It was with excitement and fervour that I accepted an invitation to be a part of the special birthday celebrations at Ferrari that took place in mid September. The get-your-pulse-racing Scuderia has turned 70, and it was only after I arrived in Maranello that I realised how limited the media presence really was. So the ‘Ferrari70’ celebration was a rather exclusive affair that largely saw owners, aficionados and collectors of Ferrari cars over the past seventy years in attendance – by invitation only.
The event was designed to truly champion the famed Scuderia’s race and road-cars over its rich history. We attended many special events over its anniversary weekend – and I can tell you that I ended up with a sore forearm, given how often I was pinching myself! And that’s because of the huge number of classic and contemporary Ferraris that were also in attendance.
The event was split into three main attractions – a classic car Concorso de Eleganza, an auction of rare and priceless Ferraris, as well as the memorabilia and art associated with them, and a gala celebration that was only fitting for the brand. The commemorative show saw us being regaled by the history of Ferrari through a beautifully choreographed ballet. It brought together some moving films, dancing and acrobatic acts, musicians, singers, and, yes, lots of cars – including the very first Ferrari, the 125 S. You couldn’t help but get emotional – and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house – when the retrospective commemoration of Ferrari’s legendary racers came to the 2000s and Michael Schumacher appeared on the screen. The deafening applause is enough proof of how the record breaking champion is still revered at the Scuderia. Of course the current drivers – Kimi and Sebastian – also made an appearance on stage. Even the fireworks were spectacular, and the show ended with a concert by English band Jamiroquai – fitting since the band’s lead, Jay Kay, is a Ferrari owner and aficionado himself.
We also had the chance to attend the auction earlier in the day. Needless to say, some of the cars commanded quite a price – depending on rarity, condition and, indeed, ownership history. Some cars fetched anywhere from €500,000 all the way into the millions! A 70th anniversary special edition LaFerrari Aperta was auctioned for €8.3 million. Proceeds from that particular lot went to the ‘Save the Children’ charity. The classic car show, meanwhile, had an unbelievable parade of immaculately restored, well-maintained and rare cars. 120 entries spanning 19 GT and sport prototype categories sat resplendent at the company’s famous Pista di Fiorano circuit.
The Best in Show went to an absolutely gorgeous 250 GT Berlinetta (Passo Corto) that was recently restored and certified by Ferrari Classiche. It had Pininfarina coachwork, and was a car that had competed at Le Mans in the 60s. The Best in Show in the GT category was a very special 1986 Testarossa Spider that also won the ‘Developed on Track’ Class. The car is a one-off official roadster version of the Testarossa that was created for the then Fiat Chairman Gianni Agnelli as a celebration of his 20th anniversary as Chairman. The winner in the Competition category was a very special and historically significant car – the 1953 340 MM Vignale. The MM in its name comes from the famed Mille Miglia race, which this car won in 1953. The 12-cylinder 4.1-litre with bodywork by Vignale is finished in two tone red and silver and bears the number 547 across its side.
All the winners at this event have now found a special place in the hearts of Ferrari lovers. This is especially true because a special classic car event dedicated only to Ferraris – and that too at this scale and held by the company itself – may not happen again for a long time to come. Perhaps this is something that could happen at the company’s 80th anniversary celebration in 2027 says the management.
The first time I was at Ferrari HQ – in 2005 – I couldn’t believe that I had been given access to the brand, its plant and its cars. A couple years later I was privileged to join the celebrations at its 60th anniversary. And I certainly hope that I’m lucky enough to be back at their 80th too.