Showing posts with label Ferrari. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ferrari. Show all posts

Ferrari California

Ferrari California 2000s Italian sports car

The Ferrari 250 California - released in '57 - was one of the most iconic cars ever created. A tad over half a century later, came another California. Designed by Pininfarina, seamless aerodynamics were key to the new car's styling. And the 2008 California was light. Both chassis and body were aluminium.

The F1-style steering-wheel featured Manettino dials. They modulated the gearbox, suspension and traction-control settings. The latter came in the form of the F1-Trac set-up. Should those systems' limits still be exceeded, an automatic roll bar was deployed. As well as front and side airbags. The California could be set to Comfort or Sport mode, too. At track-days, however - or, indeed, at any other time - the safety controls could be switched off. Apart from ABS braking, that is.

Ferrari's 4,300cc V8 engine made 460bhp. That catapulted the California to 193mph. Torque was on tap from way down low. The 7-speed semi-automatic transmission saw to that. Unlike some supercars, the California's cabin was roomy and comfortable. There was a retractable top. And plenty of luggage-space was provided. So, the Ferrari California was built for speed. To that extent, it echoed its fabled 250 predecessor. But - in common with that design classic - it was kitted out for cruising, too, if required.

Ferrari Daytona

Ferrari Daytona 1960s Italian classic supercar

The Ferrari Daytona was launched in '68. Those in attendance were probably expecting a mid-engined equivalent of the Lamborghini Miura. If so, they were wrong. The Daytona on display that day was a front-engined GT car. Designed by Pininfarina, it was in the traditional sports car mould. A multi-tube frame, for example, supported a steel shell.

Despite its relative orthodoxy, the Daytona was still the fastest road car on the planet. Flat out, it was good for 174mph. Its V12 motor meted out 352bhp - via a manual 5-speed 'box. Capacity was 4,390cc. Dampening down performance was weight. The Daytona had a lot of it to lug about. 3,530lb, in all. Saying that, the weight was at least evenly distributed. Rearward positioning of the gearbox/trans-axle unit helped counterbalance the frontal mass of the engine. Wishbone and coil suspension - on a firm anti-roll setting - provided plenty of traction. A tad difficult around town, the more the Daytona was given its head, the better-behaved it became. Steering lightened up nicely. Road-holding grew increasingly precise.

For a car of its class, the Daytona's interior décor was far from lavish. Electric windows, contoured leather seats and air conditioning, though, did come as standard. Only 1,426 Daytonas were built. Overall, however, it was a success in the showrooms. Of course, the car was christened after the legendary American race-track. Ferrari had picked up many a win at The Daytona Raceway, over the years. So, it was a fitting name for what would become one of the most celebrated of Ferrari sports cars.

Ferrari F50

Ferrari F50 1990s Italian supercar

How to top the Ferrari F40? Well, with the F50, of course! While the former was focused solely on speed, the new car offered more by way of creature comfort. Even so, the F50 was far from luxurious - given that it was a supercar, retailing at £330,000. There were leather seats, though, for starters - of course, cast from carbon-fibre. And, the front suspension spring/damper set-up was transverse - allowing extra leg-room. The F50's ride was smooth, considering its performance stats. They were upped by a 'firm' computerised damping system. A V12 engine - and 6-speed gearbox - gave up tractable power. Precise steering was provided by titanium uprights, magnesium wheels and all-metal ball joints.

So, with a top speed of 202mph - and lightning-quick reflexes - the F50 was, effectively, a road/race hybrid. Its 5-litre motor made 521bhp. The 5-valves-per-cylinder V12 had its roots in F1 - in 1990's Ferrari 641/2. Saying that, peak revs for the road car were 8,500rpm. Rather less than the 14,000 for the GP car! Still - with chain-drive spinning its quad overhead camshafts - the sound from the roadster was still pretty ear-splitting! By contrast, the F1 car's engine used gears.

The Ferrari F50, then, was technically awesome. Naturally, it needed styling to match. Up to the plate stepped Pininfarina. The esteemed Italian design house unveiled a feast of tastefully-placed lines. Ducting was particularly delicious. Cowled projector headlights lit up the front-end. Inside, the LCD instrument panel was straight out of F1. A 'black box' flight recorder was included! Track days beckoned - brakes and suspension both being race-derived. 349 Ferrari F50s were built. All they needed was a road with enough scope!

