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FERRARI, THE 60TH BIRTHDAY OF A LEGEND

FERRARI, THE 60TH BIRTHDAY OF A LEGEND Rome - (Ign) - Over 5670 vehicles produced in 2006, with an increase of 4.8% on 2005, and turnover of €1.447bn, up by 12.3% on the previous year. These are the figures of a Ferrari that this year celebrates its 60th birthday, a birthday that finds the Black Colt in great shape. The company was established in 1947 by the engineer Enzo Ferrari, and was almost entirely taken over (85%) by the Fiat Group in 1989. On the occasion of its 60th birthday the company from Maranello in Italy organised a relay race of 10,000 Ferrari owners, which started in Abu Dhabi on 29 January to go round the world. It also produced 60 one models of the 612 Scaglietti, the top product in Ferrari's current range.

The story of the car producers from the Italian region of Emilia is divided into two parts: the first is linked to its founder, Enzo Ferrari, who died in 1988; the second is characterised by the chairmanship of Luca di Montezemolo, who arrived in the company in 1991. This is a phase which has seen the relaunch of the famous Reds with new marketing strategies, but with a constant company mission: to produce luxury and sports cars at the highest levels in terms of elegance and performance, in order to make the Black Colt a standard bearer for Italian products the world over, with results which are perhaps unique in the history of the world car industry. This has also been helped by victories in Formula 1 and a symbol, that of the rampant colt, which originated on an aeroplane from the First World War, which was given to Enzo Ferrari by the parents of Francesco Baracca, who was awarded a gold medal of the First World War. Ferrari placed it on a yellow shield, the colour of the city of Modena, and placed it on the boot of the cars, which left the factory in Maranello, still today the only place where GT Reds are designed and produced. Only the aluminium plates and bodywork are produced at the Carrozzeria Scaglietti plant in Modena.

From 1947 to the present day 100,000 Ferraris have been produced, of which 80,000 are still in circulation. This is a real record for a car manufacturer, which produces luxury sports cars. Ferrari at present has four models in production, two eight cylinder models (F430 and F430 Spider) and two 12-cylinder versions (612 Scaglietti and 599 GTB Fiorano), whose prices range from €156,300 for the F430 to €231,000 for the 612 Scaglietti. The firm from Maranello, with a turnover in 2006 of over €1.4bn also boasts an operating income of €183m. And the cars are also being launched on new markets. It is no coincidence that the 60th-birthday celebrations start in Abu Dhabi, where in 2009 a great Ferrari theme park will be opened, realised with an investment of $600m by Aldar Properties, a company owned by the investment fund Mubadala, which already holds 5% of Ferrari capital (the company is 85%-owned by the Fiat Group, 10% by Piero Ferrari and 5% by Mubadala, with a capital of 8m shares at €2.50 each). The park will cover an area of 250,000 square metres, including a highly modern circuit, which in 2009, after it has been approved by the boss of F1 Grand Prix racing, Bernie Ecclestone, will host the first Middle East Grand Prix.

But the difference between Ferraris and other sports cars is the continuous revaluation among collectors that makes the Reds from Maranello real gems. An example is the 250 GTO from 1962, which is worth over €10m. This is a phenomenon, which does not only regard the company's GT cars. Collectors also compete to have the F1 cars at the end of their careers. This is why at Maranello they have activated the 'Formula 1 Clients' service, which deals with the maintenance of around 200 one-seaters owned by collectors from all over the world, and gives them the opportunity to drive on the track in their own cars, which were once the protagonists of victorious races. Among these the record price was achieved by the F2004, the car driven by Schumacher, winner of 5 races and involved in the extraordinary Grand Prix accident at Monte Carlo. At the auction at Sotheby's in May 2005 the car was sold for €2.7m. For obvious reasons the name of the buyer was kept secret.

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