Ferrari: Under the Skin Exhibition at Design Museum, London
Those seven letters convey more about speed, precision, beauty and the human pursuit of perfection than a thousand lines of prose. They conjure images of red metal curved voluptuously, the seething blackness of racing tyres and the enticing gleam of polished chrome.
Is it a surprise that the word ‘perfect’ also has seven letters?
Immerse yourself in the history behind the iconic name at a very special car exhibition London is hosting. Ferrari: Under the Skin brings the world of the Italian supercar manufacturer to you, together with 14 of the rarest and most acclaimed Ferrari masterpieces ever to grace the bitumen.
Hosted by The Design Museum, London from November 15, 2017, to April 15, 2018, the Ferrari show also takes visitors into the mind of the genius behind the brand, Enzo Ferrari.
Born of Fire
Enzo Ferrari started off on his own in 1939 after 20 years with Alfa Romeo as a driver and designer. A single unit of his first solo creation, the Auto Avio Costruzioni 815 rolled onto the road in 1940, just as Italy plunged headlong into the Second World War. The Maranello factory, still producing un-badged cars designed by the master himself, was bombed twice.
Those tumultuous foundation years instilled in Enzo, already a remarkably intelligent and resilient individual, an extraordinary tenacity. It is perhaps those early challenges that shaped the man then, and its legacy continues to shape the machine today.
This exhibition of Ferrari in London touches on what has made Ferrari an icon of luxury and class, desired by many but possessed by few.
On display in what looks like the car museum, London never had are original hand-drawn sketches, precise models made of clay and wood, and classic Ferraris with chassis removed to expose the equally-beautiful inner workings. They are accompanied by an audio-visual exhibition telling tales from history that have become motor racing legend.
This is not the first exotic car exhibition London has hosted but it is certainly one of the finest. 14 Wonders of the Automobile World, together worth in excess of £140 million (US$185 million), grace the display galleries.
To cover an illustrious history spanning seventy years, they are split by decade from the 1940s to the 1980s, together with a single exhibit to cover the new millennium.
The first of these exhibits is an exact replica of the first car that bore the Ferrari name and marque – 1947’s Ferrari 125 S. Only two of the original were ever made and only one of them survives. The last exhibit is of the 2016 LaFerrari Aperta, a powerhouse of sustainable energy innovation priced at a cool £8 million (US$10 million).
Here is a look at the individual cars on show.
125 S – 1947 (Replica)
Officially recognized as the first ‘real’ Ferrari, it was designed and built from scratch by Enzo. Previous creations had been based on chassis and designs Enzo adapted from Alfa Romeo, where he had worked for two decades. Only a single authentic 125 S survives today, housed in a private collection.
166 MM Barchetta – 1950
39 units of the superb classic, the 166 S, were built by Ferrari, using the 125 S as a base. From this pioneering vehicle, Enzo produced the 166 MM which would go on to pull off the first upset victories that established the company as a serious contender in the racing world.
Ferrari 500 F2 – 1952
Also known as the Ferrari Tipo 500, this was the company’s first purpose-built foray into the world of Formula 2 racing. Alberto Ascari won every race of the season in this impeccable racer, except for one which he missed while racing another Ferrari at the Indianapolis 500 in the U.S. – the Tipo still won the race with another driver at the wheel.
250 GT– 1957 (Chassis only)
The Ferrari 250 was available in two dozen variants between 1953 and 1964. The chassis of this 1957 250 GT gives you an insight into the precision and skilled craft involved in the creationof these wonder machines the moment they leave the drawing board.
250 GT Cabriolet – 1957
The first Ferrari to be fitted with disc brakes, this convertible frequently makes ‘Best Ferraris of All Time’ lists for its clean lines which are a large part of its timeless appeal. Only 236 of these were built, all designed by Italian design house, Pininfarina. This particular car on display was owned by British racing driver, Peter Collins.
250 GT Berlinetta passo corto (SWB) – 1960
The 250 GT Berlinetta SWB is arguably the point where Ferraris started its foray into the designs that would make them recognizably of their marque. The slightly elongated front coupled with a wide, muscular rear would become the classic silhouette of the Italian brand’s hard tops in the coming decade.
250 GT Berlinetta passo corto ‘Sperimentale’ – 1961
The ‘Experimental’ was the first of the prototypes that would catalyse the evolution of the thus far-popular 250 GT of the 1950s to the ground-breaking Ferrari GTO to come. This model was driven by Stirling Moss at the 1961 and 1962 editions of Le Mans, and it topped the podium at Daytona.
250 GTO – 1962
Perhaps no other Ferrari, or even no other car, will receive as much consensus as the most beautiful car of all time than the 1962 250 GTO. Only 39 were built, adding to its value - it is believed to be the world’s most expensive car, with one selling in the U.S. in 2013 for $52 million (£39 million).
It had a tumultuous gestation and was only at the design stage when chief designer Giotto Bizzarini and other senior Ferrari employees left, leaving Mauro Forghieri to complete its creation.
275 GTB/4 – 1967
Another popular contender for the ‘Most Beautiful Ferrari’ title, the 275 GTB/4 is a 2-door coupé that took huge leaps of technological progress over the Ferrari 275 on which it is based. The GTB/4 name indicates that it has a four-cam engine. There was a momentous aesthetic design change, too – this is the first Ferrari that sported wire wheels.
365 GTB/4 – 1973
The Ferrari Daytona, as it is better known to us, earned that moniker from the media as a tribute to Ferrari sweeping the Dayton podium in 1967. It was Ferrari’s first truly mass-produced model with over 1,400 units produced. Under the hood was the 275’s 3.3L V12 bored to 4.4L.
F40 – 1987
The F40 name is cemented in automobile history as the 40th anniversary model celebrating the inception of the Ferrari marque. It holds special meaning to motoring enthusiasts and purists as the last Ferrari which had its design overseen and approved by the great Enzo Ferrari himself.
Ferrari F1-2000 – 2000
Ferrari was the dominant name in F1 racing from 2000 to 2006, and the car on display is Michael Schumacher’s, the man who took the brand to its first championship titles since 1979. He won five consecutive driver’s titles with Ferrari.
La Ferrari Aperta – 2016
The world's first hybrid Ferrari manages to reduce fuel consumption by 40 percent while still producing more power than any of its predecessors. It is a confident sign from the brand that its best days of innovation and performance are yet to come.
Rawkus TV at Ferrari: Under the Skin
We are delighted to be a part of this Ferrari exhibition. Design Museum deserves immense credit for bringing this outstanding London car museum to the public for the next five months. If you are unable to visit, you can also see Ferrari: Under the Skin online on the Design Museum’s website (www.designmuseum.org).
Rawkus TV would like to express its appreciation and gratitude to H.R. Owen Ferrari and the Design Museum, London for affording us this amazing opportunity to indulge our passion.