Ferrari F40

Ferrari F40 1980s Italian supercar

The F40's name referenced forty years of the Ferrari marque. It was boss Enzo Ferrari's brainchild ... but, even he had to get board approval! Once given, the project was passed to Pininfarina. The doyen of Italian design agencies had a longstanding relationship with Ferrari. Just a year passed for the F40 to go from concept to production. It helped that it was based on the Ferrari 288 GTO. Theoretically, then, the F40 was a roadster. Practically, though, it required little modification to go racing. In large part, that was down to its weight - or lack of it. For a car that cost $275,000, there was a notable lack of luxury. Indeed, the cabin verged on the spartan!

The F40's low weight was down to its bodywork. Composite materials had been used to fashion it. They were 20% lighter than their metallic counterparts would have been. That - and minimal interior décor - meant the F40 weighed in at just 2,425lb. Add a 288 GTO V8 engine - and the result was explosive! The 3-litre twin-turbocharged set-up was fitted with sequential ignition and fuel injection. There were silver/cadmium con-rod bushes and nicasil-coated liners. Grand total - 478bhp. 'Competition mode' threw in a further 200bhp, if needed.

The F40 topped out at 201mph. 0-60 arrived in 3.9s. On its '87 launch, it was the fastest road-going Ferrari yet. It stayed in production until '92. Even the standard version featured a raft of competition parts. It had Group C brakes, 3-piece wheels and removable rear bodywork. Oh, and soft fuel cells. The racing pedigree of the Ferrari F40 was clear to see!

Ferrari 275 GTB

Ferrari 275 GTB 1960s Italian classic sports car

The Ferrari 275 GTB was not just beautiful to behold. It hit the technological sweet spot, too. Superlative suspension, for example, was brought to the Ferrari party - in a way not previously seen or felt. The result was a car which looked like $1m - and had handling to match. And, for once, the Ferrari engine - an alloy 60° V12 - was not the centre of attention. It was trumped by the transmission. For optimal weight distribution - and top traction - motor and gearbox were separate entities. The two were joined at the hip, on early models - by a slender prop shaft. Later, a stiffer torque tube did the job. Double-wishbone rear shock absorption had now been added to the mix. The 275 GTB was thus uniquely positioned to make the most of its 280bhp output. That came courtesy of a single-overhead-cam engine. 150mph was on tap.

Technical excellence was topped only by styling. Pininfarina did the design work. The steel body was coachbuilt by Scaglietti. They were based but a stone's throw from Ferrari HQ. That was in Modena - a town with near-mythical status among the marque's fans. Scaglietti fitted a multi-tubular frame - in familiar Ferrari fashion. The Borrani wire wheels sported a set of 'knock off' spinner centre hubs. A sporty 2-seater coupé, the GTB's exterior was pure Berlinetta. The interior did not disappoint, either. Its finely-crafted focal point was the wooden Nardi steering-wheel.

Launched in '64, there would be several versions of the GTB. '65's Series Two sported a longer nose and smaller air-intake. For '66, the quad-cam GTB/4 came with six carburettors - as well as dry-sump lubrication. The wind-in-your-hair model - the GTS - was aimed squarely at America. Just 200 GTBs were made. The GTB marked the point at which Ferrari began transcending mere beauty - to deliver on every level. Of course, the perfect Sixties roadster does not exist. The Ferrari 275 GTB, though, probably came as close as any!

Ferrari 312T

Ferrari 312T 1970s Italian F1 car

The 312T won the '75 F1 World Championship. Ferrari were cock-a-hoop. It had been eleven long years since the last one. Having the great Niki Lauda as driver helped, of course. But, Lauda would have been first to acknowledge the contribution of a fellow member of the Ferrari team. Namely, Mauro Forghieri - who designed the 312T's engine.

