Edited by Gianni Cancielleri
Haynes, £50.00. ISBN 1 85960 444 7
There aren’t many books that I would feel comfortable forking out 50 pounds for… and this isn’t one of them. It’s not that Ferrari’s official tome to celebrate their golden jubilee is not as beautiful as the cars that roll of the Maranello production line – the cover of this 405-page book is a work of art in itself – but somehow I am left wanting.
In both design, picture selection, contributors and testimonials, editor Cancellieri has been handsomely rewarded. The book’s first section looks at the technological innovations that Ferrari brought to automotive engineering and is methodically outlined by renowned historian Karl Ludvigsen. Factual and detailed, it nevertheless lacks an element of introduction, diving straight into Ferrari’s concepts without much of a nod to the marque’s heritage.
Section two, Deeds and Days, seems to me a more sensible place to start this book. A cornucopia of breathtaking archive photos, drawings and diagrams, Ferrari’s history is spelt out simply and benefits greatly from the scattering of mini-features looking at – and talking to – the main players. Froilan Gonzalez talks frankly about his time driving the Prancing Horse, and even recalls signing an autograph for a wee 12-year-old by the name of Jackie Stewart.
The memories of some of Ferrari’s greatest drivers are without a doubt this book’s saving grace. The likes of Brooks, Gendebien, Frere, Hill, Surtees, Amon, Andretti, Regazzoni, Munari, Lauda, Reutemann, Scheckter and Mansell, to pick names at random, all remember their time at Ferrari and provide the flesh to what would otherwise be a rather thin work.
A final appendix listing every Ferrari ever built leaves you in no doubt as to the impact the firm has had on motoring and rnotorsport but, images aside, Ferrari 1947-1997 somehow manages to tear through the mystique. For a book officially sanctioned by the powers-that-be at Maranello, that comes as some surprise. If you are a dyed-in-the-wool Ferrari fan then this book is for you; if not, make sure you browse before you buy.