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The evolution of Ferrari's F1 steering wheel

In the 47 years since Ferrari made the enormous F1-63, the company has taken the car steering wheel from a simple circular apparatus to a full-on computer system that costs more than $150,000.

The F1 steering wheel made in 2008 Crave UK

Ah, the humble steering wheel--circular apparatus designed to maneuver modern land vehicles right or left, correct? Wrong. It may have started that way, but in Ferrari's hands, the Formula One steering wheel has evolved exponentially to become a full-on computer system that can cost upwards of 100,000 pounds (that's $156,400). Each.

During a recent trip to the Galleria Ferrari museum in Maranello, Italy, we had the opportunity to go hands on with several slices of F1 history. The first of these was the enormous wheel on the 1963 Ferrari 156 F1-63. This model had a circumference roughly as large as the moon and was built of wood and metal. If you were unfortunate enough to smack your head on one during an accident, it would leave quite a bruise. Not to mention a touch of internal hemorrhaging. Or a sprinkling of death.

Fast forward to 2008, and Ferrari had evolved its F1 steering wheel even further (see photo above). It had an LED display, but it also featured a strip of lights across the top that lit up in succession to indicate engine revs and the point at which the driver should change gear.

Read more of "Ferrari Formula One steering wheel's evolution in photos"--and see more pictures--at Crave UK.