If you're just joining us, make sure you've already read part 1 of our piece. You can read it here.
Picking up where we left off....
....1989 saw the launch of the 348, the direct replacement for the 328. The badging now denoting engine size (3.4 litres) and cylinder count (8), the car resembled a scaled down Testarossa, including the side grilles. It was available initially in coupe and targa versions, badged TB (Transversale Berlinetta) for the coupe and TS (Spider) for the targa, denoting the transverse orientation of the engine.
The motoring press were not kind to the 348, criticizing handling and performance in particular; this was something of a departure from journalists usually relatively positive when reviewing Ferraris.
Ferrari replaced its ageing 412 in 1992 after a lifespan of almost 20 years. The new 456 was a 2+2 featuring a V12 producing more than 440hp and giving this luxury grand tourer a top speed of over 190mph. Available initially only with a manual transmission, it was joined 4 years later by an automatic version, gaining the “gta” suffix. The 456 also continued the tradition of name denoting individual cylinder. The automatic model continued in production for a further 6 years.
The 348 was revised in 1993 and rebadged as GTB/GTS and was joined by a Spider-badged convertible. Revisions were mostly mechanical to achieve a small power increase and the suspension was also altered to counter some of the criticism aimed at the car. A limited run of GTC models were introduced towards the end of the model run, featuring upgraded F40 GTE brakes, composite materials being used throughout and some equipment deleted to reduce weight.
The 348 was replaced in 1994 by a car which is widely regarded as being one of Ferrari's milestone models. The F355 resembled the outgoing car but the styling became more curvaceous, with sculpted vents replacing the 80's-styled grilles, 4 circular taillights being added and a more aerodynamically efficient front bumper. There was further evidence of aero efficiency underneath, with the use of flat panels to generate downforce for much of the chassis.
The engine was improved, with a new cylinder head increasing output and allowing the revs to reach over 8,000rpm. Manual transmission was offered as standard and joined in 1997 by a system named F1, developed directly from the Formula One technology and adding paddles behind the steering wheel to the 6 speed gearbox.
The coupe was joined by GTS (removable targa panel) and Spider versions and stayed in production until 1999.
The phrase “racing car for the road” can be overused and in some cases wildly inaccurate. Many racing cars make dreadful road cars as they are simply too compromised. Ferrari had already shown with the F40 and, to a lesser degree the 288 GTO, that cars with extremely high performance could work equally well on road and track and the next car in the series continued that trend.
The F50, launched in 1995, was powered by an engine directly derived from the company's Formula One engine and brakes, steering, suspension and transmission were also similarly motorsport related. Unlike its predecessors, it did not rely on turbocharging to achieve over 500hp, a maximum speed beyond 200mph and acceleration figures which remain impressive 25 years on.
Ferrari had been missing a front-engined 2 seater with a V12 engine since the Daytona ceased production and they remedied this in 1996 with the 550 Maranello; a handsome Pininfarina-styled coupe powered by a 5.5 litre V12 producing over 480hp. It was joined by a Barchetta model and eventually evolved into the 575, which remained visually similar but with a larger 5.75 litre engine and this model also gave rise to another famous Ferrari name with the 575 Superamerica, featuring a rotating glass roof panel.
The 90's were something of a renaissance for Ferrari. Road cars were becoming increasingly better and success on the racetrack was looking ever more likely after a 20 year drought. Appointments included Luca di Montezemolo as chairman, Michael Schumacher, Ross Brawn, Jean Todt and Rory Byrne within the racing team.
We said we'd not focus on Ferrari and motorsport but it's worth pointing out at this point that the 80's and 90's were a barren period for the company. The previous 3 decades had seen considerable success for both the team and countless drivers. The last titles had come in 1980 (drivers – Jody Scheckter) and for the team in 1983. Despite the lack of results, they retained their position as the oldest team in the sport and hold many records which remain unbeaten today.
Back to road cars and 1999 marked the end of the F355 and the launch of its replacement, the 360 Modena. The design was a break from the previous line-up of mid-engined V8/V6 cars with extensive use of aluminium to reduce weight and this, coupled with the new 3.6 litre V8 provided higher performance too. It was joined by a Spider version in 2000 and the motorsport-derived Challenge Stradale built in limited numbers it was made until 2005.
