Seventy years ago this week, on March 12, 1947, Enzo Ferrari fired up the 125 S (above), the first car to bear his name, and took it on a test-drive on the streets of Maranello. It marked the start of modern Ferrari history, and the then-modest factory quickly grew into one of Italy’s great international icons.
On the day of its first drive, the 125 S was still an unbodied steel rolling chassis as it roared to life for the first time, beginning the great Ferrari adventure. Two months later, on May 11 1947, the car made its track debut at the Piacenza Circuit, with Franco Cortese at the wheel.
Enzo Ferrari dubbed this maiden outing as “a promising failure” after the car was forced to retire with a fuel pump problem while leading. That moment of failure was short-lived, however, as just nine days later Cortese took victory in the Rome Grand Prix, the first of six victories the 125 S would deliver in 1947. The most notable of these was the Parma Grand Prix where Tazio Nuvolari did the driving.
During 2017, more than 60 nations will host events crafted to treat clients and enthusiasts of the marque to a string of unique experiences as part of the “Driven by Emotion” concept, one of the cornerstones on which the Ferrari story was founded and has flourished. “Driven by Emotion” is a tribute to the importance placed by the Prancing Horse on emotion throughout the past seven decades. Also present at these events, as a continuing indication of that emotion will be a current model LaFerrari Aperta, symbolizing the 70th anniversary. The anniversary celebrations will culminate in Maranello on the weekend of September 9 and 10.
A special website has been created to flank the celebrations as they unfold throughout the year as well as to introduce the pivotal moments and individuals in the company’s history. The www.ferrari70.com site went online last Sunday.