An expo devoted to one of the world’s best-known sports brands is set to open in Brussels.
There couldn’t be a better time to pay homage to this mythical sports car as this year Ferrari is celebrating its 75th anniversary.
For just over two months (23 September-4 December) Autoworld in Brussels will showcase 15 exceptional Ferrari models.
Each one boasts a distinct pedigree. They either depict a historical particularity, were produced in limited numbers, driven by a legendary driver or belonged to a celebrity.
The public will be able to admire several iconic models including the Dino 206 (formerly Clapton), the unique Daytona Michelotti, the 195 Inter Ghia, the 500 Superfast (by Peter Sellers), the 250 GT Spider LWB and the 308GTS.
That’s not all: On Sunday 25 September, a special Ferrari “Cars&Coffee” will be held on Esplanade du Cinquantenaire in front of Autoworld.
The upcoming exhibition follows a similar one at Autoworld dedicated to Alfa Romeo.
It was back in 1947 that Enzo Ferrari built his first competition car – the Ferrari 125 S – to outclass Alfa Romeo from whom he had just been dismissed as race director.
Belgium, in fact, marks a special anniversary of its own this year. It was 70 years ago that the driver Jacques Swaters became the official Ferrari importer for the Benelux region, making Belgium the first Ferrari importing country in Europe and only the 2nd in the world after the United States.
In 1952, Swaters founded the Ecurie Francorchamps and imported his first Ferrari, the 500 F2.
But you have to go back a bit further, to 1947, to Modena, in Italy to trace the full fascinating Ferrari story. This is when the first 125 S left the works of the Via Abetone Inferiore. The sports model promptly won a race in Piacenza, the first of a long series.
Soon other sporting models saw the light of day for the first time: the 159 S and the 166 S, Corsa, MM and Sport. But the 166 MM Barchetta marked a turning point in the history of the marque, as it was the first road-going Ferrari.
Some of the most prestigious Italian coachbuilders and designers were called upon to create near-on unique models. These include Vignale, Ghia and Touring but especially Pininfarina whose collaboration, which came about in 1952, continues to this day.
The Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder (Pininfarina – Scaglietti) is reputed to be “one of the most beautiful of the Ferrari cars and one of the most gorgeous convertibles in the history of the automobile”.
The 1960s were crucial years for Ferrari. In 1960, not only was the Ferrari 250 GTE the first to be produced in series to 900 models but Ferrari also became a public limited company (SEFAC).
American auto giant gave Ferrari a hard time in races for years and,notwithstanding its successes, Ferrari had to also contend with financial difficulties. In 1969, Enzo Ferrari sold 50% of the PLC’s shares to Gianni Agnelli, CEO of the Fiat group. Some 1,395 models of the Ferrari Daytona models rolled off the line but it did not enjoy the hoped for success.
Several months after the death of the “Commendatore” in August 1988, the Fiat group became the majority shareholder but, five years later, the company had managed to sell no more than 2,289 cars and looked to have come to the end of the road as a business.
In 2004, however, Agnelli appointed Luca di Montezemolo (a former assistant of Enzo Ferrari) to head up Ferrari and the latter swiftly increased turnover.
Even so the company’s policy was to remain closer to “handcraft” rather than industrial production, in accordance with the “Formula Uomo” (“Human Formula”) which placed the human well-being at the heart of the constructor’s considerations.
Since 2016, Ferrari has no longer been part of the Fiat group.
Ferrari fans will know that the story of the Prancing Horse, its famous logo, has remained controversial for a long time.
Documents, though, indisputably prove that it relates to the cavalry regiment’s emblem of Francesco Baracca, a First Word War Italian fighter pilot ace, which was offered to Enzo Ferrari by Francesco Baracca’s mother. The “Scudetto” became Ferrari’s emblem with the letters S F (for Scuderia Ferrari).
The upcoming “75 anni di Ferrari” exhibition in Brussels is organised in collaboration with Interclassics.
Autoworld Museum Brussels
Parc du Cinquantenaire / Jubelpark 11
Open every day 7/7 from 10am until 5pm (weekends : until 6pm)
Adult: 13 €
Senior: 11 €
Student: 10 €
Children 6-12 years: 6 €
www.autoworld.be or +32 2 736 41 65