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A new exhibition tells the marque’s story through the eyes of innovation
Words: Ross Brown

There’s a delicate art to motoring innovation. It’s a fluid process, a continual appraisal of craftmanship where racing success and game changing machines are a natural by-product of relentless workshop evolution.   

For Ferrari, that sense of innovation has been imbedded within its DNA since the arrival of the first true Prancing Horse, the 125 S, in 1947. 

Watch the Prancing Horses that shaped the course of automotive history

In truth of course, that 1,500cc V12 debut was much more than just a car, it was Enzo Ferrari’s manifesto, a statement of innovative intent that would lead to revolutionary models and futuristic designs.

And now, a new exhibition at Museo Enzo Ferrari  in Modena celebrates the pantheon of game-changing Prancing Horses that have lit up the world for three quarters of a century. 

The museum exhibition celebrates 75 years of innovation through game changing cars, from the original 1947 Ferrari 125 S to today's four seater, four-door Purosangue

Divided into three areas – design, technology and performance – the museum showcases some of the most significant cars in Ferrari history, relaying the Maranello marque’s story through the concept of innovation. 

Design is perhaps best embodied by the Pinin Farina 375 MM (The MM stands for the famous Italian road race, the Mille Miglia), commissioned by Italian film director Roberto Rossellini for Ingrid Bergman. The Prancing Horse that would set the blueprint for Maranello road cars is also here – the aluminium-bodied 166 MM which was the first car ever to be called a Barchetta.    

A prime example of Ferrari’s technological innovation is the 1976 400 Automatic, the first 2+2 Grand Tourer to arrive with an automatic gearbox, while the Ferrari F1-89 on display is the first ever single-seater to adopt an electrohydraulic gearbox.  

Housed within the Performance section of the exhibition, the 6.3 litre V12 Ferrari FXX was the first special series Prancing Horse designed specifically for track

In the Performance section, visitors can admire the 1973 365 GT4 BB, the first mid-engined GT Berlinetta with an original 180° V12, and 2005’s Ferrari FXX, the first model in a Prancing Horse special series designed specifically for track use.

But it’s perhaps the game-changing Ferrari at the culmination of the tour that epitomises not just the story of innovation, but the sheer distance it has come from that first two-seater racing car. 

Like the 125 S, the Purosangue is powered by a thoroughbred V12 engine, and just like that little racing car of yester-year, the first four-door, four-seater Prancing Horse has changed the automotive game once again. For now, at least.