HomeCar CultureAt age 70, Ferrari throws worldwide party

At age 70, Ferrari throws worldwide party


Ferrari certainly knows how to throw itself a birthday party, one that lasts the entire year and sprawls from Maranello, Italy, to Pebble Beach, California.

During 2017, Ferrari celebrated the 70th anniversary of March 12, 1947, when Enzo Ferrari started up the first car to bear his name. The 125 S, powered by a Gioacchino Columbo-designed V12 engine, roared to life in the small factory in northern Italy, with Ferrari taking the roadster for its first drive on nearby roads once the car was completed with its body bearing the now-famous Cavallino Rampante (Prancing Horse) insignia.

A 250LM body and wooden design buck at the London Design Museum | Dirk de Jager

The iconic Italian automaker marked that day 70 years later with a lavish party at its now much-larger factory, complete with significant Ferrari sports and racing cars from each decade and a guest list of hundreds of glitterati from the worlds of business, politics, show business and, of course, motorsports.

Even before the big day in Maranello, Ferrari was promoting its anniversary in worldwide events. Nearly every major concours and many racing venues included homages to the seventh decade of the legendary sports car and motorsports brand during the course of the year.

A taxi races past Ferraris displayed on Fifth Avenue in New York | Ferrari photo

In the U.S., perhaps the most significant and most-public celebration was in New York City, where Ferrari spread the party around Manhattan in October during Columbus Day weekend, which honors another famous Italian. “Driven by Emotion: Ferrari through the Decades” was an interactive showcase with major installations at Rockefeller Plaza, Hublot flagship store on Fifth Avenue, Ferrari’s New York showroom and Sotheby’s headquarters.

As well as displaying great Ferraris from the past and present, the shows included 70 “experiences” through digital magic, plus such attractions as a live performance by street artist Mitchell Schoerr at Rockefeller Plaza, with his artwork auctioned to benefit the Save the Children fund. And working with Spireworks, Ferrari arranged a full-scale light show in which the spires of iconic buildings of the New York City skyline were lit in red, the brand’s signature color.

1951 Ferrari 212 Export Touring Barchetta at Pebble Beach | Bob Golfen

The London Classic Car Show featured what organizers said was the largest gathering of historic Ferraris ever in the city. Also in Great Britain, there was a special collection of Ferraris at Goodwood, while a major exhibition entitled “Ferrari: Under the Skin” runs through April 15, 2018, at the Design Museum in London.

In August at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, Ferrari was honored with special classes that included Ferrari Major Race Winners and Ferrari One-Off Spéciales, as well as other displays and events.

Meanwhile, the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles continues its year-long exhibit “Seeing Red: 70 Years of Ferrari” through April 2018.

Ferrari exhibit at the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles | Larry Crane

Ferrari’s own museums in Modena and Maranello have been enjoying a record surge in attendance during the anniversary year, surpassing the half-million mark last month, more than the entire year of 2016.

The culmination of Ferrari’s celebration took place in September when the rolling party returned to Maranello for a massive array of events, including a showing of more than 1,000 Ferrari cars through the decades, an all-Ferrari auction held by RM Sotheby’s, a musical about Enzo Ferrari’s life, a laser-light show, a major concours and a tour that included more than 500 Ferraris driving in from major cities throughout Europe to Milan, where they lined up for a miles-long parade to Modeno, Enzo Ferrari’s birthplace and pre-war factory location, and on to Maranello.

A gathering of Ferrari 250 GTOs | Ferrari

And the fun continues online with “The Ferrari Legacy,” Ferrari’s fabulous anniversary website that encapsulates everything you ever wanted to know about the brand’s heritage, along with great historic photos and video.

Quite the yearlong celebration all around, encompassing the world just as Ferrari has, with power and flash, and the winning attitude that anything is possible.

Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.


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