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post #1 of 26 Old 01-13-2012, 03:23 AM Thread Starter
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Most significant Ferrari

Hi All

When David (Vitalone) and I met up at the end of last year we discussed what could be considered the most significant Ferrari ever built.

In my opinion it would be the 206/246 Dino as it established basis for what became the V8 series which commercially gave viability to Ferrari and its future and as a result has allowed the V12 models and racing team to continue to build cars in the purer Ferrari tradition.

I'd love to get other perspectives on this.

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Mike

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post #2 of 26 Old 01-13-2012, 03:40 AM
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My opinion goes for the 250 series. Its hard to believe in today standarts that this basically unaltered engine RADICALLY dominated sportscar racing from '53 to '65.

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post #3 of 26 Old 01-13-2012, 03:43 AM
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Sorry, that was only one part of the opinion...engine wise. Body wise its more difficult. If one shape concludes everything: raceness, pure beauty, luxury, style and taste then I would personally vote for the 250 California SWB.

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post #4 of 26 Old 01-13-2012, 04:23 AM
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Without a shadow of a doubt, for me, the most significant Ferrari is the 166MM. The only car, ever, to have won Le Mans, Targa Florio, and Mille Miglia, it is the car that made Enzo famous. It is also the car that made Luigi Chinetti famous (he was the guy that won Le Mans 1949 in the 166MM, driving 23 out of 24 hours!), enabling him to set up that all-important US dealer network for Ferrari and providing a big drive to the road car production arm.

The 250 series lifted Enzo from hero to legend, but without the 166 none of that would have happened. He was already a hero by that time. And let us not forget, that the 250 series was using a engine design that actually debuted in the first real Ferrari, the 125S. The Colombo engine was not originally designed for the 250 series.

The 308 and the Dino were just resting on the laurels of racing and road car successes of the '40ies, '50ies and '60ies. They were building a new wing to the palace. But the palace was already there.

The same goes for other significant designs and advancement, such as the 456, 355 and 550 - they were also building a more modern, better, Ferrari company, but ultimately this was evolution not revolution.


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post #5 of 26 Old 01-13-2012, 04:27 AM
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This is a hard one.... but without seeming too obvious.. The 308 series... it saved the company...

Yes the Dino did open the door but the 308 walked through, made a name for itself with timeless styling, and became the benchmark for pretty much every sports car made after it.

It is sort of humorous that so many of us have had a 308 or a variant of the 308 at some point but far fewer seem willing to give the car its props it terms of where it stands in the grand scheme of things Ferrari related.... no 308... no Ferrari... at least not the way we know it today.

If we really want to split hairs though I could say the most significant Ferrari isn't a Ferrari at all but the Alfa Romeo that Enzo worked on and raced before he even had a company.

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post #6 of 26 Old 01-13-2012, 05:11 AM
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That's a tough one. One the one hand, I think Onno is spot on. The 166 put them on the map, certainly within racing circles. On the other, I remember what Taz said; that by the late 60's, most people in the US didn't know a Ferrari when they saw one. Everyone on the planet recognizes a 308 now. So I also agree with JB that the 308 is equally significant.

I'll be cheesy and call it a tie: 166 and 308

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post #7 of 26 Old 01-13-2012, 05:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JazzyO View Post
Without a shadow of a doubt, for me, the most significant Ferrari is the 166MM. The only car, ever, to have won Le Mans, Targa Florio, and Mille Miglia, it is the car that made Enzo famous. It is also the car that made Luigi Chinetti famous (he was the guy that won Le Mans 1949 in the 166MM, driving 23 out of 24 hours!), enabling him to set up that all-important US dealer network for Ferrari and providing a big drive to the road car production arm.

The 250 series lifted Enzo from hero to legend, but without the 166 none of that would have happened. He was already a hero by that time. And let us not forget, that the 250 series was using a engine design that actually debuted in the first real Ferrari, the 125S. The Colombo engine was not originally designed for the 250 series.

