Ferrari Models & History: A Complete Guide

ferrari models

Ferrari Models & History: A Complete Guide

Do you have $48 million lying around? If so, you could afford to bid on the most expensive car in the world. In 2018, one lucky auto enthusiast bid and won at an RM Sotheby’s auction a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO. This is one of the most coveted Ferrari models in the world.

Enzo Ferrari didn’t set out to create an automotive empire with one of the world’s most recognized brands with its prancing horse. However, that’s precisely what happened. Thanks to the Italian’s commitment to both beauty and performance excellence, Ferrari cars are the embodiment of elegance and heart-stopping engineering power.

Ferrari may not be one of the world’s biggest carmakers, but it’s definitely one of the most coveted. Throughout the decades, a devoted following has grown thanks to the company’s commitment to the innovation of performance and looks. Each car is as attractive to the eyes as it is to our need for driving thrills. So sit back, relax, and let’s take a drive through what makes Ferrari cars some of the top cars in the world to drive.

Ferrari Brand History

As mentioned, the founder of Ferrari didn’t specifically set out to create an automotive empire with legions of devoted fans throughout the world. However, that’s exactly what happened. Enzo Ferrari began his automotive career by working for Alfa Romeo as a driver.

Alfa Romeo Years

Scuderia Ferrari was founded in 1929 with the sole purpose of building gentleman racing cars. Alfa Romeo took over the operation in 1933 when it dissolved its in-house racing team.

Over the next few years, you can see Ferrari’s influences through Alfa Romeo’s racing and road cars. This relationship lasted until 1938 when Alfa Romeo decided to bring its racing operations in-house again. Enzo was the manager of the in-house team for about a year but then left to focus on his own race car development.

Auto Avio Costruzioni

Since he wasn’t allowed to use the Ferrari name, he formed Auto Avio Costruzioni. It wasn’t until four years later when Enzo was allowed to change the name to Ferrari. During the Auto Avio Costruzioni era, one car was produced. Most of the company’s resources were dedicated to building machinery for WWII military operations.

In 1947 the war was over, and Enzo had his first car engine design commissioned. Later that year, the first Ferrari cars were introduced to the world, the 125 S and the 125 Sport.

Those began the Ferrari racing legacy. Over the next decade, race cars sporting the prancing stallion badge appeared and performed well in prestigious races throughout the world.

The 1961 Great Walkout

Throughout the company’s history, Enzo’s strong personality served as a steady rudder expertly guiding the course of development. However, it could also be polarizing, and things came to a head in 1961.

The issue at hand was the level of involvement that Enzo’s wife had in the company’s daily operations. This didn’t sit well with the company’s sales manager, general manager, chief engineer, and experimental sports car development chief. Things came to a boiling point that resulted in these men and their supporters getting ousted from the company. Many thought this was a deadly blow and spelled the end of the company.

Thanks to a young engineer’s talents, the exact opposite happened. Ferrari went on to produce the 250 GTO, which became one of the most famous sports cars in history. The 1960s became one of Ferrari’s best race eras.

Ford Rivalry Era

As you’ve likely seen in the latest Hollywood blockbuster, Ford v Ferrari, in 1963, the Ford Motor Company approached Enzo Ferrari with interest in purchasing the company.

Ford wanted to compete on the international race scene, but it just didn’t have the cars capable. So Ford thought the perfect solution would be to buy the legend in the industry. Negotiations were started, but things came to an abrupt halt when Ferrari realized Ford wasn’t going to let him retain control of his beloved brand and company.

So while Ford failed to secure a deal in 1963, Fiat succeeded a few years later in 1969. The Fiat offer contained more agreeable terms for the Italian sports car maker.

Modern Era

The 1980s saw great highs and lows. There was the launch of the F40 in 1988, one of the most well known and respected cars of all time. That same year saw the passing of Ferrari’s founder.

