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 RetroClassics Press Day at  Autopalazzo

Retro Classics

Stuttgart, 12 – 15 March 2009

The victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours race in 1949 heralded the start of an entire racing era: up until its withdrawal from sports car racing, Ferrari achieved countless successes, especially in the 1950s and 1960s. From 1973 onwards, the Italian company from Maranello concentrated totally on Formula 1 where it ultimately became a legend on account of a multiple world champion from Germany called Michael Schumacher. A special show in Hall 4 at Retro Classics will present the eventful history of this world-famous racing team with the jumping horse symbol.

The heraldic animal is possibly a close relation of the Stuttgart “Rössle“ (horse): in June 1923 the racing driver Enzo Ferrari made the acquaintance of Countess Paolina, the mother of Francesco Baraca, a pilot who had been killed during the First World War. Baraca’s unit was under the command of a cavalry regiment, which is why a red stallion on a white background was painted on the planes. According to other sources, Baraca copied the idea from a German pilot who had painted the coat of arms of his home city Stuttgart on the aircraft fuselage. The Countess suggested to Ferrari that he use the symbol as a lucky charm for his automobiles. However, Ferrari only adopted the basic idea and changed the motif substantially. He underlaid it, for example, with a powerful yellow, the colour of Modena, the city where he was born. The cavallino rampante (rearing horse) has been the official trademark of the Ferrari racing team since 1929.

Under the direction of Ferrari, the team took part in numerous races up until 1938. In some of these races it acted as a works team for Alfa Romeo. It was not until 1940 that a decision was taken to become actively involved in car production. “Scuderia Ferrari” was transformed into the company “Auto Avio Costruzioni Ferrari”, which was moved to its current home town of Maranello in 1943. At the beginning, the company solely constructed racing cars. In 1946 Ferrari rebuilt the factory that had been destroyed during the Second World War and changed the company’s concept. The first roadworthy car - the Ferrari 125 C Sport – rolled off the assembly line in 1947. This stylish deep red sports car had a 1.5-litre V 12 engine. It made its debut at the “Circuito di Piacenza” on 11 May and paved the way for the company’s future success.

Nearly all the models on display at Retro Classics date from the golden age of Ferrari, i.e. the 1950s and 1960s. Visitors to Retro Classics will therefore be able to see an early Ferrari 212 Export Touring Barchetta from 1951, the brutal 375 MM PF Spyder, the famous Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa Scaglietti Spyder from 1958, the racy TdF, a 250 GT SWB Berlinetta from 1960 and a 250 GT SWB California Spyder from 1962. Exquisite design, high-quality appointments and the extraordinary engine performance soon made Ferrari cars a coveted accessory of the jet set.

Group 1 - Ferrari Barchetta & Spyder
Group 2 - Berlinetta
Group 3 - 2+2

However, the company suffered a financial crash at the end of the 1960s. Unlike its rival Porsche, whose wide range of roadworthy models had become the focus of a class of customers with high spending power, Ferrari had neglected the model range in the amateur sector. Although the company managed to avoid being taken over by Ford, the Ford GT40 competed with Ferrari for first place in sports car races. Ferrari’s coffers were only filled again when Fiat became involved in the company in 1969. When tougher safety regulations in the USA again led to sales problems, Enzo Ferrari turned his back on sports car racing after a few final successes and concentrated entirely on Formula 1 up until his death in 1988.

With a German driver in the cockpit, the Ferrari team finally regained its leading position in motor racing from the mid-1990s onwards: Michael Schumacher became the most successful driver in the history of Formula 1 and won a total of 5 World Championships for the Italian team between 2000 and 2004.

How did Ferrari’s red colour come about? Italian racing cars have always been painted in rosso corsa, i.e. racing red, since the 1920s. The colour of the cars was merely due to the nationality of the team, not the car maker or the driver. Red therefore stood for Italy, blue for France and green for the United Kingdom. The cars in German teams were painted white.

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