Cars

Restoring Perfection

Restoring Perfection

We follow the artisans of the Ferrari Classiche division as they restore a magnificent Testa Rossa
Words

Keith Bluemel

Classic Ferrari cars are a fundamental feature of the marque's identity, and they occupy, quite literally, a very special place right at the very heart of Maranello. The specialist Ferrari Classiche division is situated on historic ground within the original Ferrari factory itself. Inaugurated in July 2006,  its skilled artisans are charged with repairing and restoring out-of-production Prancing Horse models, preparing them for the highly-demanding certification programme that was also introduced that same year.

The certification process testifies that a car and its components meet the original specifications as when it originally left the factory, and culminates with the owner receiving a ‘Certificate of Authenticity’, commonly known as the Red Book. Recently, a ‘passport’ system has been introduced, whereby the restored car is then inspected on a regular basis at an authorised Classiche Centre, to confirm that it continues to comply with the original certification, thus preserving the integrity of both the car and of the certification process itself.

The 1958 Testa Rossa in its heyday, and stripped to its shell in the workshop  <em>Foto: Angelo Bianchetti, Andrea Ceccarelli<br /></em>
The 1958 Testa Rossa in its heyday, and stripped to its shell in the workshop Foto: Angelo Bianchetti, Andrea Ceccarelli

In January 2016, Ferrari Classiche set about creating a global network of such centres, located at authorised Ferrari dealerships, in order to deepen the dealers’ involvement with their clientele. Access to the Classiche restoration programme is available to any owner of a Ferrari road car that is over 20 years of age as well as to owners of all F1, sports and sports prototype competition models. The highly specialised department boasts a dedicated workshop, its own offices and archive facilities, forming a completely self-contained unit within the Maranello factory premises.

The division’s craftsmen – who can also carry out total engine and transmission rebuilds in-house – have full access to all the production model facilities, such as the foundry, machine shops and upholstery department, as well as to all the official external suppliers. The extensive archive, which includes original build sheets, parts manuals and component drawings, allows artisans to look up the original components and features of each individual vehicle. This enables them to inform clients of what was original to their particular car, meaning that any feature no longer conforming to the original specifications – due to changes during maintenance or repair over the years – can be corrected.

Before/after the bare body is fitted to chassis frame <em>Foto: Angelo Bianchetti, Andrea Ceccarelli</em>
Before/after the bare body is fitted to chassis frame Foto: Angelo Bianchetti, Andrea Ceccarelli

The certification process itself is carried out by an independent committee within Maranello, and the importance that the marque gives to this service is evidenced by the fact that it is headed by none other than Piero Ferrari, Ferrari Vice Chairman. The committee, made up of nine members from different parts of the automobile sector, decides whether or not an individual car warrants certification, and determines what has to be done to attain it when it doesn't measure up.

The objective of any restoration is to retain as much as possible of the original car and its components, even though this is often not the most cost-effective solution. Only when items are too deteriorated or too badly damaged to be repaired, does Ferrari Classiche advise clients to opt for replacement parts, and then only with those matching the original design specifications and criteria.

<address>Despite its age, the original panelwork needed very little new metal <em>Foto: Angelo Bianchetti, Andrea Ceccarelli</em>
Despite its age, the original panelwork needed very little new metal Foto: Angelo Bianchetti, Andrea Ceccarelli

To this end Maranello’s restoration unit has its own re-manufacturing programme to supply the necessary parts to original factory specifications, thus maintaining  authenticity of the vehicle. Not only useful for replacing lost or damaged items, this programme also has the bonus of being able to provide spare units – a complete engine, say, or a gearbox – for clients who want to use their cars in competition but are understandably afraid of damaging the original unit.

Since its inception Ferrari Classiche has fully restored over 120 cars – including several of the Prancing Horse’s most iconic models, such as the 250 Testa Rossa, 250 GT SWB Berlinetta, 250 GTO, 250 LM, and a 412P – and has certified over 5,000 vehicles. Unsurprisingly, there is a lengthy waiting list for its dedicated artisanal services.

Ferrari