The Ferrari flat-12's motor had slimmer bores than those of the V-configured layouts of other teams. That allowed them to rev higher. Increased engine speeds meant more horsepower. It also meant more fuel consumption - so the 312T hit the grid heavier than its rivals. Thus, it fell to Ferrari's strategists to erase that handicap as the race wore on. They obviously made a good fist of it. Lauda won three consecutive races - 5, 6 and 7 - in Monaco, Belgium and Sweden. He had added two more by season's end. Deservedly, then, he took his first World Championship. Small wonder he described it as 'the unbelievable year'! To be fair to their competitors - not least, Brabham - Ferrari's car was head and shoulders above the rest.

Engine man Mauro Forghieri's masterstroke was his positioning of the 312T's gearbox. The horizontally-opposed flat-12 set-up meant the motor's mass sat lower. The result was better handling. Still a bit twitchy - but a big improvement on the Ferrari 312B3's understeer. Forghieri took weight distribution a step further. By placing the gearbox behind the engine, mass was not just lowered - but more centralised, too. The 312T now manoeuvred as well as it moved. At the start of the '76 season, the 312T was to win another three back-to-back GPs. But, '75 had been the car's finest hour. Niki Lauda - alongside team-mate Clay Regazzoni - had done the Tifosi proud. The Scuderia Ferrari fanatics had seen their team restored to the upper echelon of world motorsport. So, on top of being one of the most iconic race cars ever built, the 312T was a terrific all-round package. As such - in terms of technology - Ferrari pointed the way to the fully-integrated future of F1.

Ferrari 250 GTO

Ferrari 250 GTO 1960s Italian classic sports car

The Ferrari 250 GTO was about as focused a car as has ever been built. Designed by Giotto Bizzarrini, everything about it was geared to speed. Its cabin, for instance, was conspicuously spartan. The GTO - Gran Turismo Omologato - was made to win races, not comfort contests! Specifically, races in the World Sportscar Championship. The Ferrari 250 GT had been struggling in said series - mainly on account of poor aerodynamics. Which is where Bizzarrini came in. His brief was to draft a more slippery shape. One that could deliver more than 150mph, at any rate ... which was what the GT was currently mustering. Bizzarrini went to work. The grille was made smaller. The headlights were faired in. A foreshortened rear end now sported a spoiler. Ferrari were pleased. The GTO's top speed was clocked at 173mph.

But, Bizzarrini's bodywork was just for starters. The GTO had other weapons in its race armoury. Like a 3.0-litre Tipo 168/62 Colombo V12. The 300bhp it produced took the Ferrari from 0-60mph in 6.1s. That called for a stiff chassis. An alloy-tubed frame was duly installed. The aluminium V12 engine was suckled by six twin-barrel Webers. Because it was dry sump, the motor sat lower - as did the rest of the car. More grist to the aerodynamics mill. A 5-speed gearbox turned the rear wheels. Only suspension let the side down a tad - being somewhat outdated. Saying that, it clearly did not hamper the whole package too much. In '62, the GTO won the World Sportscar Championship. And again, in '63 and '64. At Le Mans, in '62, while it came second in the overall standings, it took the coveted Group 3 GT class.

Bizzarrini also took care that the GTO's styling was suitably seductive. As well as being one of the all-time great racers, as a roadster its low-down looks were sublime. Ferrari played a bit fast and loose with the facts, however … in true motorsport tradition! They passed the GTO off as just a streamlined GT. That got them off the hook, homologation-wise. Otherwise, they would have had to build 100 GTOs, to go racing. As it was, only 39 were built. In truth, though, the new car was unique. While the GTO - and its GT forebear - did indeed share many components, there was enough that was fresh about the GTO to set it apart. It certainly was a streamlined GT - Bizzarrini's wind-cheating wizardry had seen to that. But - should there be any doubt that the GTO was special - a price comparison is telling. When Ferrari produced the car - between '62 and '64 - it cost £6,000. In 2014 - at Bonhams Quail Lodge auction - one sold for £22,843,633. Which made it the most expensive car ever, at the time. The Ferrari 250 GTO was a one-off, all right!

