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Enzo Ferrari never intended to produce road cars when he formed Scuderia Ferrari in 1928 as a sponsor for amateur drivers headquartered in Modena. Ferrari prepared, and successfully raced, various drivers in Alfa Romeo cars until 1938, when he was hired by Alfa Romeo to head their motor racing department.In 1941, Alfa Romeo was confiscated by the fascist government of Benito Mussolini as part of the Axis Powers' war effort. Enzo Ferrari's division was small enough to be unaffected by this. Because he was prohibited by contract from racing for four years, the Scuderia briefly became Auto Avio Costruzioni Ferrari, which ostensibly produced machine tools and aircraft accessories. Also known as SEFAC (Scuderia Enzo Ferrari Auto Corse), Ferrari did in fact produce one race car, the Tipo 815, in the non-competition period. It was the first actual Ferrari car, but due to World War II it saw little competition. In 1943 the Ferrari factory moved to Maranello, where it has remained ever since. The factory was bombed by the Allies in 1944 and rebuilt in 1946, after the war ended, and included a works for road car production.

The first Ferrari road car was the 1947 125 S, powered by a 1.5 L V12 engine; Enzo Ferrari reluctantly built and sold his automobiles to fund Scuderia Ferrari.In 1988, Enzo Ferrari oversaw the launch of the Ferrari F40, the last new Ferrari to be launched before his death later that year, and arguably one of the most famous supercars ever made. From 2002 to 2004, Ferrari introduced the Enzo, its fastest model at the time, in honor of the company's founder: Enzo Ferrari. It was initially offered to loyal and reoccuring customers, each of the 399 made (minus the 400th which was donated to the Vatican for charity) had a price tag of $650,000 apiece.