Bringing Ferrari to the Tifosi: 70th birthday bash in Maranello

Published: 10 September 2017

► Ferrari invites 4000 owners to factory
► Super-rich bidders spend millions at auction 
► Cheering Tifosi line Maranello streets

It was almost as if Enzo had arranged for the skies to light up in his honour. Moments before the big ending of the first day’s celebration – an operatic outdoor stage show featuring the music and cars of Ferrari – had begun, the heavens opened and lightning slashed the skies. Oh yes, this was a party that only the Italians could have thrown. 

The weekend’s celebration was all about the 70th anniversary of the creation of Ferrari as a sports car manufacturer. Inside the factory walls and within the confines of the Fiorano test track, a concours d’elegance, the Leggenda e Passione auction hosted by RM Sotheby’s, and 4000 hand-picked customers and fans invited by Ferrari. This was an exclusive gig.

Tifosi flocks in to cheer on their birthday heroes

But that didn’t stop the weekend being inclusive. Far from it. Outside the gates, hundreds of Ferraris from across Europe arrived as part of manufacturer-supported tours. They came from the UK, Germany and Italy, with many other cars joining in along the way. Fans and sightseers followed in their wake, causing good-humoured mayhem on the roads.

Ferraris take over Maranello

The stickered-up Ferraris paraded the roads around the factory, as thousands of fans lined the streets, cheering noisily and egging drivers on to rev their V8s, 10s and 12s. Drivers duly obliged, as their exhaust cackle bounced off nearby buildings. As always, the Carabinieri were keeping in control, but encouraging the drivers to have fun.

► Ferrari turns 60: read how it was a decade ago

The shriek of the road cars, and chanting and screaming of the fans, happily competed with the RM Sotheby’s auction inside Fiorano. Under a temporary grandstand, more than 1000 people watched the 42 cars go under the hammer.

So, what were the big selling Ferraris in the auction?

Top-seller was a LaFerrari Aperta that’s yet to be built. The 210th, and final, example was sold for 8.3 million euros, with proceeds from the car’s sale going to Save the Children. As such, the result is a freak, more than doubling its estimate in the process.

Other big sellers included a Ferris Bueller-style California 250 GT SWB, which made 7.9 million euros, a 1958 250 GT Cabriolet Series I for 4.7 million and the aluminium-bodied barn-find Daytona, which sold for 1.8 million euros – that’s double what you’d expect to pay for a standard example.

Sebastian Vettel and Piero Ferrari

In contrast, the 100-plus concours cars lined the track alongside the sale, as the judges got down to the serious job of deciding which car would take the overall honours. Big names strolled around, taking them in – we spotted F1 boss Chase Carey, Piero Ferrari (without expected entourage) and a number of F1 drivers, past and present.

Tell us about the Ferrari show, then

Now that was a treat if you’re a Ferrari fan. The carefully choreographed stage show kicked off with a downpour, and Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne took centre stage to thank all the fans and buyers – and to, ‘never give up on your dreams.’

The light and sound show ensued, with at least £100 million’s worth of Ferraris sharing the stage with dancers, singers, fire eaters and wire walkers. You had to be there. Highlight was a moving montage to Michael Schumacher – Ferrari’s most successful racer – which ended with the simple message, #KeepFightingMichael

It was a fitting climax to an amazing weekend in Maranello – a potent reminder of just how much people power Ferrari still has across the world. Just five years to wait for the next blockbuster… 

Read all of CAR’s Ferrari reviews here 

By Keith Adams

Devout classic Citroen enthusiast, walking car encyclopedia, and long-time contributor to CAR