Ferrari Enzo

Ferrari Enzo 2000s Italian supercar

Technically, the Ferrari Enzo was a roadster. And 'technically' is about as far as it went. Red-blooded racing ran in its veins. Its name alone told you all you needed to know. Founder of the myth that is Maranello - and its most famous firm - Enzo Ferrari's legacy is secure. 'Professor' Alain Prost - French F1 legend - once said he did not know why racing drivers do what they do. Cars like the Enzo - with its 660bhp power output - probably provide a few clues!

There were strong links between the Enzo and the Ferrari F1 car at the time. Its CFC/Nomex body panels, for starters, bear a striking resemblance. Beneath those panels sat a carbon-fibre monocoque - similar, again, to that of the GP car. Even the Enzo's V12 engine was cut from the same F1 cloth ... in terms of layout, at least. On the underside, huge venturis mimicked 'ground effect' - the set-up by which GP cars stay 'glued' to the tarmac. The Enzo was even equipped with 'active aerodynamics' - a system not too far removed from that of the top-flight competition cars. Its brake discs were carbon-ceramic composites ... of course!

To match the Enzo's tech spec visually, then, was always going to be a challenge. Pininfarina, though, stepped up to the plate. The great Italian design house had long been associated with the Ferrari marque. They fulfilled the Enzo brief to perfection - supplying carbon-fibre solutions, inside and out. Ferrari, however, had issues when the car went on sale. Not because of any problems with the product. Indeed, just the opposite. So sought-after was the Enzo - even with its £425,000 price tag - that all 349 units sold out within hours. To try to placate frustrated would-be buyers, Ferrari scaled the number up to 400. It is unlikely that was enough. One of the most finely-wrought supercars ever made, the Ferrari Enzo was a fitting tribute to the man who inspired it!

Ferrari Testarossa

Ferrari Testarossa 1980s Italian classic supercar

The Ferrari Testarossa was released in '84. 'Testarossa' is Italian for redhead. That referenced the red cylinder head of the car's 5-litre flat-12 engine. Within the head were 4 valves per pot. They were heat-protected by state of the art nickel-alloy. That was a wise move on Ferrari's part - since there was every possibility of temperature build-up, at some point! Power peaked at 390bhp.

While the nickel-alloy valves worked a treat, yet more needed to be done to dissipate heat. The engineers had done their bit - now it was down to the designers. The Testarossa was mid-engined - to help with handling. So, cooling was moved to the rear. Pininfarina oversaw the styling mods. They drafted a wide back-end - with plenty of room for the cooling components. The side-mounted air-ducts became trademark Testarossa.

The Testarossa's top speed was 180mph. 0-60 arrived in 5.5s. Steering was superb - the smallest of inputs being sufficient. The body was, in the main, aluminium - assisting with weight loss. Aerodynamics were wind tunnel-tested - including downforce. In '92, the Testarossa 512 TR appeared. The fastest production car in the world at the time, it knocked the Lamborghini Diablo off top spot. The Testarossa F512M came along in '94. By now, it was a true 200mph supercar. Redheads are reputed to be a tad on the fiery side. The Ferrari Testarossa did nothing to debunk that stereotype!

Ferrari Dino

Ferrari Dino 1960s Italian classic sports car

When is a Ferrari not a Ferrari? When it is a Dino! How so? Well, what defines a Ferrari? Why, the prancing horse logo, of course. But the 246 only ever wore Dino GT insignia. The firm's founder, Enzo Ferrari, wanted this car to be a 'marque' all its own. There was a good - and moving - reason for that. He had prematurely lost his son Alfredino - so the car was a father's tribute. Even Enzo, though, may have conceded that the 'Dino' was a Ferrari in all but name.

Enzo had no qualms about including Fiat in such a personal project. The two firms struck a deal which enabled Ferrari to compete in the F2 racing series. To enter, homologation rules required that 500 roadsters be produced. Financially, Ferrari were not in a position to supply engines for that many Dinos. For the mighty Fiat corporation, though, such numbers were not a problem. So it was that - inside every Ferrari Dino - there lurks the spirit of Fiat.

Stylistically, the Dino was unaffected by the mechanical shenanigans. Beauty on wheels, its Pininfarina/Bertone styling was visible in every perfect curve. Of course, no car was ever going to make up for losing a son. It is to be hoped, however, that the Ferrari Dino was some small source of solace for the great man.