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The prancing horse’s emotions in motion: Fortuitous close-ups from Ferrari’s official 70th anniversary party

Published in blog.hemmings.com

F40 and Ferrari’s factory — take one. All photos by the author.

[Editor’s Note: Matteo Giacon happened upon the official 70th anniversary party for Ferrari and wanted to share what he saw that day with us. As always, we’re happy to oblige.]

Once in a decade, there is a moment of the year when it is possible to see a literal herd of prancing horses gathering together to celebrate their birthplace’s birthday: just like in previous years ending with number 7, 2017 was another one of those magical moment when such an event was possible.

Yes, Ferrari now is 70 years old, and rarely it has looked so young, successful and dynamic like in these months: with record-setting production and record-breaking stock exchange successes, seems like there were more than the usual amount of reasons to indulge in celebrations and festivities.

Also the recent F1 drawbacks in Spa and Monza weren’t enough to dilute the thrilling pathos of so great an era for the Maranello realm – apparently.

Therefore, it’s no wonder that during this past week of September, birthday events became a grandiose tribute like anything before, climaxing in the two-days meeting right on the Fiorano track, sort of ideal nursery for all cars with the Prancing Horse on the hood.

And Ferrari people and Ferrari owners surely did they best to make clear that this event had really to look like an unforgettable one.

Just arrived in Maranello, and I immediately saw this 250 GT Interim.

Sadly, however, unlike previous celebrations of this kind, the core of the party was as exclusive and reclusive as any, what with invitations limited to a precious few and happy souls, and obliging the bulk of tifosi to gather along roads, in order to take a glimpse of an endless amount of wheeled dreams.

In fact, only a selected number of “preferred” clients, together with a selected parterre of cars, including some coming from Ferrari’s in-house collection, were part of the festa. In any case, despite this touch of exclusivity, still there were something like 4000 guests and 500 autos (that’s what I know: maybe there were more, considering what numbers were printed on decals attached on some cars’ side doors); therefore, that was hardly a secretive and elusive happening.

And in any case, still there were occasions to take close glimpses of said cars, their drivers and some of the pathos, despite the impossibility for mere mortals to enter the track, for once transformed in a giant amusement park (or a mall parking lot) full of marvels.

A Dino parked in a dealer’s lot.

This year, in fact, things got officially started when hundreds of Ferraris did set in motion from distant places scattered across Europe (cities like Geneva, Frankfurt, London, Salzburg, Montecarlo, Rome, Reims and Praha) between Wednesday and Thursday, in order to have their initial grand rendez-vous in Milan: from there, after an appropriate gala dinner, cars got rolling again in order to reach Maranello during Saturday, finally resting on Fiorano’s tracks. Fans could see this veritable array of pursangs on the road, and if only weather were a bit more indulgent, things would again really be close to perfection. This was indeed the ultimate Ferrari parade, sort of procession for some pagan rite rather than a simple rally – like Ferrari officially christened this way to arrive in Maranello.

As a welcome addition, a selected number of some of the most historical and most significant Ferraris of all eras were rounded-up and showed in downtown Modena during Saturday, just when their stablemates were approaching Maranello’s neighborhoods.

One of the most coveted Ferraris ever, the Daytona Spider.

In the end, all of them entered Fiorano track (which, for those unknown to this, is just a stone’s throw from historical Ferrari factory, thus explaining why the Maranello’s plant and the track itself can sometimes be considered as an unicum, despite being located in two different townships), where everything was ready to ignite the real celebration events.

Those events culminated with the evening show and the exceedingly tantalizing auction, with some really special cars offered, an auction where stars were that “abandoned” Daytona and that record-shattering LaFerrari Aperta. As a further special notice, the evening show, with a parterre of literal Who’s Who Ferrari’s drivers and organization members, was also shown on Italian television (albeit, despite the significance of this “party,” in broadcast delay second-time format).

Ferrari’s top brass was there, as well as some of the best known recent and less recent Ferrari drivers: Lauda, Raikonnen, Arnoux, Alesi, Vettel, were there, as well as F1 boss Chase, FCA head honchos and other honourable VIPs, together with those selected 4000 fortunate mortals.

A nice 365 GT-4 BB with Holland plates.

Also Sunday’s events were noteworthy, with a Concorso D’Eleganza which saw really too much cars fighting for the Best In Show title: I wasn’t there, but I bet it was not an easy task, and the all-out final choices, as offered in the accompanying photos, were likely really deserving their awards.

