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This Is Not a Ferrari

Being one of the world’s most desired brands has a downside – criminal elements and charlatans try to copy your products. A new Maranello initiative aims to give loyal Ferraristi everywhere the chance to help the good fight against the conniving counterfeiters
Words: Daniele Bresciani / Photographs: Andrea Frazzetta
When Michael Mann decided to make a film dedicated to Enzo Ferrari he found himself confronted by a secondary task quite apart from the complex filming and directing: how to realise the most realistic copies possible of cars dating from 1957. Those who have seen the finished film witnessed these cinematic cars and admired them as though they were real Ferrari. But from the very start it was known that these individual cars would be destroyed soon after filming was finished, a process shown by the photographs exclusively published on these pages.

In 2022, seven replica cars were made for the movie about Enzo Ferrari's life. This is what happened to them after filming ended…

But the Ferrari brand is not always imitated with such laudable or artistic aims as those of Michael Mann. There are others who use it, or indeed abuse it, illegally for economic gain, or for simple notoriety.

Consequently, the custodianship of the brand is a battle that is fought daily at Maranello. In the first instance by the company’s Legal Office. “Ferrari signifies luxury, innovation, Italian-ness,” says Carlo Daneo, General Legal Counsel of Ferrari. “And, unfortunately, it is almost taken for granted that there’ll be someone attempting to exploit it, tying themselves to us without having any right to do so. It may sound incredible but, quite apart from the false accessories such as T-shirts and hats, there are people who ingeniously realise fake Ferrari cars, of course to be sold at very high prices.”

From left: the methodic destruction of the glass-fibre bodywork of the replica ‘Ferrari 335 S’; gouging the famous symbol from the same replica; a mechanic dismantles the replica Ferrari 801; various removed parts

“The counterfeiters are becoming ever more capable,” Daneo explains. “There are those who use real Ferrari chassis to construct over it the body of a model of greater value. Some vehicles are realised so well that they end up going to auction and it is our task to report them to the auction houses so that they are taken off the market. And our objective is always the same: it is not always enough to take them off the market, we want all the fakes to be destroyed. And to attain that end result we try wherever possible to find an agreement with the counterpart, so as not to have to resort to initiating a legal case.”

But sometimes the party in possession of a fake Ferrari has no intention, originally, of demolishing it, especially when they have spent a not inconsiderable sum to acquire it. “At that point”, explains Daneo, “it’s up to us to rigorously apply the rules and make the buyer understand the legal consequences that they are facing.”

This is true not only in relation to counterfeit cars, but also for the independently modified vehicles. “Whoever does so must understand that such a car will never be admitted to official events, and that, if the modifications have compromised the car’s technical aspects, they may not be covered by the relevant guarantee. In extreme cases, they could even compromise its homologation for use on the road.

Above: twenty expert restorers worked for four months to prepare the bodywork of the seven replica cars, seen gathered here post-filming to be readied for careful demolition

As well as the attempts at fake cars, there are also individuals who think they can deceive unwitting buyers by simply adding a badge to an object, even when the kind of item involved has absolutely nothing to do with Maranello. For example, the Ferrari symbol was recently found on a refrigerator...

Naturally the most frequently counterfeited objects are the more ordinary, less expensive ones. Whilst the Ferrari fashion collection belongs to the ultra-luxury sector and therefore makes life hard for any would-be counterfeiters, it is the merchandising sector covering accessories, hats, sunglasses, and replica Formula One T-shirts that is very often subject to being copied.

Above: the decisive, bitter end of a counterfeit Ferrari 360. To join the project, visit:

To this end, last year Ferrari established the Anti-Counterfeiting Reward Project. Paolo Lorenzi, Intellectual Property Senior Legal Counsel, explains the thinking behind the initiative. “This project is aimed at encouraging the reporting of instances of counterfeiting, with fakes being reported to us by anyone who wants to help us combat this phenomenon.”

Now, whoever registers with the Anti-Counterfeiting Reward Project can send in reports of suspected fakes. “Once our own checks confirm it, they will receive from us an official thank you for helping us in the fight against counterfeiting,” confirms Lorenzi, “and will receive a complementary Ferrari gadget too.” Reports arrive daily and verification is a major job. “But it’s a great satisfaction to see that so many people – from employees to fans – have taken to heart this important battle.”

Cover image: a scene from ‘Ferrari’, the 2023 film which closely collaborated with Ferrari Classiche to create exact replicas of 1957 Ferrari racing cars