The excitement in Modena is revving up for the opening of the new Museo Casa Enzo Ferrari. Named after the local legend who founded the Ferrari company in 1929, the museum, which cost about €18m to construct, opens to the public on Saturday March 10. It aims to relate the story not only of Ferrari but also of motorsport in Modena, which itself has a claim to being the capital of motor racing.
The Grand Prix-hosting Aerautodromo Circuit and the Mille Miglia (described by Enzo as “the world’s greatest road race”) are both documented, as are figures such as Sergio Scaglietti (who worked with Enzo on some of the best-loved early Ferrari designs, and who only died late last year), Medardo Fantuzzi and (Enzo’s friendly rival) Vittorio Stanguellini, plus famous marques Maserati, Pagani, De Tomaso and Alfa Romeo.
The museum is built around and incorporates the house in which Enzo was born in 1898, together with his original workshop. Many of the visitors who will surely flock here will be the devoted Tifosi, who already know about the origins of the marque, but for those who don’t, the permanent exhibition in the house, which covers Ferrari’s life and shows unpublished documents, will bring them up to speed – on his childhood, his début as a driver, the establishment of the Scuderia Ferrari and the ensuing successes on global circuits.
Alongside is a vast (about 5,000sq m), breathtakingly modern building in the well-known, eye-popping Cavallino yellow. Designed by London-based Future Systems, it has an aluminium-panel roof built in the style of a car bonnet, with skylights “reminiscent of the air intakes of a racing car”, and will house an enviable collection of Italian-brand cars, displayed as works of art, plus a classroom with digital-documentation centre, conference and projection rooms, a shop and a coffee bar.
Central to the museum is the history of the decades of great competition between Ferrari and Maserati – the prancing horse and the trident. The two were finally united in 1997, when Ferrari bought a 50 per cent stake in Maserati, taking it over completely in 1999. Now Maserati belongs to the Fiat Group, which has already produced a tribute to the Ferrari in Fiat 500 form – the Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari – and has just launched the 695 Tributo Maserati at the Geneva Auto Show. It seems you really can’t keep an Italian stallion down.