One of the many benefits of being a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers is their organising of trips to places of automotive interest. Last month it was the turn of the Design Museum in Kensington and we were guests of our gracious hosts, Ferrari UK.
As part of the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of Ferrari it was thought a good idea to display this most cherished of Italian marques at the Design Museum in London. The angle would be looking at Ferrari, the cars, the brand and even the mystique from a design perspective. Thus was “Ferrari: Under the Skin” conceived.
The myth has now overtaken the reality, like a motoring version of Hollywood, it creates and, perhaps satisfies, dreams of those who can afford it.
Ferrari is now a big, profitable part of the Italian economy and also the primary component in the dna of Formula One, no matter what those who say that it could live comfortably without Maranello might assert.
There is an examination of the way that Ferraris were crafted down the decades, from the early days…………
There was a look at how Ferrari impacted the lives of celebrities and stars………….Peter Sellers enjoys the company of a Dino…….and Britt Ekland in the courtyard of the old factory at Maranello.
Our party included the President of the Guild, Nick Mason, captured here in front of his F40.
Evidence of the visual influence of Ferrari was on display all over the walls.
Even a poster for that most unlikely of best supporting actors, the Ferrari 512S, from Steve McQueen’s epic, Le Mans.
In the final analysis it is the cars that we come to pay our respects to, not the collateral material, fascinating as that is.
So here are few personal highlights. This 250 GTO, now owned by Sir Anthony Bamford, has a rich competition heritage with two finishes at the Sebring 12 Hours, victories at Kyalami and Luanda in Angola, plus a fourth place overall in the 1962 Tour de France. It is a beautiful machine, now restored to the colours that it raced in originally for the first owner David Piper.
Unique is a much misunderstood and misused word but it applies to this Testarossa Spider, the only example built by the factory. I looked at this elegant GT a while back HERE
Perhaps the most iconic car on display was #2119GT, the 250 GT SWB first owned by Rob Walker and driven to victory in the 1960 Tourist Trophy at Goodwood by the incomparable Stirling Moss. Moss repeated this success at Brand Hatch later that month. He rounded off the season with victory in Nassau Tourist Trophy against very strong opposition. The car was then acquired by Tommy Sopwith’s Equipe Endeavour, with Mike Parkes as the lead driver for 1961. Several victories ensued and the year was rounded off by a fine second place in Tourist Trophy at Goodwood, only being beaten by Moss in the latest Rob Walker 250 GT SWB. This most handsome of Ferraris is now owned by Ross Brawn who is generous with showing it to the fans at events such as that at the Design Museum.
While we were at the Design Museum it was announced that the concept of the exhibition will go on the road, to Europe and North America. The run at Kensington comes to an end in the next week or so. So if you missed out on seeing it in London, I strongly suggest you catch it if you can.
John Brooks, April 2018