The Design Museum in London opened Ferrari: Under the Skin, an exhibition exploring the history and design of Ferrari. The show celebrates 70 years of development since the launch of the first car in 1947. Displaying rarely seen material from private collections, the display provides insight into the world of Ferrari.
This collection, the first outside the Museo Ferrari in Maranello, brings together early design models, drawings, personal letters and memorabilia as well as some of the most famous cars to grace the road and racing circuits. Together, these artefacts and original documents provide a study of automotive design.
Placed against a backdrop of post-war austerity, Enzo Ferrari and a small but dedicated team decided to create a performance vehicle whilst many were manufacturing economy vehicles and scooters. The opening section of the exhibition charts the story of Enzo Ferrari and his drive to create the perfect driving machine for track and road. Key exhibits include Enzo Ferrari’s driving licence, original photography, the original drawings and an exact replica of the 125 S — the first Ferrari ever made — and hand-written documents from Enzo Ferrari himself.
The Ferrari: Under the Skin exhibition offers visitors a look at the world of car design. Original hand-drawn sketches feature next to high-tech wind tunnel models and crafted early wooden master models to present a survey of the manufacturing process and the relationship between form and function. Charting the varied techniques used throughout Ferrari’s history, the exhibition demonstrates how drawings are translated by sculptural techniques into the final form of the car. An original 1:1 scale hand-crafted clay design model of the J50 is a highlight of the exhibition and offers a view into the factory’s techniques. The limited edition J50 was made in a run of 10 cars exclusive to Japan, celebrating 50 years of Ferrari in the country.
The exhibition also looks at Ferrari’s clientele. It was these clients who helped establish Ferrari as the brand we know today. Notes by Miles Davis feature alongside archive photography of famous clients with their cars, including Clint Eastwood, Sammy Davis Jr, Brigitte Bardot and Peter Sellers. The centrepiece of the section is a 250 GT Cabriolet (1957) owned by British racing driver Peter Collins. Other cars in this section include an F40 (1988) belonging to Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason and a 166 MM (1950) formerly driven by Gianni Agnelli, head of Fiat.
It is competitive racing that has remained at the heart of Ferrari from its inception to today. As well as previously unseen documents from the early history of the racing team, the exhibition includes helmets worn by Alberto Ascari, Mike Hawthorn, Michael Schumacher and Kimi Räikkönen. The 1952 British GP winner’s trophy and a selection of famous racing suits are also on display. The evolution of racing car design is represented through the Ferrari 500 F2 (1952), which Alberto Ascari drove to victory at the F1 championship in 1952 and 1953, and the Ferrari F1-2000 (2000), the championship-winning car driven by Michael Schumacher.
The exhibition culminates in a look at Ferrari today. A LaFerrari Aperta, owned by Gordon Ramsay and the most technologically advanced Ferrari to date, represents the company’s continuing innovation. This hybrid vehicle is accompanied by concept sketches and an in-depth look at the engine.
Sir Terence Conran, founder of the Design Museum said: “I think I speak on behalf of millions of ambitious people of all ages that we have all at some point had delicious dreams of owning a Ferrari. The brand itself has become a worldwide symbol of design success, whether it is their road models or Grand Prix cars. The Ferrari story is truly one of the great adventure stories of the industrial age and I am very proud we are able to tell it at the Design Museum. The depth of emotion goes far beyond the external beauty of their cars: what excites me so much about this exhibition is the rare opportunity to glimpse behind the scenes and experience the dynamic between engineering, manufacturing and design, which produces Ferrari’s magic ingredient. It is a magic ingredient that means I am here, aged eighty-five and still lusting after the idea of owning a Ferrari – I want to go out with a beautiful, powerful and perfectly designed vroom!”
Andrew Nahum, co-curator of Ferrari: Under the Skin commented: “Ferrari represents an ideal case study in design and development. Ferrari uses the subtle and often unseen techniques of automobile design, but with the utmost care and precision. The exhibition provides an insight into the history and practice of the whole private world of automotive design.”
Ferrari: Under the Skin is a behind-the-scenes look at the design, people and engineering that created one of the most iconic car brands on the planet. The display, which opened 15 November 2017, will run through 15 April 2018. For further information, visit The Design Museum.