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Inside the Factory: The Engine Assembly Plant

In the next of our Factory series we explore where the beating heart of every Ferrari is assembled
Words: Ross Brown
Film Editor: Oliver McIntyre

It’s inevitable that after 75 years of innovation, today’s Prancing Horses bear little resemblance to those that came before them in the middle of the last century. Modern road Ferraris are at the pinnacle of engineering advancement, utilizing a wealth of technology that has been hard-earned through seven decades at the forefront of open and closed wheel racing. 

And yet, no matter how advanced a car becomes, there are still certain core aspects that remain as true today as they did with the arrival of the first Ferrari, the 125 S, in 1947. Pistons for example, continue to provide power, even on the new hybrid Prancing Horses, and at the V8 station of the Engine Assembly Plant they still meticulously insert all the pistons of the daily production, following a precise series of operations formed from 75 years of craftmanship. 

Watch as 75 years of craftsmanship comes to life at the Engine Assembly Plant

Indeed, the working philosophy at the plant is “craftmanship assembly, automatic control”. In other words, people use human skill and judgement to build the engines, and the computers measure and analyze the data to ensure no mistakes are made. Robots also have another crucial role to play, working across areas that require relentless amounts of precise repeat operations, such as adding lubricant to the engine components. 


The people and their skills are fundamental for the engine assembly. The engine is the heart of the car. Combustion timings, camshaft phasers, turbos, kinetic motion, and new electric motors are just part of the complexities that ensure a Ferrari operates at the highest possible performance, and it’s impossible to create a completely automated process that can accommodate each and every intricacy. 


But once the engine is fully assembled there is one final station that only robots are allowed to operate: the cold test bench, which every single V8 Ferrari engine must both complete and pass.


The cold test is essentially a diagnostic test of a running engine, without the use of fuel and combustion, and the engine is turned by attaching an electric motor to the crankshaft. 


The aim is not to test performance (for that you need combustion) but to ensure that every engine component works within the limits of Ferrari acceptability, and internal and external sensors collect thousands of data parameters before the engine is deemed able to pass the test. 

The perfect conclusion to the Engine Assembly Plant’s philosophy of craftmanship assembly, automatic control