The name Scaglietti sits above the entrance to the Ferrari Body Welding Plant, a permanent reminder of Sergio Scaglietti, one of Enzo’s closest collaborators and whose workshop he bought in 1977.
Together the two men combined technological advancements with aesthetic ingenuity to produce a raft of Ferrari icons, including the GTO, the Monza and the Testa Rossa.
Today, that spirit lives on within the Body Welding Plant, with the workshop constantly seeking that sweet spot between artisan craftmanship and robot automation.
The pace is certainly quicker than it was in Scaglietti’s time. The assembly line manages a large number of cars per day, divided into V8 (and now the V6 296 GTB) and V12 models. Each car passes through several stations, although the levels of automation involved in the production process differs slightly, depending on cylinder size.
The three main stages within the Body Welding Plant are known as Lastratura, Ferratura and Revisione. The first stage involves taking the basic chassis and welding into place the structural parts of side panels and roof. The second stage begins with a review of the welding and cleaning of any surfaces, before the addition of moving parts such as the doors and front hood. The third stage is final quality control, where the car is washed and placed under special lighting to verify tolerances (for some models there can only be a 3.5-millimetre gap between door and side panel for example), and to check the aesthetic surfaces after welding.
All of the cars on the assembly line must pass through these three stages, however there is one big difference between the V8 and V12 process, and that can be found within in an area known as OP40, which houses sophisticated robots. For the V8 models, all rear side panel assembly is performed by these robots, which work across two floors, locating the right parts depending on the chassis and then welding them into place.
By contrast, there is no automation in the V12 welding process. It is done by specialists, requiring precision aesthetic skills that differ from all the other welding done in the workshop. The aim is to ensure that when attached, the body work becomes one complete finished form, rather than the appearance of two pieces joined together.
And it is this manual approach which perhaps defines the artisan dedication of the Body Welding which has existed for generations. In Scaglietti’s time, the manual sounds of steady hammers and metal presses in action marked the arrival of another Ferrari icon; today it is the precise aesthetic work, done by hand, not robot, that makes the difference.