By Ahmad Rafat
Ferrari, arguably the most exotic car ever built, celebrates its 70th birthday in a special exhibition entitled “Ferrari: Under the Skin” at London’s Design Museum.
The exhibition, which ends on April 15, features everything from rare classics to the latest models. The total value of the cars on display is estimated at around 140 million pounds ($186 million).
Visitors get a rare glimpse into every step of a Ferrari’s production – from design to delivery. Displays include preliminary drawings, wooden models, various types of engines, and rarely seen documents. Also on display are archival materials and photographs of the creator of the iconic car, Enzo Ferrari, as well as of the numerous celebrities who owned Ferraris over the years.
Enzo Ferrari believed that demand should always exceed supply, so the desire to own a Ferrari would never diminish. At present, Ferrari manufactures a total of 8,000 cars a year. Buyers wait up to two years to take delivery of a new vehicle, for which they will have typically spent 280,000 euros ($333,000).
Among the exhibition highlights is one of the first cars ever designed by Enzo Ferrari – the Cavallino Rampante (Wild Horse). Others include the 166MM (from 1950) bought by Gianni Agnelli, the future chairman of Fiat; and the Ferrari Tipo 500 Grand Prix in which Alberto Ascari won the world championship in 1952 and 1953.
Also on show are La Ferrari Aperta, Michael Schumacher’s F1-2000, and a hand-sculpted clay model of the J50.
Ferrari has won more than 100 prizes at Formula 1 races since 1950. The company has only manufactured 200 of the Aperta racecars, each priced 900,000 euros. That particular model is sold only to a select group of loyal customers whose names are placed on a long waiting list.
As one of the organizers of the Design Museum exhibition told Kayhan Life, the aim was not “to attract only lovers of high-end sports and race cars. We wanted to appeal to a wider audience, including those who like design and engineering, and are curious about the Ferrari brand.”
“Ferrari is not just a car: It’s also a great success story,” the Design Museum curator added. “It’s a happy marriage between aesthetics and engineering. Each model is an engineering marvel and a work of art.”
Ferrari manufactures two distinct lines: luxury cars and Formula 1 cars. The company has been manufacturing both brands at its Maranello plant, near Modena in northern Italy, since 1947. The plant has been modernized over the years, and is now equipped with state-of-the-art automotive technology. Yet the final check is still done in the traditional way: by two experts who inspect each frame as it leaves the automated paint shop, and correct any imperfections with fine brushes.