It may seem cliche to put Ferrari on a pedestal, but cliches exist for a reason. There’s no getting around it: the Prancing Horse evokes an emotion for both gearheads and regular folks alike. Provenance to performance. The why goes beyond devastating speed and jaw-dropping looks. Most can remember a specific moment that sealed the Prancing Horse’s place in their hearts, whether it was Schumacher’s F1 domination or Ferris Bueller’s joyride in a 250 GT California. From motorsport victories to pop culture appearances, these are the moments that helped solidify Ferrari’s rightful spot as one of the greatest (if not the greatest) automotive marques of all time.
Ferrari’s First Road Car
1947: Enzo Ferrari reluctantly starts building production road cars to fund his passion for racing. The 1.5-liter V12 125 S is built. The automotive world will never be the same.
Ferrari’s First Le Mans Race
1949: The first running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans after WWII was won by Ferrari’s 166MM.
Ferrari’s First F1 Win
1951: Argentinian driver Jose Froilan Gonzales wins the British GP at the wheel of a 375 F1. It’s the first of many glorious Formula One moments to come.
Formula One World Champs
1952: Alberto Ascari wins seven out of seven races to become the Formula One World Champion while racing for Scuderia Ferrari.
Of All People…
1958: Carroll Shelby — who would later take on Ferrari at Le Mans — pilots his 410 Sport to second place in the Cuban Grand Prix. It is likely one of the few F1 podiums achieved in a polo shirt.
Dino’s Engine Debut
1958: Enzo Ferrari’s son, Alfredo “Dino”, was in the hospital when he described his design for a V6 engine to Ferrari engineer Vittorio Jano. Though Dino died in 1956 before the engine reached production, his spirt lived on through various Ferrari cars utilizing his design.
The GTO is Born
1962: Production on what is arguably the greatest car ever, the Ferrari 250 GTO, begins. Only 39 were ever made to homologate the car for Group 3 Touring Car racing. Today it’s one of the most expensive and sought-after cars in the world.
Ferrari Wins Le Mans…Again
1965: For the sixth year in a row, a Ferrari wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Porsche bests the feat with seven wins in a row years later, but doesn’t look nearly as good doing it.
McQueen gets his Ferrari on the set of Bullitt
1967: Steve McQueen took delivery of his 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 while working on the iconic cop/car chase/testosterone-drenched film.
Miles Davis takes delivery of his GTB/4
1967: A cool-guy magnet, the GTB/4 was also owned by James Coburn, George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Clint Eastwood and Peter Sellers.
Fiorano Circuit is Built
1972: Ferrari’s privately owned track is built near the Maraneelo factory and used to test their road and race cars. Legend has it that Old Man Ferrari built it simply so he could enjoy watching his F1 cars from the comfort of his trackside house. This was truly a man who loved his work.
The 308 GT4 Debuts
1973: The 308 GT4 isn’t the most iconic of Ferraris, but it is the company’s first mid-engined V8 sports car — a formula that would become a staple throughout its history.
The 512 Berlinetta Boxer Debuts
1975: Much like the 308 GT4, the 512 BB was a forerunner for Ferraris to come. An updated version of the 1973 365 BB, the 512 had a 5-liter flat-V12 (hence 512) mounted in the middle, making it a true precursor to the modern supercar.
The 308 GTS Stars in Magnum P.I.
1980: Tom Selleck gets behind the wheel of a 1979 308 GTS on the set of Magnum P.I. and makes the car famous in the United States. Few cars before or since have complimented a mustache better.
Ferrari’s Day Off
1986: Matthew Broderick may have had his name in the credits, but the real star of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was the Ferrari 250GT California. Fans will be relieved to find out though that no Californias were harmed during the making of the movie… an MG with a Ford V8 was actually used for filming.
Ferrari Hits The Big 2-0-0
1987: The last car commissioned by Enzo himself, the F40, debuts and is the first production car ever to surpass 200 mph.
The Flappy-Paddle is Born
1989: Paddle-operated semi-automatic gearboxes are usurping the traditional manual, and it all started with Ferrari’s 1989 640 F1 car. Ferrari also became the first to use the system in a road car in 1997 in the F355.
Michael Schumacher Joins the Scuderia
1996: Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher joins Ferrari’s F1 team for what would become a decade-long stint that helped the team get out of it’s early-’90s slump.
1999-2002: Ferrari may only be second in consecutive wins to McLaren (11 versus 10), but their 18 consecutive podiums can’t even touch Ferrari’s record 53 podiums in a row, especially considering Ferrari’s 22 consecutive podiums between 2003 and 2005 is the second best record.
Glickenhaus’s P4/5 Debuts
2006: Defacing a rare Enzo Ferrari (the car, not the man) is automotive sacrilege…unless your name is James Glickenhaus. The Enzo’s underpinnings were used to create this modern tribute to Ferrari’s Iconic P3 and P4 Le Mans racers of the ’60s.
Eric Clapton’s Rocking Ride
2012: Ferrari’s specially coach-built models gain in popularity and Eric Clapton receives his own special version of the Ferrari 458 Italia, the SP12 EC. The car is modeled after Slowhand’s favorite Ferrari, the 512i BB.
Red Goes Green
2013: The first car from Maranello to boast a snooty hybrid badge is the Ferrari LaFerrari, using an F1-style KERS system to cut fuel consumption by 40 percent.