In 1997, Maranello celebrated fifty years since the foundation of the Prancing Horse company.
It was in 1947 that the first Ferrari ever built, the 125S, left the Maranello factory. To celebrate this event, in May 1997 two thousand Ferrari cars drove across Italy from Rome to Maranello.
The long parade’s starting-point was carefully chosen: it was at the Rome Grand Prix, on the Caracalla circuit, that Ferrari achieved its first victory on 25 May 1947, with the 125S driven by the team’s first racing and test driver, Franco Cortese. Only a few weeks earlier, in response to the disappointing result in the race on the Piacenza circuit, Enzo Ferrari had commented: “a failure, but a promising one”. The victory in Rome, on the other hand, marked the start of a long series of wins on the circuits: in 1947 itself, Ferrari won half the grand prix races in the championship.
The road from Rome to Maranello in that fiftieth anniversary year thus symbolised and represented the history and evolution of the Ferrari myth in its first half century. The long parade in 1997 starred historic cars owned by collectors from all over the world, such as the GTO, the 250 Le Mans, the California Spyder, the 250 GT and the Daytona. An amazing spectacle, culminating in the procession around the Fiorano circuit and the big celebration on Piazza Libertà in Maranello with the company’s top management and the town council in attendance, and shouts of “Happy Birthday Ferrari” as the cake was cut.