Ferrari Through The Decades



Having just built its first production car in 1947, Ferrari breaks out the Gran Turismo, introducing the America, Europa, and Mexico, as well as the California and Berlinetta editions. Meanwhile on the track, Ferrari’s racing prototypes land on the Testa Rossa, providing Ferrari’s first win at Le Mans in 1958.


The 1960s prove to be a decade of transition. In 1965, Ferrari moves its engine to the back of its race cars, winning over Ford on the track and then releasing the Dino 450 as its first mid-engine production car as well as the 2+2 Gran Turismo, its first four-seater passenger car.


Ferrari moves to a flat-12 engine providing a competitive edge that brings them in to the winning circle at the 1972 Le Mans. As the ‘70s continue, Ferrari builds on the flat-12 powered 312 series and Niki Laudi wins championships in 1975 and 1977, ending the domination of V8s.


Ferrari goes turbo, powering up its race cars with turbo engines with the 126C and including the very first sequential gearbox seen in Formula 1. On the streets, Ferrari releases the 288 GTP, the first “supercar” providing a next-level standard of performance and quality for production cars.


By the end of the ‘90s, Ferrari says goodbye to stick shift in its production cars and returns to a front engine rear-wheel drive layout with its 550 Maranello. On the track, Ferrari scrambles to find wins but on delivering its first 10-cyclinder engine, ushers a new era of wins on the horizon.


The new century brings a wave of wins with Michael Schumacher taking five back-to-back Formula 1 championships (2000-2004) and another two with Kimi Räikkönen in 2007 and 2008. Production cars take on the changing landscape with the first Ferrari SUV, the Purosangue, going into production in 2022 and electric cars slated for 2025.

In preparation of the 2020 Ferrari exhibit, museum volunteers Mike Pearsall and Gregg McElhinney loaned nearly all of the models included in the exhibit, as well as a few from Gerald Paquette. These are not all of the ones they loaned and so we will be adding additional models to this page during the course of the exhibit ending November 2020. Don’t forget to visit the Archive Room for even more Ferrari models and other artifacts on display.

Early mock-up version of the model car display case in preparation for the 2020 Ferrari exhibit



The first sports car produced under the Ferrari marque was the 1947 125 S but it was the 250 Testa Rossa of the 1950s and the 250 GTO of the 1960s that put Ferrari on the map. In 1965, the 512 F1 became Ferrari’s first race car to have its engine in the rear, building up wins in response. In 1972, Scuderia Ferrari won Le Mans but a year later, Enzo Ferrari made the decision to leave top level sports car racing at the end of 1973 to focus solely on Formula 1. While no longer factory-supported, privateers and non-factory Ferrari teams raced Ferrari production car race models such as F40s in the 1980s, 1990s F50s, and 2000s F430, building up wins around the globe.


Scuderia Ferrari has raced Formula 1 since the beginning and continues to this day, being the longest running team in the Formula 1 series. In the 1960s, the team scored two Driver’s Championships and three Constructor’s Championships. In 1973, Scuderia Ferrari began focusing solely on Formula 1 racing, winning three Driver’s and four Constructor’s Championships in the 1970s. While no Driver’s Championships in the 1980s, Ferrari did pick up two Constructor’s Championships with the introduction of its turbo engines and the first sequential transmission gearbox in F1. In 2000 with Ferrari’s new series of V10 engines, Michael Schumacher wins the first of five consecutive Driver’s Championships, with Ferrari also grabbing the five Constructor’s Championship. Driver Kimi Räikkönen’s tenure added two more of each. By the end of the 2019 season, Ferrari had racked up 12 Driver’s and a record 16 Constructor’s Championships.


Ferrari’s first production cars were designed for high-speed long-distance driving, including the 1960s 250 GTs, mirroring their racing counterparts. Made for the streets and not the track, mid-engine V6s started with the 1967 Dino. In 1973, Ferrari released its first flat-12 engine with the Berlinetta Boxer. In the 1980s, Ferrari unveiled the first “supercar” with its series of Halo cars. Into the 21st century, Ferrari continues to meet the needs of family drivers with four seaters as well as pay homage to its racing origins.

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