ITALIAN automaker Ferrari marked the start of its 70th anniversary celebration with a ceremonial roll-out of its first car, the 125 S, driving through the gates of the storied Maranello works in the classic roadster just as founder Enzo Ferrari did on March 12, 1947.
To coincide with the official start of the celebrations and to commemorate the events of 70 years ago, Ferrari also released a special video featuring the first 12-cylinder to sport the Cavallino Rampante on its bonnet, the 125 S, driving through the factory gates on Via Abetone Inferiore and, in doing so, symbolically passing 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, vital to powerful performance, with Giuseppe Busso and Luigi Bazzi also contributing to the project.
On March 12, 1947, the 125 S, still an unbodied steel rolling chassis, roared to life for the first time and the great Ferrari adventure began. Incredibly, it was a mere two months later, on May 11, 1947, that the car made its track debut, entering the race at the Piacenza Circuit with Franco Cortese at the wheel.
Enzo Ferrari dubbed this maiden outing “a promising failure” after the car was forced to pull up with a fuel pump problem while leading the race. The 125 S and its team of builders redeemed themselves just nine days later on May 20, when Cortese drove the 125 S to victory in the Rome Grand Prix, completing the 40 lap, 137-kilometer race at the blistering average speed of 88.5 kph. It would be just the first of an astonishing six victories in its birth year for the 125 S, capped off with a commanding win in the Parma Grand Prix with Tazio Nuvolari at the helm.
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 spider version of the acclaimed LaFerrari supercar, a limited-edition hybrid boasting a 789-horsepower, 6.3-liter V12 coupled with a 120-kilowatt electric motor for a total power output of nearly 950 hp.
More than 60 countries will host various anniversary events this year under Ferrari’s theme of “Driven by Emotion.” A highlight of the various events, which will culminate in Maranello on September 9 and 10 (the week after the Formula One race at nearby Monza), will be the visit to each venue of an example of the LaFerrari Aperta.
To mark the anniversary, Ferrari also launched a special website highlighting the history of the fabled marque, www.ferrari70.com.
Some highlights in Ferrari history
1947 – Ferrari is founded
1950 – Ferrari makes F1 debut
1958 – Mike Hawthorn becomes F1 World Champion in a Ferrari 246 F1
1962 – Unveiling of the 250 GTO, 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
1968 – The 365 GTB4 (Daytona) is unveiled at the Paris Motor Show
1969 – Fiat becomes a Ferrari shareholder
1972 – The Fiorano Circuit, Ferrari’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 126K at Monaco
1984 – The Ferrari Testarossa is unveiled at the Paris Motor Show
1987 – The F40 debuts at the Frankfurt Motor Show
1988 – August 14: Enzo Ferrari passes away at the age of 90
1993 – The marque’s first single-make championship, the Ferrari Challenge, is launched
1998 – The new Renzo Piano-designed GES Wind Tunnel opens
2004 – Ferrari sets a new F1 record of six Constructors’ and five Drivers’ World titles in a row
2007 – Kimi Räikkönen and the Scuderia Ferrari are F1 World Champions
2013 – The Cavallino Rampante’s first hybrid model, the LaFerrari, goes into production
2015 – Ferrari is listed on the New York Stock Exchange
2016 – The LaFerrari Aperta, an iconic model celebrating the marque’s 70th anniversary, is launched at the Paris Motor Show
2017 – The latest addition to the Ferrari family, the 812 Superfast, debuts at Geneva.