The 308 and the Dino were just resting on the laurels of racing and road car successes of the '40ies, '50ies and '60ies. They were building a new wing to the palace. But the palace was already there.

The same goes for other significant designs and advancement, such as the 456, 355 and 550 - they were also building a more modern, better, Ferrari company, but ultimately this was evolution not revolution.


Onno
Onno, I totally agee that the 125S and the 166MM were important and the beginning but only for 3 to 5 years max, however competition later on was more fierce and broadbased and these cars were on lost grounds with their displacement soon after. In comparison the 250 engine lasted for about 5 different generations of car developments, always at the top output and competition wise. But only my 2cents.

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post #8 of 26 Old 01-13-2012, 06:10 AM
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My point is that the 250 would never have happened in the way that it did, if it was not for those earlier successes. Ferrari made lots of money early on, enabling him to develop the best of the best.

As for the 308, I agree that it was hugely important for the company (the Dino less so). But if there was no 308, if the company had folded in 1977, would then the legend of the 166MM, 250LM, 250GTO, Daytona etc. be any less? Would then a 250GTO be worth only 1 million? I absolutely do not think so. Therefore, the 308 was not the most significant Ferrari, because it didn't contribute to the legend itself. That was already established. Also just my $0.02.

As an aside - I think our opinions are often hugely coloured by our own experiences. People remember Magnum, people might even remember the racing at Sebring in the '60ies. But people don't remember (or very few) what racing was like in the '40ies and '50ies. Despite Taz' personal experience, Ferrari was already a household name for the people with serious money in the 1950ies. I think this clip from the 1950's provides some back up for that. If Hollywood was using a Ferrari in a song, it is likely to have already been a well known manufacturer among at least the well to do, but possibly a wider audience as well.

Wonderful little clip, by the way, with a lovely 250 Boano.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25M_XEf-o38


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post #9 of 26 Old 01-13-2012, 06:16 AM Thread Starter
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I agree that commercially the 308 variants saved the company but they only reallly happened because of the Dino and the way it was received. I think the Dino showed the need to have an "entry level" model to keep the volumes and hence profitability and cash flow going whilst the 308s put that knowledge into proper action.

On the 166 - there have been many successful racing cars/marques - such as Bugatti but it did not survive (until today in its questionable form) so whilst it did help in establishing a dealer network in the US, I'm not sure it would have been enough to keep Ferrari going without the financial strength the Dino/308s brought

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post #10 of 26 Old 01-13-2012, 06:17 AM
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There are so many ways that an assortment can be most significant.

250GTE - the first car that got serious production levels thereby making money for the company. Represented about 75% of all 1962 production.

250 Pf coupe - the first volume production Ferrari, in relative terms.

166MM - a spectacularly looking car as well as a true winner as discussed above.

Whichever was the first Ferrari bought by Agnelli - without this would not have been possible for Ferrari to tap into Fiiat's coffers later on.

01C - the first ever Ferrari. Its immediate competitiveness proved that the basic design was going to be a winner.

250 GTO - all conquering GT that was the last of the truly competitive front engine cars. The most developed at the "end of the line".

AAC 815 - pre-Ferrari that proved that Enzo needed to make his own cars instead of being based upon someone else basic parts (Fiat).

500 F2 - first World Championship Formula car

250 TR Pontoon Fender - a successful car that was immediately identifiable as a Ferrari. Too bad that the pontoon fender body turned out to only be for the privateers.

156 F1 sharknose - unmistakeably a Ferrari. Took Phil Hill to a World Championship and dominated the season.

If you want a specific serial number try 250 TdF 0677GT. The Olivier Gendebien car that dominated 1957 GT racing with wins at the Tour de France, Mille Miglia, twice for the 12 hours at Rheims. One of the very few GTs that had factory entries. Used to develop the outside plug version of the 128 motor that were to be used in the 250 TRs.

There is no 1. There can be candidates based upon certain different criteria.

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post #11 of 26 Old 01-13-2012, 06:20 AM
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What a glorious debate! but one in which I am completely too ignorant to participate in.

