These are the red-liveried cars that made Ferrari’s name on the world’s greatest racetracks...
First-ever race win (1947)
125 S Competizione
Displacement: 1 497 cm3
Power: 88 kW at 6 800 r/min
Top speed: 170 km/h
0-100 km/h: 10,9 sec
Named after the 125 cm3 displacement of a single cylinder in its V12 motor, this was the first car to bear the Prancing Horse badge and carry Enzo Ferrari’s name. With a tubular-frame chassis and a small-displacement, Gioacchino Colombo-designed V12, it set the template for Ferraris throughout the 1950s. The 125 S’ debut on Piacenza Circuit was, in the words of Enzo Ferrari himself, “a promising failure” with driver Franco Cortese having to retire with fuel-pump problems while leading the race. Over the next four months, however, the 125 S would compete in more Italian Championship races with Cortese taking the Scuderia’s first win at the Grand Prix of Rome. The 125 S would win a total of six events that season.
First win at Le Mans (1949-1953)
166 MM Touring Barchetta
Displacement: 1 995 cm3
Power: 104 kW at 7 000 r/min
Top speed: 210 km/h
0-100 km/h: 8,7 sec
More than any other, this car cemented Ferrari’s reputation as a major player in motorsport. After a 166 S won the 1948 Mille Miglia, Ferrari updated the S to create the MM series in honour of that win. In March 1948, Enzo Ferrari asked Carrozzeria Touring to create the bodies for his newest series of sportscars and the design incorporated all-enveloping fenders, an egg-crate grille and a belt line that ran along the side of the car. Referring to its shape, journalist Giovanni Canestrini nicknamed the car barchetta, meaning “little boat”. Luigi Chinetti would drive to victory in the 1949 24 Hours of Le Mans, giving Enzo Ferrari his first and very significant win in the world’s greatest endurance race.
First successful GP car (1952-1953)
Displacement: 1 984 cm3
Power: 139 kW at 7 200 r/min
Top speed: n/a
0-100 km/h: n/a
Ironically, it was rule changes designed to give smaller teams a fighting chance that gave rise to one of the most dominant cars of any Grand Prix era. With organisers deciding to run the cheaper and slower Formula Two rules for the 1952 season, Ferrari provided Alberto Ascari with this Lampredi-designed four-cylinder 500. The Italian retired from the opening US GP, but then won the remaining six races to easily claim the drivers’ title, leading the Scuderia to a one-two-three finish in the championship. Ascari would also win the opening three rounds of the 1953 championship (and enjoy nine consecutive victories), plus two of the remaining five races, to claim his second world championship.
The Le Mans dominator (1957-1961)
Displacement: 2 953 cm3
Power: 224 kW at 7 200 r/min
Top speed: 270 km/h
0-100 km/h: 6,0 sec
The 250 Series formed the backbone of seven Scuderia victories at Le Mans between 1958 and ‘65. After the ‘55 Le Mans tragedy, the FIA capped engine displacement at 3,0 litres, but Ferrari was prepared; it used the reliable Colombo-designed V12 from the 250 GT road car, albeit here tuned for more power with six twin-choke carburettors. The famous Testa Rossa (“red head”) name comes, of course, from the tappet covers that were painted red. Other than Aston Martin’s success in 1959, Ferrari Testa Rossas, regardless of body style, dominated sportscar racing through to the beginning of the mid-engined sportscar era of the early 1960s. With only 34 examples produced, and given its successes, this is one of the most collectable of all Ferraris.
Scuderia’s greatest F1 car (2004)
Displacement: 2 997 cm3
Power: 660-710 kW at 19 000 r/min
Top speed: 315 km/h
0-100 km/h: 4,0 sec
Nothing embodies the dominant Michael Schumacher years at Scuderia Ferrari more than this car. With the F2002 as a foundation – a car that would win 15 of 19 Grands Prix across 2002 and ’03, and secure dominant titles for Schumacher – only a car such as the F2004 could better those achievements. Designed in part by SA’s Rory Byrne, it was Ferrari’s 50th F1 car and quite possibly the fastest F1 car ever made, with regulation changes slowing the cars down ever since. Enhancing the aerodynamics over the F2003 and lowering the centre of gravity made it unbeatable. In the hands of Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello, the F2004 won 15 out of 18 races that year.
Top 10 most significant road cars
166 Inter (1948)
Scuderia’s first proper road car, this coupé-bodied version of the 166 MM Barchetta established Ferrari’s reputation off the track.
250 California Spyder (1958)
The most beautiful Ferrari of all sold the dream to America as the embodiment of West Coast sunshine and success.
250 GTO (1962)
Perhaps the greatest Ferrari of all time and the supercar of its era, the 250 GTO also dominated the GT World Championship.
Dino 206 GT (1968)
Initially derided for having a mere V6, the Dino was Ferrari’s first mid-engined road car. It’s now regarded as one of its most beautiful.
308 GTB (1975)
With its mid-mounted V8, angular styling and pop-up headlamps, this was the car that every boy growing up in the late 1970s drooled over.
With upstarts Lamborghini attempting to steal the supercar limelight with the Countach, Ferrari responds with this louvered wonder.
Built to celebrate the Scuderia’s 40th birthday, the F40 defined vehicle performance in the 1980s. It was the last car that Enzo oversaw.
458 Italia (2009)
After the middling F430, Ferrari needed to up its game. Cue the 458. In terms of performance and handling, one of the greats.
599 GTO (2010)
The Scuderia reminded everyone of its front-mounted V12 heritage and that a supercar doesn’t have to have its engine behind the driver.
Ferrari’s first hybrid and its first hypercar. Proof that Maranello remains at the forefront of performance-car technology.