Today, Ferrari is one of the most well-known and revered car manufacturers in the business. Pictures of various Ferrari models have been a fixture on the bedroom walls of countless children, while the real things have long been coveted by those seeking what is thought by some to be the pinnacle of automotive engineering and performance.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the first Ferrari road car to be produced, so to celebrate, we’ve collected our favourite Prancing Horse from each decade, from the 1940s through to today.
1940s – 166 Inter
As the first true Ferrari road car, the 166 Inter automatically deserves a place in the list of the most iconic road cars from the Maranello manufacturer. The 166 Inter was a proper grand tourer, and featured a 2.0-litre V12 that produced between 109bhp and 138bhp – not bad for a car that first debuted at the 1949 Paris Motor Show.
The gorgeous coupe was designed by Carrozzeria Touring of Milan, the same firm that worked on earlier Ferrari and Alfa Romeo racers. During the course of its production run, which lasted from 1948 to 1950, there were 37 166 Inters built. It was the first Ferrari to be purchased for the road, rather than the track.
1950s – 250 GT California Spyder
Those who are familiar with the classic 1986 film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off will recognise the iconic Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder. In the film, Bueller and his friends take a short-wheelbase version of the V12 convertible for a joyride in downtown Chicago before heading off on a series of other misadventures.
The 250 GT California Spyder was available in both long-wheelbase (LWB) and short-wheelbase (SWB) configurations, with the first LWB model being produced in 1957. It was powered by the same V12 that was used in the 250 Tour de France racing car, which produced up to 237bhp.
1960s – 250 GTO
As far as Ferrari road cars go, the 250 GTO is nothing short of legendary. A mere 39 examples were built between 1962 and 1964 to make the car eligible for the FIA’s Group 3 Grand Touring Car category. It was powered by the Italian manufacturer’s Tipo 168/62 V12 engine, which produced 296bhp.
The iconic car could be seen as the original Ferrari supercar. When it was introduced, the GTO cost $18,000 new in the United States, with buyers having to be approved by Enzo Ferrari himself.
The 250 GTO is now one of the most sought-after collectors’ cars on the planet, and currently holds the record for the most valuable car sold at auction. In 2014, a 250 GTO went under the hammer and achieved a staggering price of £30.6 million.
1970s – Berlinetta Boxer
The Berlinetta Boxer was a series of cars produced by Ferrari from 1973 to 1984, which includes the 365 GT4 BB, the BB 512 and the BB 512i. While all were incredibly similar in terms of their appearance, this series of cars was an important one for Ferrari, owing to the fact that it was the first Ferrari-badged road car to feature a mid-engine layout.
All BB cars were powered by a flat-12 engine that produced between 340bhp and 355bhp depending on model. Enzo Ferrari was supposedly not too keen on the idea of introducing a mid-engine road car to the Ferrari line-up, as he thought that they would be too much for his customers to handle, and it was only after the Italian brand began to lose its edge in racing in the face of mid-engined competitors that he agreed to adopt the layout.
While the Dino was the first Ferrari-produced road car to adopt the mid-engine layout, the Ferrari name was reserved exclusively for the marque’s 12-cylinder cars. The 365 GT4 BB was the first mid-engine Ferrari, and can be seen as the car that modern Ferraris such as the 488 GTB stem from.
1980s – F40
To some, the F40 is the definitive Ferrari. It was coveted the world over, and was a common sight on bedroom wall posters at the time. When it was released in 1987, it was the fastest, most powerful and most expensive road car Ferrari had ever produced.
The mid-engine supercar was powered by a 2.9-litre, twin-turbocharged V8 that developed 472bhp, allowing for a 0-60mph time of 4.5 seconds and a top speed of 199mph.
During the course of its five-year production run, a total of 1,311 F40s were produced, despite the fact that Ferrari had only initially planned for 400 examples to be built.
It was the car that celebrated Ferrari’s 40th anniversary, and was also the final car to be released by the Italian manufacturer that was personally approved by Enzo Ferrari before his death.
1990s – F355
To some, the Ferrari F355 is one of the prettiest road cars that the Maranello manufacturer has ever produced, replacing the 348. It was released in 1994, and was available as a coupe, targa or convertible.
The F355 featured a mid-engine layout, and was powered by a 3.5-litre V8 that developed 370bhp and enabled the car to sprint from 0-60mph in 4.5 seconds, before hitting a top speed of 183mph.
With a production run of 11,273 units, the F355 was at the time the most-produced car the Italian manufacturer had released. This figure was later surpassed with the release of models such as the 360 and the F430.
2000s – Enzo
When it was released in 2002, the Enzo represented the pinnacle of what Ferrari could achieve at the time. It featured bags of Formula One technology, such as its carbon-fibre body and F1-style transmission, as well as a colossal 6.0-litre V12 engine.
This power plant produced 651bhp and allowed for a 0-60mph time of just 3.1 seconds, as well as a top speed of 221mph. Ferrari produced 399 Enzos during its two-year production run.
2010s – LaFerrari
Just as the Enzo was the Ferrari of its decade, the LaFerrari is the definitive model of the 2010s – hence its name. It is the first Ferrari road car to feature hybrid technology, which works in conjunction with a 6.3-litre V12 engine to give a combined power output of 950bhp and 900Nm of torque.
These ridiculous performance figures mean the LaFerrari can sprint from 0-60mph in less than three seconds, while Ferrari states the car has a top speed in excess of 217mph. Along with the McLaren P1 and Porsche 918, the LaFerrari forms the ‘Holy Trinity’ of hybrid hypercars.
Honourable mention – 458 Speciale
The Ferrari 458 Speciale gets a special mention here because it rather sadly represents the final mid-engine Ferrari to feature a naturally aspirated V8 engine. Emissions regulations and the desire to improve fuel economy mean Ferrari has shifted towards turbo-charged engines, which, while certainly not lacking in power, don’t quite feature the same sense of theatre as the V8 that powered the 458 Speciale.
The 458 Speciale was a faster, more hardcore version of the beautiful 458 Italia. Its 4.5-litre V8 produced 597bhp and 540Nm of torque, allowing the mid-engine supercar to sprint from 0-60mph in three seconds, before hitting a top speed of around 202mph.