Development didn’t stop, though. The early 2000s saw the development of the Enzo. The car was the fastest yet produced by the company.

In 2014 it was announced that Fiat and Chrysler were merging, and as a result, Ferrari was getting loose. The idea was to turn Ferrari into an independent automotive company with 10% ownership getting sold as an IPO in 2015. Stocks were initially sold for $52 per share.

Want to own a piece of this racing dynasty? Check out Ferrari’s current stock price. As of 2019, there have been 219,062 cars built that sport the Ferrari prancing stallion badge.

ferrari models

Notable Ferrari Models

Ferrari 458

The 458 was in production from 2009 through 2015. It has a classic sports car style with two doors. It’s rear-wheel drive with a rear mid-engine design. The 458 gets its power from the 4.5-liter V8 engine that was the first direct fuel injection for the maker.

Ferrari F40

The F40 is one of the oldest Ferrari models on this list, with a production time period from 1987 through 1992. Ferrari initially only planned to build 400 but ended up making 1,315 cars. 

This angular sports car has two doors, longitudinally-mounted rear mid-engine, and is rear-wheel drive. Powering the car is a 2.9-liter V8. The F40 replaced the 288 GTO and then was later replaced by the F50. 

Ferrari 488 GTB

Ferrari began producing the 488 GTB in 2015 and is a part of the 2020 model lineup. The GTB stands for Gran Turismo Berlinetta. This two-door sports car features a longitudinal rear mid-engine and rear-wheel drive. A 3.9-liter twin-turbocharged V8 powers this beautiful machine. 

The 488 GTB replaced the 458 in 2015 in the lineup. While there’s a 488 Pista 2020 model, Ferrari considers the 488 the successor to the F8 Tributo. 

Ferrari California/ California T

The California was in production from 1988-2017 and is a grand tourer. It had a front mid-engine and rear-wheel drive. The body style was a two-door coupe with a small backseat and retractable hardtop roof.

The first generation of the car came with a 4.3 liter V8, but this was later upgraded to a twin-turbo 3.9 liter V8. The successor to this model is the Portofino.

A similar model with upgraded performance is the Ferrari California T. It’s top speed is only three mph more at 196. However the horsepower is increases from 453 to 553 and the torque goes from 357 to 557.

Ferrari F12

If you aren’t into racing and prefer a relaxing smooth ride, then you’ll appreciate this touring car. It was built from 2012 through 2017.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming it isn’t an impressive and powerful car. Under the hood you’ll find a 6.3-liter V12 engine. It comes with a front mid-engine and rear-wheel-drive.

The 2012 model was named Supercar of the Year by Top Gear. The two-door model replaced the 599 and was later replaced by the 812 Superfast.

Ferrari Enzo

The Enzo is one of the most well known Ferrari models, despite it having a short production time of 2002-2004 and only 400 made. The car is a pure race car in design with a rear mid-engine and rear-wheel drive. It comes with an insanely powerful 6.0-liter V12 engine. 

The Enzo replaced the F50 in the lineup and was later replaced with the LaFerrari model. Ferrari originally intended this car to sport the F60 name after the F40 and F50, but the engineers were so thrilled with how the car improved upon the LaFerrari legacy that they decided to name it after the company’s founder. The car’s actual name is Ferrari Enzo Ferrari. 

F12 Berlinetta

With pricing that’s over $320,000, this face-melting supercar costs more than many people’s homes. All of that power comes from a 730 horsepower 6.3-liter V12 engine that’s paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic with rear-wheel drive.

What makes this car memorable is that despite all of that performance power, it’s still comfortable. This makes it the perfect daily driver during the week and thrill machine on the weekend.

599 GTB Fiorano

The 599 GTB Fiorano was billed as one of the most expensive cars you could purchase from the Italian car marker. It was pure performance with a lightweight aluminum build and hair raising V12 engine.

