body's of the Ferrari 195 are built by several bodywork artists like Ghia, Touring and Vignale. Breath taking creations appeared as coupes and convertibles based on the Ferrari 195 chassis. 
De final evaluation of the 166 concept was the Ferrari 212. The cylinder capacity of the V12 engine was enlarged up to 2562 cc.. The engine capacity was rated between 150 and 170 bhp. depending on the engine specification.

Next to the Ferrari models 195 and 212 Ferrari built various specials based on the 166 chassis between 1950 and 1955. These very exclusive special models were the Ferrari 340, 342 and 375 America and Mexico. These very scarce models were fitted with 4100 cc. and 4523 cc. V12 engines which were based upon the Ferrari Formula one V12 engine constructed by Aurelio Lampredi. The engine capacities of this so called "long block" topped 300 bhp. for the streetcars and 340 bhp. for the racingcars. Top speed of the street cars was 240 km/h.

The year 1952 was the start of the second phase in Ferrari history. After Colombo enlarged the cylinder capacity of "his" V12 engine to 2953 cc. the Ferrari 250 GT series saw the light of day... The 250 GT series was to become the most successful and most famous Ferrari model family ever...
In 1952 a Ferrari 250 prototype won the Mille Miglia street race and after that success many 250 GT sports and racing cars were introduced until 1963;
Ferrari 250 Europa ('53-'55), Ferrari 250 GT "Boano"('56-'58), Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France ('55-'59), Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet en California ('57-'60 en serie II '60-'63), Ferrari 250 GT ('58-'60), Ferrari 250 GT SWB ('59-'62), Ferrari 250 GTE ('60-'63), Ferrari 250 GTO ('62-'63) and the Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso ('62-'64).

The very exclusive and scarce Ferrari America en Mexico sportscars were succeeded by the Superamerica models in the 250 GT era;
The Ferrari 410 Superamerica ('56-'59) and the Ferrari 400 Superamerica ('59-'64).
In the year 1964 the ultimate Ferrari in the America family was born; the Ferrari 500 Superfast.  The Superfast was designed by PininFarina. In the Ferrari 500 Superfast the Lampredi V12 engine was enlarged up to 4962 cc cylinder capacity. The engine was fitted with 3 or 6 Weber 40 DCZ/6 carburettors and the engine capacity was an astonishing 400 bhp. at 6500 rpm.
The early 500 Superfast models were fitted with a four speed gearbox and a Laycock de Normanville overdrive (just like the Ferrari 250 GT models), the last models were equipped with a five speed gearbox with a hydraulic operated Borg & Beck clutch.
* The last model in the America model series was the Ferrari 365 California ('66-'67). This car was fitted with a new V12 engine type (type 217B) with a cylinder capacity of 4390 cc. This engine was going to evolve over the years and would be produced until 1985 as the Ferrari 412 GT was taken out of production.

The year 1965 was the start of the third phase in Ferrari history which runs until 1973. From 1965 until the last front engined classic Ferrari three V12 engines are used for the new model series. The series consists of the following Ferrari models; the Ferrari 275, 330, 365 en 400 (the 400 is an after model which was build much longer). These Ferrari models are characterized by a new designed chassis, suspension and brake system. The cars feature all independent suspension, two circuit power diskbrakes all round and last but not least a gearbox mounted to the differential (Transaxle).

The legendary Colombo V12 engine was further developed and the cylinder capacity was enlarged up to 3286 cc..
This engine was designated to power the Ferrari 275 GTB "Berlinetta" ('64-'66) and the Ferrari 275 GTS "Spider" ('64-'66). 
Another version of the Colombo V12 with even more cylinder capacity (3967 cc.) was designated to power the Ferrari 330 GT ('64-'67) and the Ferrari 330 GTC ('66-'68).
The ultimate version of this engine (3285 cc.) appeared in the Ferrari 275 GTB/4 and the Ferrari NART Spyder in the year 1966. This engine version was constructed with two camshafts per cylinder row and dry sump lubrication (without oil sump). Six double Weber carburettors were fitted and a capacity of
300 bhp. at 8000 rpm was the result...

The most important news in the year 1965 was the introduction of the new 4390 cc. V12 engine which was derived from the Ferrari 365 P racingcar. This engine is used in the Ferrari 365 model family. The engine is fitted with two or four overhead camshafts and dry sump lubrication. The cars with four overhead camshafts can be identified by the /4 addition to the model number.
The 365 family consists of the following models:
Ferrari 365 GT California ('66-'67), Ferrari 365 GT 2+2 ('67-'71), Ferrari 365 GTB/4 "Daytona" ('68-'73), Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Spyder "Daytona" ('69-'73), Ferrari 365 GTC/4 ('71-'72), Ferrari 365 GT4 2+2 ('72-'76). The Ferrari models 400 GT and GTi are also part of this family, they succeeded the 356 GT 4 2+2 but shared the same bodywork as their predecessor. The Ferrari 400 GT was fitted with an automatic gearbox. The 1979 Ferrari 400 GTi was equipped with a Bosch K-Jetronic petrol injection system. The last Ferrari 400 GTi left the Ferrari factory in the year 1985.

One model in the Ferrari 365 family was responsible for the start of the fourth phase in Ferrari history; the Ferrari 365 GT/4 BB
('73-'76).
This car conceptually does not fit in the 365 family but the car was Ferrari's reply to Lamborghini's extraordinary Miura sportscar which was a revolution with it's central mounted engine.
The Ferrari 365 GT/4 BB was a sportscar with a central mounted engine, a 4391 cc. 12 cylinder boxer engine... 
In the year 1976 365 GT/4 BB was succeeded by the Ferrari 512 BB. The car featured the same bodywork but the engine capacity was enlarged up to 4942 cc. and fitted with dry sump lubrication.

De introduction of the central mounted engine in the Ferrari 365 GT/4 BB would be the start of the fourth phase in Ferrari history; the mid engined V8 Ferrari models.

The Ferrari history from the year 1985 and onwards will be added in the near future...

Click here to view selection of Ferrari models in the ClassicarImages archives.


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