Whether or not the world at large knew it 70 years ago, the 1947 Ferrari 125 S was the start of something spectacular. Yes, this was the first production road car to wear the Ferrari badge. As you may know, Enzo Ferrari had been working his magic on Alfa Romeos since the late 1920s, so he had plenty of experience when it finally came time to create his own car.
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With a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout, the 125 S had sporting intentions from the get-go, and Enzo would have it no other way. Power came from one of the famous Colombo engines: the 125 V12. Displacing a mere 1.5 litres, the engine produced an impressive 118 bhp. Gioacchino Colombo, borrowed from Alfa Romeo, designed the engine, which would go one to be used in the Tipo 159 and 166 cars as well. Translating that power to the road was a 5-speed manual gearbox, as per Enzo’s demands.
With a feather-light 650 kg kerbweight in tow, the 125 S was probably quite a lot livelier than the 118 bhp figure would suggest. Unfortunately, very few people ever had the joy of driving an original 125 S, as only 2 were produced. That’s right, 2 total cars; talk about a limited-edition! So, we can only guess at how exactly these cars accelerated and handled, but some enterprising individuals have recreated the cars, and if they are brave enough, they can attempt to reach the claimed top speed of 130 mph.
Even though there were only a couple examples of the car, Enzo being Enzo, they were put on the track soon after production was complete. Results were mixed at first, but Ferrari was able to pick up a respectable six wins out of the 14 races the 125 S took part in during the 1947 season. Unfortunately, both cars were eventually destroyed and replaced by the 159 S later that same year.
Andy’s Thoughts on the Ferrari 125 S
I’m a dreamer. I develop so many ideas in my head each day, but very few of those follow through to reality. Admittedly most of the ideas are crap, but occasionally I have a moment of brilliance. If I say so myself. FerrariHub was one of those.
But many of my dreams don’t make it to the table because often my own fears kick in. Those little voices inside my head tell me I can’t do it, and so I don’t do it. I would imagine that Enzo too had his moments of doubt back in 1947, when he embarked on a solo career to build the best sports car in the world.
Every entrepreneur faces the same dilemmas, but it’s the successful ones who battle through and achieve greatness. When he left Alfa, he had to wait a number of years before he was able to launch the Ferrari 125 S, due to a non-competing clause. Once up and running he faced many challenges, from F1 failures, to financial challenges, to the death of his son Alfredo Ferrari. At any of these points he could have thrown down that spanner, and hung up that workshop coat to walk away. I’m sure at times he wanted to, but persisted.
Can you imagine if Enzo did not launch the Ferrari 125 S back in 1947? Perhaps today there would not be Lamborghini, Pagani, supercars, hypercars, or even F1 as we know it today. Enzo did so much more than just build cars. He shaped the entire industry to what it is today, and it all started with the humble little 1.5L V12 Ferrari 125 S.
Enzo Ferrari set out to build the best sports car in the world back in 1947. History shows he achieved that, and Ferrari have continued to do that ever since.
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