Controversy was created with the body styling. However, it could be argued that you need to see the car in person to truly appreciate and understand this vehicle’s appeal.

ferrari models

2020 Ferrari Models

There are several vehicles in the Ferrari 2020 lineup that are sure to get your heart racing. Whether you’re looking for pure speed and performance, or more of a thrilling daily driver, there’s a car for you. These are some of our favorite 2020 models.

Ferrari 488 Pista Spider

Get behind the wheel of the 488 Pista Spider and experience the bold and brash attitude of this race-inspired two-door sports car. It has an extra-wide stance, and perfectly curved fenders give the car an unforgettable combination of sex appeal and responsive handling. The cabin feels surprisingly spacious, giving you plenty of room to get comfortable as you rocket down the road. 

Ferrari 812 Superfast/ 812 GTS

The Superfast is one of the most expensive cars on the market right now. It’s worth every cent for the bullet-like acceleration and next-level responsive handling.  What makes this car stand out is its practicality and generous cargo capacity. 

If you prefer to have the sun on your face and the wind in your hair, then look at the 812 GTS. It the same car, just in convertible form.

Ferrari F8 Tributo

The Tributo is the automotive embodiment of Italian glamour. The body styling is the perfect blend of modern and classic lines. Hidden under this perfectly shaped wrapper is a brash performance package that gives you blinding acceleration and precision sharp handling. 

Ferrari Portofino

 As the most affordable in the 2020 Ferrari lineup, the Portoifino gives you a chance to soak up the sun and feel the wind in your hair as you cruise. So drop the top, hit the gas pedal, and hear the iconic exhaust roar.  

Ferrari GTC4Lusso

Not every car in the Ferrari lineup is a heart-stopping race car. The GTC4Lusso balances luxury and comfort with respectable performance abilities. This is the Ferrari with a backseat and cargo space for your daily driving needs. 

The GTC4Lusso is Ferrari’s attempt to recognize that sometimes, you need a car that’s functional for everyday life.

2021 Ferrari Models

SF90 Stradale

This is one of the fastest open-top two-seater supercars on the road today. It boasts a heart-stopping 986 horsepower and can rocket from zero to 60 in 2.5 seconds. In less the seven seconds you’ll reach 124 miles per hour with a top speed of 211 mph.

If that wasn’t impressive enough, the SF90 Stradale has a plug-in hybrid powertrain. It’s a twin-turbo V8 with a mid-mounted single module battery.


The body styling of the Ferrari Roma will have you falling in love. This shapely coupe isn’t just about looks. The team at Ferrari outfitted it with a 612 horsepower turbocharged 3.9-liter V8.

The interior of the Roma is expertly hand-crafted faux suede and leather. On the dashboard is a 16-inch digital gauge cluster. It also has a large center section, which is uncommon for Ferrari.

F8 Spider

The F8 Spider and Tributo don’t disappoint with their exhilarating performance abilities and true sportscar performance. The F8 Spider has a removable hardtop for a convertible experience.

Mounted behind your driver’s seat is the 710 horsepower twin-turbo V8. You’ll tame all of the power with the paddle-shifted seven-speed automatic transmission gearbox.

Ferraris Day Gone By

What’s notable about Ferrari is the quality of the used cars that are available. Ferrari owners have a love and passion for the brand that’s expressed through careful care of their vehicles. We see Ferraris that are several years old or even collector status that look just as pristine as the day it rolled off the production floor. 

These are some of the most notable and desirable past Ferrari models. 

Ferrari 458

There’s no wonder why the 458 Speciale is the “mass-produced” entry-level model of the Ferrari lineup, with 13-15,000 made. The car has withstood the test of time with each generation an improvement on the styling and performance of the year before. 

The exterior is a stunning example of Ferrari’s Italian roots in their appreciation for perfectly placed details and design balance. Upon opening the door and getting in the car, you’ll feel wrapped in luxury. This car is a pleasure to drive with seats that wrap around you and a full digital LED display. 

