The Design Museum in London opens Ferrari: Under the Skin, a major exhibition exploring the history and design of Ferrari. The show celebrates 70 years of creative development since the launch of the first car in 1947. Displaying rarely seen material from private collections, the exhibition provides a unique insight into the meticulous and glamorous world of Ferrari. This ambitious 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 world’s roads and racing circuits. Together, these artefacts and original documents provide an unprecedented study of automotive design.
Dedicated displays explore the life of Enzo Ferrari, the design of the cars, the brand’s famous clientele, its racing prowess and today’s technical innovations.
Placed against a backdrop of post-war austerity, Enzo Ferrari and a small but dedicated team decided to create an elite performance vehicle whilst many were manufacturing economy vehicles and scooters. The opening section of the exhibition charts the story of Enzo Ferrari and his remorseless 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 exhibition offers visitors a behind-the-scenes look at the secretive world of car design. Original hand-drawn sketches feature next to high-tech wind tunnel models and beautifully 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 an exclusive view into the factory’s techniques. The limited edition J50 was made in a run of only 10 cars exclusive to Japan, celebrating 50 years of Ferrari in the country.
The exhibition also looks at Ferrari’s extraordinary celebrity clientele. It was these discerning 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 one of the most famous British racing drivers of all time – 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.