2017 was Ferrari’s 70th anniversary.
The museum in Maranello, Italy, is one of two that is dedicated to Enzo Ferrari and his iconic car. The other is in Modena, the Museo Enzo Ferrari. You can visit their shared website here.
My trip to Italy last week saw me visit the Ferrari museum at Maranello.
This is not my usual pre-twentieth century post, but another that’s dedicated to an exhibition or museum that celebrates cultural aspects of twentieth century life. You can read my post Harry Potter: A History of Magic – the Exhibition here and Diana: Her Fashion Story – the Kensington Palace Exhibition here.
Is it a valid post for my history blog? As it’s a museum, I veer towards the affirmative.
Of course for petrol-heads it’s a must, for fans of Formula 1, too. I must admit, I like Formula 1, but I don’t support the Ferrari team, but that didn’t stop me from visiting Maranello. My blog is a diverse collection of historical stories that fascinate me and coming from Liverpool, a museum dedicated to red things excites me.
The museum exhibits classic street and Formula 1 cars from Ferrari’s short history, trophies and early design processes, such as wooden models. Initially the exhibition celebrates the life and achievements of Ferrari’s founder before delving into Ferrari’s more recent motor adventures.
Enzo Ferrari was born in Modena, Italy, on 18 February 1898. His father owned an engineering and metal fabrication business that employed around thirty staff. He saw his first motor race aged 10, in 1908, driving were racing heroes Vincenzo Lancia and Felice Nazarro.
In 1918 he headed to Turin to work in the motor industry before finding a position with Costruzione Meccaniche Nazionali (CMN) in Milan. He began racing for the company for the following year.
During the 1920s he bought an Alfa Romeo and began a long term association with the company; racing and with the development of the cars.
In 1929 he founded Scuderia Ferrari in Modena proposing to buy and build racing cars for wealthy amateurs and professional drivers. At this time Scuderia Ferrari essentially became the Alfa Romeo racing team.
In 1940 Enzo Ferrari ended his long association with Alfa Romeo and founded Auto-Avio Construzioni in Modena, but his previous contract with Alfa Romeo prohibited the use of his name on the cars. It wasn’t until 1947 that Ferrari could place his own name on a car, the Ferrari 125 S, of which three were built.
In 1948 a Ferrari won the Mille Miglia 1000 mile endurance race. This began a run of six victories in the annual race across northern Italy. In 1950 Giannino Marzotto won in the car pictured below. Marzotto drove the race dressed in a double-breasted suit and tie. He said it was in case the car broke down and he needed to travel home by train, others thought it was an advertisement for his family’s fabric business.
In 1949 a Ferrari won the Le Mans 24 hours race.
In 1951 a Ferrari won the British Grand Prix – their first F1 victory.
In 1961 Ferrari won the Constructors’ Championship in F1 for the first ttime.
Ferrari produced more than 1000 cars in a year for the first time in 1971 and between 1975 and 1983 Ferrari won five World Constructors’ Championships in Formula 1.
By 1987 Ferrari produced around 4000 cars a year.
Enzo Ferrari died in Modena, aged 90, on 14 August 1988.
Above is the one-off SP12EC – a bespoke model commissioned by Eric Clapton. It was inspired by the 512BB, the car he owned when younger.
Above is the 2002 F1 car that won 15 out of 17 Grand Prixes and Michael Schumacher’s 5th Championship.
The entrance to the museum is (at the time of writing) €16 which is comparable to the £16 entry paid for the Harry Potter: A History of Magic exhibition and £15.50 entry to Kensington Palace for the Diana: Her Fashion Story exhibition. There are also packages to visit both museums which can be explored on their website.
The Museo Ferrari, Maranello
Images Author’s Own