Yeah, photos: in similar occasions, they speak for themselves. Anyway, what to do in order to take some of them, just to offer a glimpse at what this celebration was, in case you couldn’t be part of those selected Four Thousand?

Two tone barchetta dream.

 

Nice rear view of a truly extraordinary machine.

In other similarly grandiose events, like Mille Miglia, everything was free; in others, like Villa D’Este, there was a reasonable entry fee; but here, if you couldn’t roaming through cars parked in Fiorano, what else could you possibly do?

Well, there were some possibilities, as mentioned above:
-Gathering together with other thousands of enthusiasts on the roads crossed by the virtual sea of thoroughbreds between Milan and final Maranello-Fiorano destination, on Friday.
For that matter, also Milan’s downtown streets were treated as a perfect stage for one of the most memorable wheeled parades ever.
-Alternatively, on Saturday, going in downtown Modena to see an irresistible selection of some really uppermost cars with the coveted Ferrari’s badge.
-Attending the auction, also on Saturday.
-Or, as a final effort, going in close proximity of Fiorano’s track main gates and diligently waiting for the events’ end, in order to catch a glimpse of all those thundering beasts going home after the scheduled two days’ final hour arrived at Sunday 4.00 PM.

Unable to do one anything of what was contemplated in the first three hypothesis, I went for the fourth one, and in doing so I considered myself really fortunate: yes, despite I too was afraid to be excluded from taking some good photos of the cars, because while parked in Fiorano track they were a bit distant from accessible-to-Joe-Public places, nonetheless those cars still had to made judicious use of their cavalry on open roads in order to go back home (or, more appropriately, to go back stable). In other words, just like those cars entered the track, so they had also to exit it: what better occasion to see them – well, most of them?

A classic 330 GTC.

So, I waited for those autos to exit those revered gates (in effect, two of them were used, one apparently reserved for those desiring a bit of privacy), and in doing so I wasn’t alone: most faithful tifosi in fact, evidently also of the indulgent kind, just had my very same thoughts and duly attended while their real-life dreams passed by.

They, the tifosi, were quite an eclectic ensemble, and this shows how deep their faith and devotion to Ferrari’s religion are. But I was there mainly because I wanted to see the rare, the wonder, the magic: albeit a modern Ferrari is a stimulating object (and it couldn’t possibly be anything but), what fascinated me mostly of the Prancing Horse’s legend was its early years’ incredible array and diversified variety of cars, often one-offs of devastating beauty and fascinating charisma. I was there for them: they didn’t disappoint me.

A 275 GTB in red.

In fact, despite this event’s automobiles were mostly modern cars driven by some selected clients, there were more than enough old glories to salivate even the most demanding Ferrari fan. And also Museo Ferrari contributed to this. Yes, Californias, Vignales, F40, Superamericas, Mondials, Testarossas, Daytonas, you name them, they were there; well, I was not able to see if also 250 GTOs or 250 LM were part of the party, or if there were more 375s, more 400s, more 410s, more legendary names were also there; but for me, and for most Ferraristis, I think that what I caught was more than enough to salivate also the most snobbish of beautiful cars lovers.

1954 500 Mondial #0424 MD with its original plates, at least from what I learned about it.

So, thanks to my location, in perfect Mille Miglia-shooting style, I was able to have really close encounters with some of the rarest, most iconic, most legendary and – your best adjective term here – automobiles ever. Some of them also strategically parked just after having passed the gates (Heaven’s Gates, if I can afford a similar term), so to let me take some precious documents of a really great episode of automobile History. And some of their owners, if those events weren’t long lasting enough, also found some time to gather once again and parking in downtown Maranello, as a Post Scriptum chapter for this poetical celebration. Otherwise, where else you can find two F40s indifferently parked in the same place where also a 275 GTB, a 250 GTE and some more modern V8 Ferraris were also part of the landscape ?

An authentic Latin seductress, the ’54 375 Plus 6th overall in that year’s Carrera.

Oh, right, I almost forgot to mention the landscape: because sky was a bit on the gloomy side (but, thankfully, no rain was seen during those afternoon hours), and because Fiorano’s track is surrounded by suburban and industrial buildings, photos may lack a bit of magic or a bit of enchantment. Anyway, what I think it is important is the subject, and in this respect those cars were arguably some of the best automotive top models available. And in any case, let’s not forget that those roads, those plants, that very background is still part of those autos’ very cradle: in other words, that’s an intimate part of them, and as such is even more fascinating than expected.