As the new millennium dawned, Ferrari presented their latest hypercar. Named after the founder, the 2002 Enzo was a complete departure in design terms, with sharp edges and creases reminiscent of a stealth fighter and even more extensive use of composite materials for both chassis and body. Its V12 engine produced over 650hp and it brought active aerodynamics, yet more extensive use of carbonfibre (the entire body was made from this material), carbon ceramic brakes and automated manual gearbox. The engine and transmission formed the basis for every subsequent V12 engined Ferrari and future gearbox technology.
The performance statistics were similarly impressive with a top speed approaching 220mph and the benchmark 0-62mph sprint achieved in just over 3 seconds.
The Enzo also sired the FXX track only car. Boasting almost 790hp and produced in limited numbers and for wealthy trackday enthusiasts, Ferrari provided a full support package for every owner, with the car being kept permanently at the factory and transported to bespoke events created for the customer. An Evoluzione model followed, with power increased to over 800hp and a top speed of almost 230mph.
Ferrari replaced its 456 in 2004 with the 612 Scaglietti. This continued the trend of 4 seater front engined V12; the new car was significantly bigger than its predecessor and was able to seat 4 adults in comfort. The name paid homage to the legendary Italian coachbuilder, with whom Ferrari had worked extensively throughout the 1950's and 60's. The platform was also used in 2006 when Ferrari launched the 599 GTB, replacing the 575 as the 2 seater V12 flagship model.
The 360 was superseded in 2005 by the F430; an evolution in design rather than a brand new model, the car was available in coupe and Spider formats plus lightened and track-orientated Scuderia coupe and Scuderia 16M Spider versions.
Mechanically, the car was a step forward, using an all-new V8 engine producing almost 500hp (the V8 in the 360 could trace its roots back to the early 1970's) and added an electronically controlled differential with various modes selected via a dial mounted on the steering wheel. The manettino became a feature of most Ferraris from this point onwards.
We touched on the 599 earlier. This car became the flagship V12 model, following the 575 and tracing its roots back to the Daytona. It continued to champion the advancements in technology, many of which were lifted from Ferrari's motorsport activities – and by 2006, they'd won a further 5 Formula One constructors' titles with Michael Schumacher taking his (as yet) unmatched seventh drivers' title.
The 599 also gave rise to the third use of the legendary GTO badge on a lightened and even more powerful car. Not built for homologation purposes, this car produced over 660hp and utilised technology seen in the FXX including its transmission. Following the successful FXX programme, the 599 XX and Evoluzione models were developed to continue to offer clients a unique experience and attend events designed to use the cars to their full potential at various circuits.
2010 also saw the SA Aperta introduced. Only 80 were produced – this took a 599 and gave it an open roof whilst retaining the rear C pillar or buttress; overall, a very attractive car.
The 430 was replaced in 2009 by the 458 Italia. This marked a break from the design of the 430/360 models and took power to over 560hp. No manual option was available, with only a twin clutch 7 speed automatic gearbox available.
The 458 was considered a success and the range expanded to include Spider, Speciale and Speciale A (Spider) variants, with the latter having power increased to almost 600hp and following the route set by the 360 Challenge Stradale and 430 Scuderia.
The same year Ferrari launched their first front engined V8 2+2. Naming the car the California, they again revived a name used on another iconic model. The new car had a folding metal roof and was deliberately designed to be less overtly sporty in character, even being billed as an entry-level model, despite having over 450hp and a price similar to the 430. It received power upgrades in 2012 and in 2014 was restyled and renamed the California T, with a new 3900cc twin turbo V8, remaining in production until 2017.
Ferrari launched another first in 2011. This time, it was the replacement for the 612 and saw the first time Ferrari had used four wheel drive in a production car. The styling was that of a shooting brake – a 2-door estate with 4 seats and a hatchback rear door. The 4WD was partnered with a 6.3 litre, 650hp V12 engine. The transmission defaulted to rear wheel drive, with additional drive being added via specific settings.
The following year the 599 was replaced by the F12 Berlinetta. This used the V12 engine first seen in the Enzo 10 years earlier and produced 730hp, prompting Jeremy Clarkson to famously ponder whether it was actually too fast – in fairness, he was driving it on a very, very wet Highlands road! It also featured aerodynamic channels running from the bonnet, via the front wings and along the flanks to create downforce.