However, I do think we should schedule a time in FLED6 to debate this one in full, and with the aid of scotch and cigars. For my contribution, I'll referee.

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post #12 of 26 Old 01-13-2012, 06:27 AM
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Good points Jeff and further clarifies why the most significant is hard to shine a light on. There are a few cars that come to mind when I think of Ferrari. BUT even if I say the 308 because of what it enabled the company to do after it arrived, it's pretty hard to ignore the heritage, beauty and value of a 250 GTO. Its in a class all by itself.

This is one of the great things about Ferrari too I suspect... there's more than one right answer.

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post #13 of 26 Old 01-13-2012, 07:14 AM
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"most signifacant"... can be meaningless designation... especially in an event filled history with many excellent choices

how about a term something like "benchmark Ferrari"...there are many cars that represent significant periods/changes in the development of the Ferrari... how about thinking of it as a ladder with each rung respresenting a benchmark... each step a foundation for the next...without which there would not be another... the ladder has become long and still growing... allowing for deserving cars to be recognized without ommission
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post #14 of 26 Old 01-13-2012, 07:35 AM
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Based upon information I am putting together for the 2013 FCA Annual Meet here are some things to put Ferrari into perspective:

1962 production, including the even numbered sports racers: about 500.
1963 increased to the staggering number of about 600.
These were huge increases from the 300 of 1960.
By 1962 Ferrari had built less than 2,600 cars since the begining in 1947.

In these early years every Ferrari was special in some way. Basically you could correlate that any sale meant that payroll could be made. This may also help explain why there were so many "games" with recylcling last year's racers into this year's "new" car and tax dodge deals for buyers. Every one helped make that payroll for a company that was habitually struggling financially.

Fiat money started to come into play in the aftermath of the Ford deal collapse in 1963. The Dino motor is a key piece of this outcome. In 1969 Fiat had 50% of the company which finally put Ferrari on sound financial footing. This also was when the production operations started to evolve to be more "production like". [this was not an immediate process but evolved over time as Fiat had more influence and control] With Enzo's passing Fiat's ownership rose to 90% and total control.

It might be possible to make an argument on a significant car, but not the most significant, would be the 355. LdM's control of the company, as the installed Fiat person, made this car be his vision of what it took to be properly modern against all the competition. This also marks changes to the size of the cars as he wanted them to be more spacious and comfortable for the owner.

Rambling over for the moment.

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post #15 of 26 Old 01-13-2012, 07:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Kennedy View Post
Based upon information I am putting together for the 2013 FCA Annual Meet here are some things to put Ferrari into perspective:

1962 production, including the even numbered sports racers: about 500.
1963 increased to the staggering number of about 600.
These were huge increases from the 300 of 1960.
By 1962 Ferrari had built less than 2,600 cars since the begining in 1947.

In these early years every Ferrari was special in some way. Basically you could correlate that any sale meant that payroll could be made. This may also help explain why there were so many "games" with recylcling last year's racers into this year's "new" car and tax dodge deals for buyers. Every one helped make that payroll for a company that was habitually struggling financially.

Fiat money started to come into play in the aftermath of the Ford deal collapse in 1963. The Dino motor is a key piece of this outcome. In 1969 Fiat had 50% of the company which finally put Ferrari on sound financial footing. This also was when the production operations started to evolve to be more "production like". [this was not an immediate process but evolved over time as Fiat had more influence and control] With Enzo's passing Fiat's ownership rose to 90% and total control.

It might be possible to make an argument on a significant car, but not the most significant, would be the 355. LdM's control of the company, as the installed Fiat person, made this car be his vision of what it took to be properly modern against all the competition. This also marks changes to the size of the cars as he wanted them to be more spacious and comfortable for the owner.

Rambling over for the moment.