I had some doubts while identifying this Mondial; 500 or 750, that is the question.

One last thing: because those cars were mostly going back home on their own wheels, also their engines were alive and well. And naturally, whenever possible, those 6, 8, 12, also 4 cylinders made clear solos of baritone note that made clear why some fanatics always found Ferrari’s exhausts’ notes as some of the most dramatic and soul-shattering sounds one could possibly listen to – bar nothing.

Nice view of an early 250 SWB-notice the lowered rear edge of side window.

After more than two hours of full immersion in those symphonies, I must agree with them. So, prepare yourself for a travel to Maranello, with its down-to-business landscape making an interesting background to some of the most beautiful autos ever. After all, there is no need for exaggeratedly embellished frames when the picture’ main element is already a veritable piece of art.

Next time, I will try to provide also some fitting soundtrack – for now, take a look at the pictures.

The plate says it all.

P.S. I am not a Ferrarista through and through, so apologies if some caption may mention the wrong car. Some Ferraris can be sometimes a tough subject for car spotters of any kind. Anyway, enjoy the images.

A stupendous 250 GTL

Back to the Eighties with this one.

An elegant 250 GT Cabriolet Series II.

One of the Concorso D’Eleganza winners, the ex-Gianni Agnelli one-of-one Testarossa Spider.

Let’s begin with Vignale’ masterpieces, this one a 166 Inter.

The 288 GTO still exudes sheer beauty married to outrageous arrogance.

For that matter, arrogance, design’ distinctiveness and seductive stance are present in forces on LaFerrari.

Rarely seen outside Italy, a 208 GTS Turbo.

Superamerica Coupé Aerodinamico.

The typical lines of the Daytona were maybe even better-looking when painted in red.

Also in a posate 275 GTS you can easily find traces of aggressive stance.

A 250, the plate says it all.

The clean profile of a typical Mid Sixties Maranello factory car.

One for the races, the 1993 Brummel Team F40

The Ferrari With The Cylinders As Big As Flasks, the

It was about time to see a Touring, this one a classic 166 MM LeMans

Another Vignale, a 195 Inter coupé.

It is not difficult to understand why, before PF, Vignale and Michelotti were the undisputed Ferrari’s design heroes

The famous last Vignale-bodied Ferrari, the ’54 250 Europa GT bodied for princess Liliane De Rethy. It’ behind a GTL and the Zagato.

500 TRC, I presume.

A ’66 275 GTS trailing some Fifties racers.

Nothing perplexing about a 250 Cali.

It is still difficult for a proper playboy finding a more resourceful set of wheels than an original Cali.

N.A.R.T. Dino 206 GT, #00306

Speaking of Ferrari California, here is the ’57 prototype.

275 GTB Competizione.

A 308 GTB Quattrovalvole.

Rear shot of the 308 GTB Quattrovalvol

A 365 Daytona with glass-covered headlights — in a stately black — in fast motion.

400 Superamerica Aerodinamico, with exposed headlights.

After having seen it in Villa D’Este, it was still a pleasure being able to spot the ’67 365 California.

Another nice 275 GTS, really outstanding in silver too.

One of the earliest PF masterpieces wrapping one of the most famous automotive mechanicals ever.

Another gorgeous 275 GTB, even better looking in this dark and deep hue.

Another superb beauty in blue.

Dino GTS in an elegant grey livery.

Rush hour, Maranello style.

A look at the sober, soft-spoken beauty of the 330.

At last, one Ferrari in my favourite color!

Stupendous SWB Competizione… in competition livery.

Lots of tifosi for this SWB Competizione. Notice the cup.

Fit for the day, a 348 parked near the factory.

250 GTE parked beside the newest Ferrari buildings.

 

Another 275 GTB, in an elegant choice of colour.

Appropriate carriage for such a day.

Iconic symbol of a decade, the first series — high-mounted side view mirror — Testarossa.

Just when you thought to have lost sights of it…a Vignale wonder passing by.

A nice rear view of the 250 Europa Vignale — complete with fins and Sportone trim…

Despite the need for a ride atop a tow truck, no need to deny the spectacular appeal of this one.

The car that resurrected Ferrari’s image in the Nineties, the 355 — here in open roof format.

I couldn’t resist to take a shot of my mum’s car — the green one. Other auto is a sexy F355 , of course.