Though the company was founded in 1929, the first of the luxury road going Ferrari cars was not rolled out until 1947, because Enzo Ferrari's interest in cars was primarily of the motor racing variety.
At first Scuderia Ferrari raced Alfa Romeos. Enzo Ferrari tuned the Alfa Romeo engines and in 1937 built the Alfa Romeo A158. Ferrari's relationship with its Italian rivals was to end in 1940 and the outbreak of World War II saw the company concentrating on military production, though it did produce the Tipo 185, the company's first racing car.
During the war Ferrari switched production from its facility at Modena to Morello. The factory suffered bombing in 1944, but was rebuilt two years later. In a move to fund the Scuderia race team Enzo Ferrari decided to move into road car production. The Ferrari 125 S. powered by a 1.5 litre Columbo 125 V12 engine was a works car for road production. It was a success on the track, winning six races during 1947, including the Grand Prix of Rome. By the end of the decade Ferrari sales were beginning to take off in the United States, especially the 166 inter.
Success on the track translated into increasingly popular road cars. The success of Ferrari cars, such as the 357 America and 250 GT saw production rise four-fold during the 50s. However, stiff competition saw Ferrari come under increased pressure and in 1969 the company sold half its share capital to Fiat. That figure was increased to 90 per cent by the end of the 80s.
Because Ferrari construction has concentrated on specialised luxury performance cars it has maintained its niche in the world of car manufacture. It has produced excellent concept cars, most recently the Millechili. Used Ferraris are also much sought after and a good second-hand Ferrari will command a high price. Despite its amazingly successful road cars, there can be no doubt that Ferrari is best known for its contribution to the world of motor racing.