Ferrari F40

There was a time in the 1950s when Ferrari built cars for the road that were essentially tamed race cars. With minimal modifications, you could have a respectable track car. This made them thrilling and slightly terrifying to drive.

The F40 harkens back to that time.  It has a deeply dropped nose, countless air scoops for aerodynamics, and a large F1 wing strapped to the back. But the most impressive feature is the lightweight slotted plexiglass rear window that allows you to fully view the powerful engine in action.  

Ferrari California

The California is the Ferrari for the non-car enthusiast driver. It’s the softest and mildest car of the lineup. Despite the twin-turbo V8 powering it, the driving style is more relaxed and easy-going. The interior is where this car really shines with the classically styled seats and dash. 

Ferrari F12

This car has performance abilities, but they don’t quite live up to the standard of the other cars on this list. But that doesn’t make this a bad car or one not worth considering. If you’re looking for a daily driver, the F12 rises to the top of the list. 

Luxuriously soft leather lines the spacious interior. This car is meant for the car enthusiast who wants something sporty and fun to drive while they run errands or head to work. 

Ferrari Enzo

The Enzo is the Formula 1 car destined for the road. What this car lacks in creature comforts and luxury, it more than makes up for with unbridled performance power. You know you’re in for a wild ride just walking up to this car with its aggressive race-inspired front end. Only a couple hundred of them were made, so finding one for sale is a real treat. 


The Testarossa was in production from 1984 to 1996. Its claim to fame is the 12 cylinder mid-engine and five-speed manual gearbox powertrain. It became a must-have in the garages of Elton John, OK Simpson, Rod Stewart, Mike Tyson, Dr. Dre, Michael Jordan, and MC Hammer.


Ferrari produced the Daytona from 1968 to 1973. It’s a two-seater grand tourer with a 4.4-liter Colombo V12. Officially, Ferrari named the vehicle Ferrari 365 GTB/4. However, the media dubbed the car the Daytona to commemorate Ferrari’s 1-2-3 finish at the February 1967 24 Hours of Daytona.

Ferrari Cars: A Complete Guide

What Is the Cheapest Ferrari?

The most affordable Ferrari prices on the market are below $40,000. There’s a reason these cars are significantly lower in price than some of their more famous counterparts. You’ll find that unreliability and expensive replacement parts tend to be their most common detractors.

If you want to own a Ferrari but don’t have the cash to plunk down for one of the more famous models, you still have options. There are several models that are priced under $40,000.

  • Dino 308 GT4
  • 400i
  • 348
  • Mondial

Why Are Ferraris Red?

The iconic red color used on Ferrari vehicles is called Rosso Corsa (racing red). Almost 80% of all Ferraris sold are painted this color. Ferrari first used the color in honor of Charles Goddard, a fairground worker who entered the Peking to Paris in 1907.

He set an endurance record during the race for driving 24 hours straight in an effort to catch up. Later, other Italian racing teams adopted the color as the national racing color. This was organized by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) that governs auto racing, including Formula One.

Up until the 1960s, Italian race cars were required to be red, French cars were blue, and British cars were green. After the 1960s, other Italian race teams stopped making their race cars red, but Ferrari kept the tradition. 

Is Ford vs. Ferrari a True Story?

While the movie Ford v Ferrari is based on a true story, Hollywood has added its own spin on the details. The basics of the story are true. Ford expressed interest in purchasing Ferrari, and at the last minute, the Italian sports car maker rebuffed the sale.

This led the grandson of founder Henry Ford, Henry Ford II, to seek revenge. He decided the best way to do that was to take their most prized racing title, Le Mans. Ford failed to do this on its own, which led them to the relationship with Carroll Shelby.

Why Do Ferrari Supercars Sound So Good?

One feature that makes Ferraris so well-loved is their unique roar. The sound vibrates through your body like a pure expression of pleasure in the elite engineering that went into building these powerful machines.

