Musei Ferrari e Alfa Romeo, September 2015

Part One

David G. Fox

Our vacation for 2015 took us to Italy. More specifically, we went to Tuscany, Lake Maggiore, and various points around and in between. Sculpture, paintings, cathedrals, hilltop cities, wine country, and products thereof. What's in between to pique the interest of car folk? At the very least, there are Modena, Maranello, and Milan. If you're old school, think three-liter (or smaller) Ferrari V12s and 2300cc supercharged straight eight Alfa Romeos.

As we moved toward the north on our Italian trip, we spent two nights in Modena. This allowed us to see a bit of the town and to get the most of the Ferrari museum experience. The town itself has a fun and interesting central area. Restaurants in Modena do delightful things with balsamic vinegar. It's not the usual stuff. It's aged forever, extraordinarily expensive, and there are times you might mistake it for chocolate. I know very little about food, so we'll move on.

There actually are two Ferrari museums, one in Modena, where Enzo Ferrari's life began, and the other 20 kilometers away in Maranello, where the modern factory and test facility are located. Although the exhibition at neither location was focused exclusively, the Enzo in Modena tended to have more road cars on display, while the Maranello campus had more racing cars. At least that's the way it seemed when we were there.


Modena Museo Enzo Ferrari

The Museo Enzo Ferrari is a short walk from the centro part of Modena, where our hotel was located. The older building shown in the photo below housed the workshop of Enzo's father. Attached to the opposite side of the workshop is the house where Enzo was born. The workshop and house were sold when Enzo was a young man of twenty to raise money to buy his first racecar. Now part of the museum campus, the workshop houses numerous engines and some of the earliest work bearing the Ferrari name. Visible to the right in the photo is a portion of the large, ultra modern, primary exhibition hall.

From inside the workshop building, featured below is the first Ferrari. The 125 S was constructed in 1947, and is powered by a 1497cc 60 degree V12. Below the car is one of the small Colombo-designed V12 power plants that "was continuously evolved, and gave rise to the tradition of V12 engined Ferraris."

The workshop houses numerous engine displays, along with a variety of cars, including the 750 Monza from 1954 just below. Power for the Sport barchetta comes from a "big" three-liter inline four putting out 260hp.

Capturing the scope of the large primary exhibition hall of the Enzo Museum is difficult. This photo, shot across the middle, shows a portion of it.

Two beautiful blue competitors (back in the day), a 1962 Maserati Sebring and a 1964 Ferrari Superfast. The Superfast runs with another 60 degree V12, this time with 4962cc and 400hp, while the 3500 chassis under the Sebring sports a 3485cc inline six with fuel injection.

Continuing on with more sixties-era road cars, the dark red Pininfarina of 1958 looks almost American in design. This car runs the then-current road version of the iconic 250 (three liter) V12 that powered a great many Ferrari road and race models from 1952 to1963.

Resplendent-in-yellow, here is my favorite, the 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB4. Pininfarina and Scaglietti revised the body somewhat for the four-cam GTB. Among other considerations, they had to make room for six carburetors. The 3285cc, 300hp V12 and transaxle combination was capable of pushing one of these cars to 167mph. All that pretty and still a strong competitor on the track. Although still using two valves per cylinder, the four cams of the revised Colombo design allowed improved valve orientation. Engine oiling came from a huge capacity (17 quart) dry sump system. Sounds serious.

More modern road cars are the red 1984 Testarossa and the white 2008 California hardtop convertible. The TR has a 4943cc V12 producing 390hp. The idea behind the design of the California was to produce an every day, two plus two car that can be driven open or with the hardtop closed. The V8 engine produces 460hp from 4297cc.

Then there are the supercars. First up is the GTO from 1984. The twin-turbo V8 of 2855cc delivers 400hp and 190mph.

In the foreground is an F50. Built in the later part of the mid-1990s, F50s sported killer, F1-inspired, four-cam, 60 valve, 65 degree V12s measuring 4698cc. The first car beyond the F50 is an Enzo from 2002. The 660hp from the 5998cc V12 Enzo seems to get someone in trouble on the street every once in a while.

Finally, there is the 2013 LaFerrari. This million-dollar hybrid can put 963hp to the rear wheels. Eight hundred horses come from the 6262cc V12. The rest come from an electric motor. Improved fuel consumption is claimed, but results may vary, depending on individual driving habits.

This delicate bit is Scaglietti's wire frame, or jig, that was used to check shaping of the aluminum panels for the Ferrari 250 GTO.

In addition to the cars and other historical material displayed in the main exhibition hall of the Enzo museum, videos can be projected onto the walls using numerous projectors. On our visit, one video presented the story of Enzo's ninety-year life in a rapid but captivating fashion. The second video was a rousing celebration of Modena with emphasis on Ferrari and Luciano Pavarotti.


