Ferrari On the Red Carpet at Goodwood Revival
The Goodwood Revival is widely acclaimed as the top of the tree in the historic motor sport world; the cars, the atmosphere and the people make it an event like no other. The attractions are not just confined to the action around the circuit, there is so much else to savor at every turn. For example there is a tribute to the former London Motor Shows of the '50s and '60s that were held at the Earls Court Exhibition Centre, giving an opportunity to pay homage to some of the non-competition cars of the period. The central theme for 2015 was "Seeing Red", a salute to Ferrari down the years - 24 cars tracing the fable of "Il Cavallino Ramparte" - how could I resist? So here are some favorites: the Ferrari 250 Le Mans (LM) is special to anyone who appreciates the rich heritage of Maranello's finest. From the mid-'50s variations on the Ferrari 250 GT had dominated GT racing culminating in 1962 with the 250 GTO (Gran Turismo Omologata), then, as now, one of the most desirable cars ever built. This area of endurance motor sport was given special importance as changes in the regulations for that season meant that the Manufacturer's World Championship would be decided on the points scored by the GTs rather than the prototypes. 1963 witnessed the arrival of a serious threat to Ferrari's hegemony, the Shelby Cobras, it would only be a matter of time before they would overwhelm the elegant Italian coupés. The whole affair was given real spice in May 1963 by Enzo Ferrari's last minute rejection of Ford's attempt to buy Ferrari, lock, stock and barrel. Henry Ford II's answer to this treachery, as he saw it, was to launch Ford's own racing program in North America and Europe and the Cobra was to be one of the spearheads of this campaign. The Ferrari 250 LM was Ferrari's answer to the threat to Ferrari GT supremacy. It was somewhat revolutionary for a Ferrari GT being mid-engined and in reality it was a "road-going" and roofed version of the Ferrari 250 P, a racing prototype that won at Le Mans in '63. With an elegant design from Pininfarina the 250 LM made in début at the Paris Motor Show in the fall of that year. All but two of the thirty-nine 250 LMs built had a 3.3L V12 engine. The plan to use the car in GT competition foundered right from the start as homologation papers were not ready and missed the first FIA deadline. By the time the next meeting happened the FIA "learned" that the required number of vehicles to gain homologation had not been built, so the 250 LM was turned down. Enzo was enraged, threatening to withdraw from endurance racing and all manner of other sanctions. No matter, the FIA were adamant, the 250 LM would race as a prototype in 1964. Perhaps it could be said that Enzo's 250 LM had the last laugh as in 1965 all six factory Fords and three works Ferraris retired at Le Mans, leaving the Luigi Chinetti NART 250 LM driven by Masten Gregory and Jochen Rindt, to take Ferrari's final overall win at the 24 hour classic. Fast forward a few years to 1968 and the introduction of one of the most iconic classic Grand Tourers to come from Maranello, the Ferrari 365 GBT4, commonly known as the "Daytona". The Daytona is widely regarded as one of Pininfarina's best designs and is credited to Leonardo Fioravanti, though the original Plexiglas nose and light arrangement did not meet US Federal safety regulations, so were replaced with retracting lights. The Daytona's design contains elements that are found on Ferraris right up to the present day, such as the groove that runs down the side from front to back. Powered by a 4.4L V12 it was inevitable that the Daytona would find its way to the race tracks and, while it took a couple of years for Ferrari to homologate the Daytona for GT Racing, by 1972 it was ready to rule the roost. A total of 15 highly modified Daytona racers were built in three batches. For that year's Le Mans 24, nine of these classic Grand Tourers were entered, won their class and finished fifth to ninth overall. That class winning performance was repeated in the following three annual endurance races at La Sarthe, though by 1975 the Daytona was beginning to show its age. Reinforcing the record of the Daytona was a fine second place overall and class win in the Daytona 24 Hours in 1973. Amazingly this result was repeated in the 1979 edition of the race with a car that dated back to 1973. Just over 1,400 Daytonas were built between 1968 and 1973, mainly berlinettas but many of these have been converted into spiders reflecting the gap in value between closed and open models. What better way to celebrate a 50th birthday than building a Ferrari F50? First unveiled at the 1995 Geneva Salon the F50 was Ferrari's attempt to fuse the most advanced technologies of their road and racing cars. The Pininfarina styling shows its roots but unlike the Daytona the F50 did not hit the tracks in competition, though a prototype was tested at Fiorano with a view to GT racing but the project went no further. Ferrari used much of its current Formula One technology in the F50, a carbon fiber monocoque, mid-engined 4.7L V12 derived from their 1990 Grand Prix racer, titanium hubs and advance aerodynamics that utilized ground effects to enhance performance. The Ferrari F50 is one link in the chain of models that make Ferrari really special, sharing the DNA of the likes of the 250 GTO and F40 that preceded it to the Enzo and LaFerrari that have come since. These are cars that are built without compromise in pursuit of performance and excellence. One car in that chain of performance and excellence would definitely be the Ferrari 250 GT SWB. It had a record at the races that was second to none but the road version (Lusso), with a steel as opposed to aluminum body, was a blisteringly fast Grand Tourer. It was also the first Ferrari GT to be sold with disc rather than drum brakes. 165 examples were built 1959 and 1963, 75 for racing, 90 Lusso models for the street. The car on display at Goodwood was chassis 1995 GT one of a pair of 250 GT SWB that launched the UK Ferrari dealer, Maranello Concessionaires, in 1960. This particular car has made headlines this year when it was bequeathed in the Will of the late Richard Colton to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. The RNLI are about to auction this and another rare Ferrari and the funds raised will go towards the RNLI’s lifesaving work around the coasts of the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. A worthy car for a worthy cause. It could be asserted that all Ferraris are special, but to paraphrase Orwell, some Ferraris are more special than others. This Ferrari 250 GTL or Gran Turismo Lusso was the sixteenth example of the model to roll off the production lines (out of a total of 350) bound for its owner, Luciano Pederzani. Luciano who with his brother Gianfranco, owned Tecno, a constructor of karts, single-seaters and eventually a pair of Formula One cars. Pederzani had the car re-bodied around 1965 by Medardo Fantuzzi of Carrozzeria Fantuzzi, who had worked at Ferrari and Maserati. Fantuzzi was the creator of several one off specials for the likes of Luigi Chinetti. Here the result is a more aerodynamic front end, faired in headlamps, and more pronounced rear spoiler. The 250 GTO-style louvres and vents on the bonnet and front and rear wings give this already handsome Grand Tourer even more stance, a racer's edge. The rich pageant of the Ferrari legend was properly illustrated in this display at Goodwood, perhaps now I should take a look around the paddocks and the track on the trail of more Ferraris.