Jeff
not rambling Jeff

the cliche' about the bottle being half full or half empty could apply as well... money coming in from Fiat, LdM's control through Fiat, volume production, wider appeal could also be argued as low points for Mr Ferrari, yet be benchmarks to the company moving forward to bigger and better
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post #16 of 26 Old 01-13-2012, 10:18 AM
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not rambling Jeff

the cliche' about the bottle being half full or half empty could apply as well... money coming in from Fiat, LdM's control through Fiat, volume production, wider appeal could also be argued as low points for Mr Ferrari, yet be benchmarks to the company moving forward to bigger and better
There are all sort of transition points for Ferrari through the years.

Going to Pininfarina for the majority of body building was apparently driven by a need for more capacity. A relative term when you look at his yearly production but apparently more than Vignale and Touring could reasonably handle. Some might argue that the Pininfarina designs, although well done, lost a lot of the flamboyance that especially Vignale had shown.

By the later 1950s Ferrari had to rely upon the road cars and dual purpose GTs because sales of the even numbered racers were not going to sustain the company. If you will, until this transition Ferrari could sell a decent quantity of front line competitive sports racers to independents. His cars stopped being the car to have as the British and US started to dominate the racing at the amateur level. You are also seeing more short sprint racing instead of long endurance - the winning formula for a car was different.

Fiat's increasing control stopped most of the customization that had made many of the Ferraris unique. It probably did make the place run more efficiently but it ended a portion of the old mystique. It is nice to see that Ferrari with the Atellier and now the more extensive personalization programs have recognized that some of their clients want more freedom in their choices.

The 288 GTO marked the start of cars created with pre-ordained production runs that traded on the history of the marque. If not for this blatant mining of past glory the car would not have been named a GTO. As the F40, F50 and Enzo came along it reinforced the ability of the company to mine their heritage for extra profit margins. [This is not a statement against the ability of the cars themselves but a viewing of the marketing mentaility of the management]

Everything going into 1969 was a transition for Ferrari. Their single largest market had just imposed new safety and emission standards. Effectively all the rules had been written as if all manufactures were GM, Ford and Chrysler with their level of resources. Someone small like Ferrari got minimal consideration of what it would take to create the solutions then certify the results. This saw a marked reduction in what cars were certified for the US (and which were not) as well as, for a period of time, the limbo of deciding if Ferrari would even stay in the market. Even in the aftermath the US gets its versions of new Ferraris after they have been on sale in other parts of the world.

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post #17 of 26 Old 01-13-2012, 11:01 AM
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To quote Enzo: "The next one."

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post #18 of 26 Old 01-13-2012, 12:46 PM
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@ Jeff: Great argumentation !
@ Onno: Yes, I misunderstood your first point, I agree.

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post #19 of 26 Old 01-13-2012, 01:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schumacher View Post
On the 166 - there have been many successful racing cars/marques - such as Bugatti but it did not survive (until today in its questionable form) so whilst it did help in establishing a dealer network in the US, I'm not sure it would have been enough to keep Ferrari going without the financial strength the Dino/308s brought
Again, the fact that a model saved the company doesn't make it the most significant for me. I interpret that term as the model that most contributed to building the Ferrari marque as a brand of racing and road car excellence. For me, that must be a car that both advanced the racing history and the road car history. Neither the Dino nor the 308 fit that bill, IMHO. Especially the Dino, which was never officially sold as a Ferrari, and which Enzo specifically wanted to separate from the Ferrari brand.

When we are asked to name the most significant Bugatti, it does not matter that Bugatti did not survive (the current company has nothing to do with Ettore and we can leave it out of the equation). The most expensive car on the planet is a Bugatti, the Atlantique, and it seems no-one cares that the factory has been closed for over 60 years...

Anyway, just IMHO and lots of interesting and very valid opinions here.

One thing that I find most interesting about Ferrari is that there so many models that are truly special, but all in their own way. Each model is very different, and yet, unmistakenbly, the Ferrari DNA is still there. Quite amazing really. This is why Jeff has a good point that there are many models that could make a claim as being very significant.


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post #20 of 26 Old 01-13-2012, 02:29 PM
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f40 basically laid the foundation for hyper cars.

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