Museo Ferrari Maranello

The easiest way to get to the Maranello museum was to take the dedicated tour bus directly from the Enzo museum through the countryside. Speaking of buses, there is a short but worthwhile tour departing from this museum that winds through the factory grounds and to the Fiorano test track. The views and the presentation given by the guide were all very interesting, but photography was not allowed. Gotta keep an air of mystery. Let's go inside the Museo Ferrari Maranello.

First up is a race car from 1948. A Formula 2 (two liter max, not supercharged) car, the 166 F2 won its maiden race at the Florence Gran Prix of 1948. Power is from a 1995cc V12.

Fast-forward to 1981 and we have a 126CK Formula 1 car. The first Ferrari single-seat design to use a turbo, the 126CK wasn't highly successful; it did win at Monaco. Next year's version, the 126C2, was the champ. The 120 degree V6 of the 126CK displaces 1496cc and develops 570hp at 11,500rpm.

Okay, so Ford GT40s were the big winners of the 24 Hours of Le Mans 1966-1969. Ferrari had dominated that type of endurance racing for years. The Ferrari comeback was to come in 1970 with the 512S - 4993cc of V12 power producing 550hp and 211mph. Twenty-five cars were built to homologate. Didn't work. With the Fords out, Porsche took over.

Several prototypes and styling exercises were on display at Maranello. First noted was this prototype for the 365 GTB4 (Daytona) from 1968. The body and three-valve, 4390cc V12 are on 275 GTB underpinnings. Note the 275 GTB front sheet metal styling.

For a more recent endeavor, there is this styling model for the LaFerrari. Note the brown areas where the styling clay is showing.

The Sergio concept car is from the 2013 Geneva show. Six copies were built and sold to Ferrari collectors. The 4499cc V8 powered cars were "designed to commemorate the life of Sergio Pininfarina."

Ten copies of the F60 America were sent to, you guessed it, clients in the USA, to "celebrate Ferrari's 6oth year on its largest market." These are totally topless roadsters, with 6262cc 65 degree V12s rated for 740hp at 8500rpm.

But for now, back to the good old stuff. The overhead shot below is of the 166 Mille Miglia Berlinetta Vignale from 1952. Its V12 measures 1995cc.

Following is a study in the progression of sports racing Ferraris. The red car in the following group is a 250 GT Berlinetta Tour de France from 1956. The silver car is a 1959 model 250 GT, generally referred to as an SWB (for short wheel base) or as a competizione. The black car is one of the 36 full on racer 250 GTOs. All three are based on the 250cc per cylinder 60 degree V12 chassis (actually 2953cc total). But each generation has greater focus on winning races in the Grand Touring category of sports cars.

The red Scaglietti body of the Tour de France, designed by Pininfarina, is aluminum for competition. Forty-five examples were produced from 1956 to 1960. These cars had great success in the Tour de France, the Mille Miglia, and at Le Mans and Sebring. Horsepower of the 1956 model was rated 240 at 7000rpm; top speed was 157mph.

The 250 GT Berlinetta SWB was produced in somewhat larger numbers. Some of the Scaglietti bodies were aluminum; others were steel. These were the first Ferrari GTs equipped with disk brakes. With a wheelbase approximately eight inches shorter than earlier 250 GTs, the SWB had a "distinct competitive edge resulting in a string of successes in the world's leading endurance races." Horsepower was up to 280 at 7000rpm; top speed was 167mph. The front view has to be one of Pininfarina and Ferrari's best.

Of the 36 built in 1962 and 1963, all of the 250 GTOs survive. "One of the great iconic Ferraris... Despite being a racing car, the 250 GTO was also designed to be license-plated and used on the road." The details (300hp at 7400rpm, 5-speed transmission, 1940 pounds dry weight, 174mph top speed) insured a high performance level. Unbeatable? Perhaps not. Infinitely desirable? Absolutely.

Quotes in the above discussions of cars featured from the Ferrari museums are taken from placards placed with the cars. The great majority of the specifications, performance data, production numbers, etc., included were similarly obtained.

But what about Alfa Romeo?

Could there be a modern day Ferrari had there been no Alfa Romeo? Hard to say. As a young man, Enzo drove for Alfa; then he helped develop their racing cars and teams. For about ten years, the original Scuderia Ferrari was largely devoted to Alfa Romeos. He had success with Alfa, but had departed there by about the time he turned forty years of age. Plans for cars bearing his own name were delayed by WWII.

Use the following link to get to Part Two of our story, the visit to the Alfa Romeo museum.

Museo Storico Alfa Romeo


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