Ferrari crafts that throaty rumble that delights the senses on purpose. Unlike other manufacturers that cheat and use loudspeakers or amplifiers to create the engine sound, Ferrari is a purist that does it through tuning and acoustics. It’s this commitment to authenticity that produces a quality sound that speaks to drivers.

What Is Ferrari’s Logo?

The current Ferrari logo features a yellow (color of Modena) rectangular shield with three stripes in red, white, and green (Italian flag) at the top and the Ferrari name at the bottom. Featured in the center is the black prancing stallion that’s instantly recognizable with the name Ferrari.

The prancing horse dates back far beyond the formation of Ferrari. It was first used by the Royal Piedmont Regiment in 1692, one of the most glorious calvary outfits in Italy. The prancing stallion was then painted onto fighter planes by pilots in WWI.

By the time Enzo Ferrari created his logo, the stallion was a symbol of bravery and speed. It only made sense for it to become the symbol of Scuderia Ferrari “Ferrari Stable”, the first racing car workshop that was a subsidiary under Alfa Romeo.

Can Ferrari Employees Own a Ferrari?

If you work for Ferrari, you cannot buy a brand new car fresh from the factory floor. The only exception is their Formula 1 drivers. While this rule may sound a bit unfair, it’s done for two important reasons.

The first is to preserve the prestige and glamour of the brand. The second is to ensure that those with the ability to buy the cars are able to. Even then, having boatloads of money and clout won’t be enough to get you one of their special limited edition cars.

Where Are Ferraris Built?

Maranello, Italy is the home of Ferrari’s factory and museum. Those that are interest in test driving a Ferrari can do so in Maranello. For about 70 minutes you’ll enjoy a once in a lifetime experience. Get behind the wheel of a luxury car and admire the stunning landscape of the Modena hill and unique locations around Maranello.

What Celebrities Are Banned From Buying a Ferrari?

There are several celebrities that have been banned from buying a Ferrari. These are people that are either blocked completely from purchasing a Ferrari or were deemed “unworthy” after their application to be put on the short list to purchase a special edition car.


He vinyl wrapped his 458 Italia in an offensive rainbow motif complete with Nyan cat tribute badges.

Chris Harris

Ferrari took Harris off of their list of journalists entitled to loaner cars when he decided to write a less than complimentary article about the company. He claimed Ferrari optimized their test cars for magazine performance tests. While this sounds scandalous, it’s a common practice for manufacturers. However, Ferrari didn’t appreciate him pointing the fact out.

Bill Ceno

This gentleman has bought four limited-edition Ferraris used. Some of them were double their original price when bought new. Yet despite this obvious interest and financial means, Ferrari excluded him from the coveted limited edition list. He claims he wasn’t willing to play the politics game, and therefore, was excluded. He’s not worried, though; he plans to keep buying used.


He leased a Ferrari 458 Spider and then failed to pay. The company leasing the vehicle sued him for $45,000 for the balance owed on the lease.

Preston Henn

Despite owning over 18 Ferraris and sending in a one million dollar check, Henn was not deemed worthy enough for the exclusive list. He’s a former racing driver and a multi-millionaire, so he was offended when he didn’t make the list. His response was to sue Ferrari for over $75,000, claiming damage to his reputation. Needless to say, he won’t be making any future lists.

Who Are Ferrari’s Competitors?

The most commonly mentioned automaker is Lamborghini. However, there are several other sport and luxury car manufacturers that compete with Ferrari. These include Audi, Aston Martin Lagonda, Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Ford Motor, McLaren Technology Group, Bugatti, and Porsche Automobil Holding.

Experience the Italian Ferrari Passion

Are you ready to experience the beauty and performance of a Ferrari? These elegant machines may be out of most of our price ranges, but that doesn’t mean you’ll never get behind the wheel of one. Give yourself a treat and rent one for the day. Or check out a sports car driving experience and have a professional show you how to get the most out of that powerful engine.

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