Celebrate 70 Years of Ferrari at The Design Museum

Ferrari: Under the Skin launches this November at the Design Museum in celebration of the 70th anniversary of Ferrari

Ferrari: Under the Skin is a major exhibition launching at The Design Museum on 15 November 2017, examining the fascinating history of one of motoring’s most iconic brands. The show, created in collaboration with Ferrari, celebrates 70 years of precision design, from the launch of the very first Ferrari car in 1947 to the latest car in production.

But it also focuses and creates a rare insight into the life of Enzo Ferrarri, paying tribute to his passion for racing, something that ultimately gave rise to the brand. Andrew Nahum has worked as a historian of technology and design and is now taking the time to be a guest curator at the Design Museum for this exhibition.

‘We’ve been working on it for two years now. The genesis of the idea was the collection of Ronald Stern who has produced a very extraordinary archive of Ferrari documents and memorabilia,’ explains Nahum.

‘The suggestion was floated that we should use it as a basis for the exhibition and that’s where it all started, but it expanded to become a broader show that wasn’t only focused on the archives and memorabilia, but also goes into specific Ferrari history and design.

A big feature is the study of Ferrari design and the hidden techniques used within it that are not widely seen anywhere outside of the industry.’

The first Ferrari was an adventurous and high tech project and a bold move for Ferrari himself

So what exactly can people expect from this long awaited show? ‘The entrance to the museum takes a look at Enzo Ferrari and his extraordinary life, illuminated largely through the archives and the relics,’ explains Nahum.

‘Then we move onto look at the first Ferrari and we display that car with a lot of imagery of the factory in 1947. It was an adventurous and high tech project and a bold move for Ferrari himself – it shows all of this and it is quite fascinating.’

The son of a manufacturer in Modena, Ferrari became a racing driver in 1919 and competed for Alfa Romeo. In 1947, he launched his own car – a new, complex 12-cylinder engine designed entirely with performance in mind – a bold move in post-war Italy.

His cars soon started to win races and attract a clientele of wealthy and famous patrons, which in turn built the reputation for the brand.

Discover Ferrari’s subtle automobile design techniques

It seems that the focus of the exhibition 70 years on is, in many ways, to surprise people and show elements of Ferrari history that nobody knows about. After all, its story has been one of the great adventures of the industrial age.

‘It represents an absorbing case study in design and development,’ continues Nahum. ‘Ferrari uses the subtle and often unseen techniques of automobile design, but with the utmost care and absolute precision, so the exhibition provides an insight into the history and practice of the whole private world of automotive design.

Most car makers invest in racing to promote their cars. Ferrari simply wanted to make the best and the fastest

‘We show historic models in wood, wire and a clay model, which is a current technique in the automotive industry – every Ferrari is modelled full-scale in clay,’ says Nahum. ‘I think that this is something that no-one realises is used within car design and I am excited to be showing this to people, especially those from the early days.’

There’s the opportunity to see important cars in the flesh, such as one that won the British Grand Prix in 1952 driven by Alberto Ascari, a sports racing car that won the Goodwood TT and a selection of client cars.

‘The message really is that Ferrari had the main objective to make cars that won races,’ says Nahum. ‘It’s the opposite of most car makers who invest in racing to draw attention to and promote their cars. Ferrari simply wanted to make the best and the fastest.’

Ferrari: Under the Skin runs from 15 November until 15 April 2018; 


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