With all the exciting things going on with Ferrari these days, one would be forgiven for easily forgetting about the history of the brand; especially my generation, who was born awfully close to the 21th century. I mean, the oldest Ferrari I can remember be acquainted with is the 360 Modena. That is sad, because the story of Ferrari is the most enchanting story in the history of automotive.
You can’t call yourself a car guy unless you know all about it. But there lies another problem. History is boring. I am embarrassed to say that I can never finish a history book, because I usually nod off after five minutes. That was until I received a copy of The Ferrari Book to review. To be honest with you, I thought I was going to need eight cups of triple espresso to get through this, but after flicking a few pages I was so absorbed I didn’t even touch one. The moment I saw the words “Dedicated to Commendatore Enzo Ferrari” I knew it was going to be good.
You see, this book attempts the rather difficult task of relaying the brand’s history through pictures. And it, at least in my opinion, succeeds. The magical lens of Günter Raupp has been doing this since 1985. It all started with him making a calendar of his beloved Ferrari Dino. His work caught the eye of the Commendatore, and the official Ferrari Calendar was born.
The Ferrari Book, as it is known these days, is not like the normal history books, full of stuff nobody cares about and story of people no one has ever heard of. Right after the dedication page, a preface by Piero Ferrari, Enzo’s son and the current holder of that 10 percent of the company Fiat does not own, it quickly tells you about how Enzo, being a red-blooded Italian, left Alfa Romeo in anger and set up his own shop in Maranello. You will learn about the first Ferrari ever, powered by a 1.5 liter 12-cylinder engine, and how cunning was the Commendatore’s decision to sell road cars to his rich clientele just to finance his racing ambitions.
Then it gets right down to business with a huge collection of the every single Ferrari, racing and road-going, produced since 1947. You know the old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words? Well, every single one of Raupp’s pictures is like a full lecture. The effects, the colors, the backdrop, even the angles, are chosen to reflect the colossal significance of that particular model the image is showing off. The sheer beauty of some of those shots is indescribable. Some of the pictures seem a bit over edited, but maybe that’s just me not understanding art.
The best thing about the consistency of the album is that you can see and appreciate the evolution of Ferrari design over the years; chief among which the amazing works of Pininfarina, Ferrari’s favorite coachbuilder, and the shape of the racing cars dictated by rules and regulations of that period. Another interesting fact you notice is the shift towards making more and more road cars than racing cars, especially since Luca di Montezemolo took the helm. The 50s, 60s and 70s sections are dominated by awesome racing machines, while 80s, 90s, and the 21st century is all about products they can actually sell. That is called moving with the time, I guess. In its first year of full production Ferrari made 44 cars, in 2012 they made 7,318.
Thanks to Gunter Raupp’s Ferrari Book I am now one of the boys. I won’t be dumbfounded next time I get caught up in a conversation about old Ferraris, and hear the names like 330 P4, 312 P, Dino 246, 365 GTB4, and 512 BB LM, to mention a few. I can also tell the difference between all the GTO models. I don’t know everything about them, but I’ve seen them all. Even if you are not that into cars, this book would be a great addition to any library, or coffee table. Highly recommended!
Credits: © THE FERRARI BOOK by Günther Raupp, published by teNeues, www.teneues.com. © 2013 Raupp Design GmbH, Murr, Germany. All rights reserved. Photo © Günther Raupp.