>> Ferrari of Silicone Valley. You've gotta like those words together. That's my kind of car tech story. It's the sixtieth anniversary of Ferrari's existence. It was 1947 when these cars first made their debut on the world stage and they've never left the spotlight since. Let's go inside and take a look at some old, some new and some tech.
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Starting in the 50's and I start there because frankly you won't recognize 40's Ferrari's as Ferrari's. But 50's you definitely start to see the look. '52, '53 we get the 342 America. Longer wheel base to make frankly more leg room for big old Americans. They pushed the 60 degree V-12 4.1 liter, a little bit forward in the car, giving it a longer nose. The horsepower was pretty modest in those days, about 220 stock, up to 300 if you really had it tuned. Early 60's brings us what many say is the definitive, most collectible, most desirable Ferrari GT ever. 250 GTO. This car's worth about 15 million dollars. Now the vehicle is very spartan inside. You also see a very early instance of a 5 speed manual gear box and a very prominent gate. Which brings us to the 70's, the early 70's to be specific and here is the Daytona Spider. If I had to have one, 4.4 liter V-12, about 350 horsepower. Up front there was a Plexiglas headlight bar that was only there for one year because US regulations mandated it go away and the pop up headlights appeared for the remainder of the run. Underneath the car, the first use of a fiberglass tub in a production consumer Ferrari. The 1980's gave us the first Ferrari super car and here it is, the 288 GTO. Looks like a 308 kinda, but it's not. 2.8 liter, mid engine, V-8, dual overhead cam, two turbos, inner cooled all in 400 horsepower. Zero to 60 in 4.8, 190 top end for the speed. Despite the fact that it was built for group B racing homologation, it has lots of creature comforts. Check it out. I see air conditioning in there, AM/FM, cassette was also a factory option, also has electric power windows. This car represents the 1990's. The mid-90's F50, representing the fiftieth anniversary of Ferrari that was then very close. Under the hood, if you can call that a hood, is a 4.7 liter V-12, 5 valves per cylinder, that's interesting, 520 horsepower, zero to 60 in 3.7, well over 215 miles per hour top speed. The engine is a stressed member, it's part of the frame. Without it, the car's kinda jiggly. Now inside, lots of carbon fiber, that was really a new idea in the mid-90's and that signifies the fact this car also has a complete carbon fiber tub and composite body panels. The instruments began to get high tech too. A combination of analog and digital gages on this vehicle. Which brings us finally to the year 2000, our last installment on the historical Ferrari's and what a way to end. Here is the Enzo. Under glass is the motor, 6 liter V-12 of course, cranked up to a painful 11.2 to 1 compression ratio. This thing is a high strung motor. That's how you get 650 horsepower without turbos, blowers or tricks. This is the Manitino, the steering wheel based, computer oriented race control. Across the top of the wheel, if this thing was running, you'd have LED's showing you the higher RPM's. They start blinking at 5500 on up to the red line near 7000. Of course the paddle shifters are mounted here. There's no room for a radio, there are no electric windows in this thing. It's got cranks. All in the interest of simplicity, lightweight and going fast. You know, it's easy to get jaded about Ferrari's. Let's face it, one drives by and you think oh yeah, some dot com guy's ipo paid off, but when you're in the presence of the originals, you realize the heritage of the modern cars and it really starts to ring true.
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