MARANELLO - Ferrari's 50th anniversary turned out to be a national celebration in Italy.
The party lasted for 10 days - from 30 May to 8 June. Over 2,300 Ferrari cars, more than half a million people in Rome and hundreds of thousands more in Florence, Siena, Modena and Maranello took part in the festivities.
Enthusiastic Ferrari owners traveled with their cars from Europe, the US, Australia and New Zealand.
For nostalgic reasons, the celebration began with a run through the streets of Rome.
On 11 May 1947, Ferrari entered its first race with the 125S. Two weeks later, on the Caracalla road circuit in Rome, Franco Cortese took the 125S to the first Ferrari victory.
'Maybe the idea to come to Rome was a little crazy,' said Ferrari President Luca Cordero di Montezemolo. 'But this was the occasion to see again - all together - all the people that made Ferrari a myth, a legend, everyone's dream.'
The party ended with a parade of the most exclusive and expensive Ferraris through Modena, near the Maranello factory.
One special celebrant was Fiat Honorary Chairman Gianni Agnelli. Fiat owns 90 percent of Ferrari, and Agnelli is a long-time 'Ferraristi.'
'I had many Ferraris in my life,' he said. 'Several were special, one-off units, but right now I do not own one. My first Ferrari was a 1949 166 MilleMiglia Barchetta by Touring. The strangest was probably the 365P with three seats in line and the driver in the middle.'
Agnelli called Enzo Ferrari, who died in 1988 at age 90, 'a man rich with fantasy. He was also overbearing. He had a great knowledge of the people in the racing business. He had pure passion for technical innovation.'
Fiat took over Ferrari's production car operations in 1969, but Enzo Ferrari personally ran the Formula One team until his very last days.
'I never had an argument with him,' said Agnelli. 'Firstly, because production cars were our business. Secondly, because racing cars were his business and it was almost impossible for me even to say a single world on the race side.'
Paolo Cantarella, Fiat SpA managing director, described a Ferrari as 'a coupe, designed by Pininfarina or Touring Superleggera.'
For Ferrari designer Sergio Pininfarina, 'Ferrari is not only design and beauty, but also engines and chassis. From the very beginning, Ferrari showed to the world Italians were good also in these sectors.'
Piero Ferrari, son of Enzo, owns 10 percent of the shares. He is the Ferrari vice-chairman now. He does not remember exactly when his father put him in a Ferrari.
'I do not remember either the year, or the car,' he said. 'But for sure it was a Berlinetta, maybe a Le Mans or a MilleMiglia. I was just a kid and he sat me on the central tunnel, behind the gear lever.
'The passenger seat was occupied by Peppino, his chief mechanic, who was always with him when there was a new car to test.
'My father was always driving fast. He was unable to drive slowly, gently.
'I think it was part of his character: he was always rushing, he always wanted to arrive first. Or sooner.
'One evening, we were testing a new car and he was driving very fast. He was nervous, because he was accelerating, but white lights in the rear view mirror were getting closer to us. He said me: 'Look to see who is able to follow us...' I looked behind. The white lights were just the reflections of the moon.'