On March 12 1947, Enzo Ferrari fired up the 125 S, the first car to bear his name. That test-drive on the streets of Maranello marked the start of modern Ferrari history. The then-modest factory quickly grew into one of the great internationally-renowned Made in Italy icons. Now, exactly 70 years later, on March 12 2017, the company launched its official celebrations for this milestone anniversary.
Ferrari also released a special video featuring a re-enactment of the first 12-cylinder to sport the Cavallino Rampante on its bonnet. The 125 S came out of the factory gates on Via Abetone Inferiore. And, in doing so, symbolically passed the baton of the Ferrari legacy to the LaFerrari Aperta.
125 S, the first Ferrari
This was the first car to sport the Ferrari badge. Gioacchino Colombo designed its 12-cylinder engine. Giuseppe Busso and Luigi Bazzi also contributed to the project. On March 12 1947, the 125 S roared to life for the first time and the great adventure began.
Two months later, on May 11 1947, the car made its track debut at the Piacenza Circuit
At the wheel of the 125 S (the S referring to its sports car-type bodywork) was Franco Cortese. Enzo Ferrari dubbed this maiden outing as “a promising failure” after the car pulled up with a fuel pump problem whilst leading the race. However, that moment of failure was short. Just nine days later on May 20, Franco Cortese drove the 125 S to victory in the Rome Grand Prix. He completed the 40 laps of the circuit and the 137 kilometres of the race at an average speed of 88.5 km/h. This was the first of six victories the 125 S in 1947. The most notable of them was the Parma Grand Prix with Tazio Nuvolari doing the driving.
LaFerrari Aperta, 70th anniversary icon
Technological excellence, performance, style, exclusivity. Ferrari’s unique core values are brilliantly represented by the car launched to mark the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the company. The LaFerrari Aperta is the new limited-edition special series model dedicated to the most loyal clients and also the spider version of the acclaimed LaFerrari supercar.
Maranello’s latest supercar effortlessly combines extraordinary performance with the unique exhilaration of open-top driving. It has the same hybrid power unit as the coupé: an 800 cv 6,262cc V12 engine (specific power output of 128 cv/l, compression ratio 13.5:1) with a 120 kW electric motor for a total power output of a 963 cv.
A “Driven by Emotion” Anniversary
In the course of 2017, over 60 nations will host events as part of the “Driven by Emotion” concept. “Driven by Emotion” is a tribute to the importance placed by the Cavallino Rampante on emotion throughout the last 70 years: be it in terms of delivering the most riveting and rewarding driving experience possible, Ferrari’s universally lauded and acknowledged styling, or innovation via the astonishing pioneering technological solutions revealed by each new Maranello model.
Thus, March 12 marks the start of the anniversary events with Australasia opening the programme. The LaFerrari Aperta will be present at each stage as the symbol of the 70th anniversary.
The anniversary celebrations culminate in Maranello on the weekend of September 9 and 10. But they will also be flanked by other initiatives paying homage to Cavallino Rampante history, not least special exhibitions and the first “Cavalcade Classiche”.
Some of the highlights in Ferrari history
1947 – Ferrari is founded and in 1950 the brand makes F1 debut
1958 – Mike Hawthorn becomes F1 World Champion in a 246 F1, while in 1962 the 250 GTO arrived – winner of the International Championship for GT Manufacturers in 1962, 1963 and 1964
1964 – John Surtees becomes Formula 1 World Champion with the 158 F1
1967 – Three Ferraris – two 330 P4s and a 412 P –deliver a spectacular 1-2-3 parade finish in the 24 Hours of Daytona, while a year later the 365 GTB4 (Daytona) debuts at the Paris Motor Show
1969 – Fiat becomes a Ferrari shareholder
1972 – The Fiorano Circuit, the company’s test track, is officially opened
1975 – Niki Lauda takes the Formula 1 World Champion title in the 312 T
1981 – Gilles Villeneuve delivers first ever victory in a turbocharged F1 car in the 126 K at Monaco
1984 – The Testarossa arrives at the Paris Motor Show, while in 1987 the F40 debuts at the Frankfurt Motor Show
1988 – 14 August: Enzo Ferrari passes away at the age of 90
1993 – The marque’s first single-make championship, the Ferrari Challenge, comes to life, while in 1998 the new Renzo Piano-designed GES Wind Tunnel opens
2004 – Ferrari sets a new F1 record of 6 Constructors’ and 5 Drivers’ World titles in a row
2006 – The exclusive XX programme, designed to deliver extreme performance to top clients, debuts
2007 – Kimi Raikkonen and the Scuderia are World Champions
2013 – The Cavallino Rampante’s first hybrid model, the LaFerrari, goes into production and two years later (in 2015) the company is listed on the New York stock exchange
2016 – The LaFerrari Aperta, an iconic model celebrating the marque’s 70th anniversary, appears at the Paris Motor Show, while in 2017 the latest addition to the family, the 812 Superfast, debuts at Geneva.