Happy Birthday Ferrari

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Ferrari proves its timeless popularity by selling out, not once but twice, of its limited-edition anniversary models.

Final checks were completed and the ambitious young motor engineer donned a leather helmet, climbed behind the wheel, and fired up the engine. Workshop doors were pulled opened and Enzo Ferrari drove out onto the streets of the quiet Italian town of Maranello. It was spring 1947, and the first-ever Ferrari-badged car, a 125 Sport, enjoyed its first outing. Within a few weeks, it was racing at Piacenza circuit and just a fortnight later had its first victory. The rest, of course, is automotive history.

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This year, to celebrate 70 years since Enzo’s first test drive, the world’s most iconic motoring brand took an unusually flamboyant step: the company launched not one or two soon-to-be iconic Ferrari anniversary models… but an unprecedented 350 different.

Ferrari has thrived for seven decades, partly thanks to excellent design and engineering, and partly due to canny marketing. So, this birthday is an excuse for the company to create 70 different ‘liveries’ – or colour schemes – each referring to a famous Ferrari from the past. You’ll find the extraordinary line-up here.

Ferrari proves its timeless popularity as it approaches an important milestone by selling out not once but twice, of its limited-edition anniversary models.

The lineup ranges from the brown paint-job of Steve McQueen’ s GTO and the white-striped blue of Stirling Moss’s 1961 racer. ‘The Schumacher’ is red, like his F1 car, while ‘The Shah’s’ silver body with dark red roof refers to the Shah of Iran’s personalised 410 Superamerica from the fifties. Ferrari is producing each of its five current models in each of these 70 trims, making a total of 350 birthday cars.

From the early days when Enzo would personally ‘vet’ buyers for suitability, Ferrari knows its owners prize exclusivity. It has created a whole generation of collectors’ cars, priced at a massive premium, of course. And if you want one straight off the line you’re too late: they’ve sold them all already. Demand was so high some buyers wanted to order all five in a certain livery. Ferrari announced that purchases were restricted to one per customer ‘to be fair’.

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Wealthy enthusiasts wanting to join Ferrari’s 70th celebrations turned to this year’s new LaFerrari Aperta instead. This open-top version of the LaFerrari is a glorious machine, with a monstrous hybrid powertrain providing 0-60mph acceleration in under three seconds. Its birthday connection is just a small 70th-anniversary logo, yet the Aperta’s price was set at a monumental $2m. That’s almost $600,000 more for the original with a roof.

Ferrari proves its timeless popularity as it approaches an important milestone by selling out not once but twice, of its limited-edition anniversary models.

Ferrari announced it would only make 200 Apertas. Buyers clamoured for exclusivity again. All were sold, unseen, before the launch. Demand was triple the available cars. Colourful American tycoon Preston Henn was so furious to be denied a chance to buy, he sued Ferrari for omitting him from the list of 200 preferred customers. He claimed that without the car his reputation was damaged. Henn later dropped the case, bought a Honda NSX and announced it was a better car anyway. http://70.ferrari.com

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About Author

When former taxi-driver and garage-manager Simon Heptinstall switched to journalism he was soon described by Private Eye as "a miserable little squirt". Luckily, he's grown a bit since then and cheered up slightly, so only the "squirt" part applies. Since then he's helped launch BBC Top Gear magazine, worked for Autocar, AutoExpress, Redline, and What Diesel, and helped out behind the scenes on Jeremy Clarkson’s Big Boys’ Toys TV series. Simon has also been an editorial consultant for Toyota, Peugeot, Lexus and BMW and once broke the world record for motoring madness by driving to 12 countries… in one day.

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