2013 was the year for another halo model launch and the first hybrid powered Ferrari. Named the La Ferrari, it was designed to compete with McLaren's P1 and Porsche's 918 hypercars, both of which combined petrol engines with electric motors to produce outputs of close to 1,000hp.
Ferrari's answer used a V12 from the same family as the F12 and Enzo, amongst others. It produced almost 800hp but then added KERS technology, seen in F1, to add a further 160hp.
Ferrari removed its roof in 2016, giving us the La Ferrari Aperta and what has to be one of the ultimate wind in the hair motoring experiences.
The 458 was replaced in 2015; its successor, named the 488, was broadly similar in appearance but switched to the same twin turbo V8 engine as the California, in the process becoming the first turbocharged, mid-engined V8 Ferrari since the F40 almost 30 years earlier. It followed the well-established route of coupe, Spider and lighter and more focused versions – this time named the Pista (“track” in Italian) with power increasing from 660 to 710hp.
Ferrari also revived another famous name from the past in 2015, with the launch of the F12 TdF, or Tour de France; a name used famously 50 years earlier as a homage to Ferrari's numerous successes at the race of the same name. It was both lighter (over 200kgs) and more powerful (rising to almost 770hp) then the regular car.
2016 brings us to the replacement for the FF. This car is called the GTC4 Lusso. Visually similar to the previous model, it uses an even more powerful V12 engine, now producing almost 700hp with an improved four wheel drive powertrain. It was joined a year later by the GTC4 Lusso T, powered by a smaller V8 engine and rear wheel drive only; production ended in August 2020.
The following year brings us to our first current model Ferrari, with the successor to the F12. The 812 Superfast once again uses a famous Ferrari badge reserved for the fastest models half a century earlier and, with almost 790hp is claimed to be the most powerful normally aspirated engine in production. The GTS was added in 2019, as a full convertible with an electric folding roof.
The Portofino, launched in 2018, replaces the California; it retains the twin turbo V8 engine, now producing 600hp and has design tweaks to bring it in line with the rest of the Ferrari range.
2019 brought us the F8 Tributo, replacing the 488 and, with over 700hp, becoming the most powerful non-hybrid V8 powered Ferrari yet made. It is available in both coupe and Spider forms and it would be fair to expect a lightweight model to join them.
Rounding out the model story are 2020's Roma and SF90 Stradale. The former is a coupe based on the Portofino and using the same engine and transmission. The SF90 is a hybrid producing a combined output of almost 1,000hp and named partly to pay tribute to the racing team's 90th anniversary.
So that brings us to the end of our story of one of the most famous car manufacturers in history.
Over five thousand words don't seem to do justice to the cars, the people and the stories. That's before we even get to the racing, the triumphs and tragedies (not to mention scandals…) and we haven't included the marketing might of Ferrari – it isn't out place to comment on whether teddy bears and baseball caps are a good thing but Ferrari are certainly not the only car maker who'll happily sell you accessories which aren't necessarily car-related! And they are most definitely not the only manufacturer who goes to understandably great lengths to protect their famous name and image.
Then there's the special cars – one off cars made for both the famous and the discreet. Fabled cars made for exotic collections. The Classiche programme which arguably kick-started the trend for manufacturers to support the fabulous machines that paint their history.
Unlike some motor manufacturers, there's relatively little to tell about constant financial troubles. There have been periods when the company were facing difficulties but since the beginning ownership, or a part of it, has always remained within the Ferrari family.
Ferrari today remain headquartered in Maranello. The house famously occupied by Enzo as his office and later used by his drivers as accommodation remains, as do the original racing garages (now converted to offices) and whilst his beloved scarlet cars may not be enjoying success in the strangest F1 season in history, one can't help but know (and we do mean know) that success and trophies are not far away from once again returning.
We hope you've enjoyed this trip through Ferrari's history. As the proud supplier of the only insurance scheme approved by The Ferrari Owners' Club, Lockton are ideally placed to talk to you, whether you own one of Ferrari's finest or indeed an entire stable of Prancing Horses.