What makes a Ferrari, a Ferrari?

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Faster, more comfortable, smoother and more efficient—Ferrari’s new Portofino hasn’t changed much in concept, but it’s better than the California T in just about every way. This is Ferrari’s most important car for key reasons, starting with the revenue stream, and it’s an obvious indicator how the little company in Maranello (and maybe its audience) has changed the last 25 years.

The important things are still here, of course: impressive power-to-weight ratio, crazy-high specific output, studied aerodynamics, Italian design and flair. There are new pieces of technology, too, though they aren’t always visible to the naked eye.


If there is one thing the Ferrari name is synonymous with, it’s speed; and over the course of the past 70 years, the Italian marque has managed to keep it that way. The reason that used Ferrari, such as HR Owen, reputation as a blindingly fast car has never wavered is, perhaps, because its origins were in motor racing.

The very first Ferrari out of the factory doors was the 125 S, built by Enzo Ferrari specifically to win races. Ferrari himself was a racecar driver up until 1931, when he left the circuit as a result of the impending birth of his son Alfredo, better known as Dino. After World War II, in 1945, Ferrari began work on designing his first car and, just two years later, he takes the very first one with the official Ferrari badge – the 125 S – for a test drive around the streets of Maranello.

Public opinion of the company has also changed over the years, according to Ferrari historian Marcel Massini.

“Today it’s probably regarded more as a luxury carmaker than a sports car manufacturer,” he told ABC News, adding, “The factory clearly wants younger clients, people that will continue to buy cars for the next 40 years.”

Al DeLauro, a former president and chairman of the Ferrari Club of America and a longtime Ferrari owner, said the 6,600-member club has seen more women and non-motorsports enthusiasts join the organization in recent years.

“Ferrari is taking action to be more appealing to a broader demographic,” he told ABC News. “Everyone is doing an SUV. That’s what a whole bunch of the buying public wants. There are commercial considerations.”

DeLauro, who drives a 2008 430 Scuderia, said he was on board with a hybrid Ferrari if it still provided “the visceral smack that a Ferrari always does.”

“Hybrids are a clever way of taking advantage of a trend in modern society,” he noted. “Electrification is part of our future and present.”

The company plans to list the shares under the ticker “RACE.”

This filing allows Ferrari to market the shares. We’ll update when we know the date of the IPO.

As Business Insider’s Bryan Logan reported last month, the luxury exotic automaker has been inching up to the IPO starting line in the months after its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission in October last year.

Bloomberg reported in July that UBS Bank would be among the institutions overseeing Ferrari’s debut on the New York Stock Exchange.

Ferrari has a storied legacy in high-performance motoring. The vehicle range now features six models, some of which are available in various configurations.

Price makes the client

It’s an expensive car. No way around it. However, it has the desired effect. Only rich people buy Ferrari’s. And that gives the brand a touch of exclusivity, luxury, wealth and of course a bit of snobbishness. This creates a feeling in those who can’t afford one that can be only being fulfilled with Ferrari merchandise. Eyewear, perfumes, clothes, cellphones, portable computers and even versions of other cars.

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