Ferrari is an Italian automotive manufacturer in the Formula One World Championship, also involved in high-end and high-performance racing cars, supercars, and sports cars. The company was founded by Enzo Ferrari in 1929. At first, Scuderia Ferrari sponsored drivers and manufactured racing cars; the company went into independent car production in 1946, eventually became Ferrari S.p.A., and is now controlled by the Fiat group. The company is based in Maranello, near Modena, Italy. In 2006, the premium performance brand sold over 1,400 cars in the United States under a strategy to produce one less car than total orders placed.
Enzo Ferrari never intended to produce road cars when he formed Scuderia Ferrari in 1929 as a sponsor for amateur drivers headquartered in Modena. Ferrari prepared and successfully raced various drivers in Alfa Romeo cars until 1938, when he was officially hired by Alfa as head of their racing department.
In 1940, upon learning of the company's plan to absorb his beloved Scuderia and take control of his racing efforts, he quit Alfa. Because he was prohibited by contract from racing for several years, the Scuderia briefly became Auto Avio Costruzioni Ferrari, which ostensibly produced machine tools and aircraft accessories. Also known as SEFAC Ferrari did in fact produce one racecar, the Tipo 815, in the non-competition period; it was thus the first actual Ferrari car (it debuted at the 1940 Mille Miglia), but due to World War II it saw little competition. In 1943 the Ferrari factory moved to Maranello, where it has remained ever since. The factory was bombed in 1944 and rebuilt in 1946 to include a works for road car production. Right up to Il Commendatore's death, this would remain little more than a source of funding for his first love, racing.
"Scuderia Ferrari" literally means "Ferrari Stable" in keeping with the prancing horse emblem; the name is figuratively translated as "Team Ferrari." (It is correctly pronounced "skoo de REE ah".)
The first Ferrari road car was the 1947 125 S, powered by a 1.5 L V12 engine; Enzo reluctantly built and sold his automobiles to fund the Scuderia. While his beautiful and blazingly fast cars quickly gained a reputation for excellence, Enzo maintained a famous distaste for his customers, most of whom he felt were buying his cars for the prestige and not the performance.
Ferrari road cars, noted for magnificent styling by design houses like Pininfarina, have long been one of the ultimate accessories for the rich. Other design houses that have done work for Ferrari over the years include Scaglietti, Bertone, Touring, Ghia, and Vignale.
As of 2004, FIAT owns 56% of Ferrari, Mediobanca 15%, Commerzbank 10%, Lehman Brothers 7%, and Enzo's son Piero Ferrari 10%.
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