OFFICIAL FERRARI AND MASERATI IMPORTER AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND
European Automotive Imports Pty Ltd
FERRARI IN AUSTRALIA – 60 HIGH PERFORMANCE YEARS Celebrations open with a multi-million dollar Ferrari Parade
at the Australian Grand Prix lead by the new Ferrari 458 Spider Legendary supercar maker and the most successful team in Formula One, Ferrari, is celebrating 60 years in Australia this year and it will launch the celebrations with a multi-million dollar parade of 60 Ferraris at the Australian Grand Prix on Saturday 17 March.
The parade will be followed by events and celebrations across Australia featuring many of the most famous Ferraris the world has seen, including the very first Ferrari to arrive in Australia, a Ferrari 212 Export coupe, which landed in Melbourne in 1952, just a handful of years after Ferrari itself was founded.
“It is as much a sign of the burgeoning strength of the Ferrari legend as it is of Australia’s interest in high performance cars, that the first Ferrari arrived here so early in the history of the company,” says Kevin Wall, General Manager of Ferrari in Australia and New Zealand. “From the arrival of that first car to the latest models arriving this year, Ferrari has excited and enthralled road car and motorsport fans alike. Australian Ferrari owners are counted as amongst the most dedicated in the world and few places can match the excitement generated by a new model arriving in Australia or the passion of the Ferrari fans at the Australian Grand Prix.”
Ferrari owners from around Australia will gather with their cars at Albert Park just after dawn on Saturday 17 March in a special display area open to the public in the Legends Lane, allowing close-up viewing of many cars rarely seen in Australia.
Headlining the display and making its first ever appearance in Australia will be the Ferrari 458 Spider, alongside the newly launched Ferrari FF as well as the Ferrari California and Ferrari 458 Italia to complete the line-up of today’s Ferrari range. Marking Ferrari’s F1 heritage, there will be two classic Ferrari Formula One cars in the parade driven by their Australian owners; Ferrari’s limited edition supercars will be represented by the latest model, the Ferrari 599 GTO, as well as its predecessors, such as the Ferrari F40 in normal GTRE and LM forms; the mid-engine Ferraris will range from the original 246 GTS ‘Dino’, though the 308/328 and Testarossa that were TV stars in the 1980s to their V8 successors, the 355, 360 and 430. Classic Ferraris include the 365 GTB4, better known by its nickname, the Daytona, and the 365 GTS and 365 GT2.
“This is a unique event and very fitting for the 60th anniversary of Ferrari in Australia,” says Kevin Wall. “This display shows the breadth and depth of Ferrari ownership in Australia, it illustrates the lengths to which Australians will go to own the finest supercars in the world and the passion that drives them. For the many legions of Ferrari fans in Australia, this is a unique opportunity to see this gathering of Ferraris. The fact that it is occurring in Albert Park, during the Grand Prix only adds to the occasion and its historic significance, given the Ferraris that have raced here in past and which will be taking part in the 2012 Grand Prix.”
Ferrari in Australia – The History
Although Australia is about as far away from Europe as it is possible to get, Australian motoring enthusiasts were aware of the Ferrari legend long before there was ever a Ferrari car.
News travelled slowly to the other side of the world in the 1930s, but Australian newspapers had small news items on European motor racing. And, after several weeks of sea travel, magazines such as ‘Speed’ and ‘Motor Sport’ would arrive from England with more detailed stories.
So Aussie car enthusiasts knew of Enzo Ferrari who ran the Alfa Romeo team under his Scuderia Ferrari banner in grand prix racing after the Alfa factory withdrew from official participation.
The name Ferrari was synonymous with fast, exciting, red cars even before a car bearing that name first appeared in 1947.
It was to be five years after that before the first Ferrari appeared in Australia. Even then, the earliest arrivals were all destined for the race circuits.
About a quarter of a century would pass from the appearance in Modena of that first, 1947 model, Ferrari 166 Spider Corsa, before Ferrari road cars began to be sold in any real numbers in Australia. But from then on, the marque barely looked back.
Bill Lowe, who, in the 1950s, owned an industrial electrical switchgear company in Melbourne, was a motoring enthusiast who loved cars and had imported a French Lombard racing car to drive in the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island as far back as 1929.
Ferraris had captured his imagination from the outset, and he particularly loved the lean and mean styling of the 212 Export Coupe and its classic 2.6-litre V12 engine, built for races like the Mille Miglia and Le Mans 24 Hour Race.
When Lowe inquired about buying one, Ferrari was reluctant, because there was no Ferrari agent in Australia. So Lowe suggested he could become the Australian importer. A deal was done and Lowe got the agency and the car, which arrived in the middle of 1952.
Although he was then in his 70s, Lowe couldn’t resist giving his new pride and joy some competition outings, beginning with a third in class at the Rob Roy Hillclimb in November that same year. Soon afterwards, W H Lowe and Co Pty Ltd began advertising the car for sale, for 4600 pounds, a princely sum in those days. If he could sell it, he could buy himself another, later model Ferrari.
But Australia wasn’t ready for cars such as this. Those who could afford to race on the magnificent road circuits of the day would be interested, but the main racing of the day was for open-wheel cars. Closed cars and sports cars were only of novelty value in racing at the time.
So, throughout the 1950s, most Ferraris to come into the country were for the race circuits, where they continued to build the legend. In January 1954, Englishman Peter Whitehead brought his 1949 Formula 1 Ferrari 125 to New Zealand for that country’s International Grand Prix. Sydney racer and stock broker, Dick Cobden, bought the car and looked a winner in the Australian Grand Prix at Southport, Queensland, that year, until he spun his Ferrari while lapping a slower car.
That Ferrari continued racing in Australia for some years. It was joined in 1955 by a 1952/53 Ferrari 500 Formula 2 car, up-rated to beyond F1 specifications with a 3.0-litre sports car engine. Peter Whitehead and expatriate Australian Tony Gaze brought two of these cars for the New Zealand Grand Prix and Gaze’s car was sold to Australian driver Lex Davison.
In Davison’s hands, the car became one of the most successful cars in Australian racing history, including winning the Australian Grand Prix in 1957 and again, at Bathurst’s Mount Panorama circuit, in 1958. When, years later, it was being restored at the Donington Collection in England, it was found to be the car used by Alberto Ascari during his world championship-winning years of 1952 and 1953.
Two more racing Ferraris came into Australia in 1956, a 1951 model 212 Export Berlinetta for Sydney textile importer and Italian consul, Nino Sacilotto, and a 1954 750 Monza Sports for NSW hand tool manufacturer Stan Coffey.
At Melbourne’s Olympic-year Australian Grand Prix meeting in 1956, bolstered by the two sports cars and two modified F1 cars raced by visiting drivers, there were no fewer than eight Ferraris in action.
In 1959, Australia’s severe import restrictions on cars were eased and the 250 GT of the era was a more practical road car than most of the earlier Ferraris had been, as well as being built in greater numbers. Bill Lowe bought one for his own use, and sold the odd one or two more. One of these went to wealthy Sydney yachtsman Tony Oxley, who allowed David McKay to race it on a couple of occasions in 1961.
McKay, incidentally, had applied for a Ferrari agency for NSW at about the same time as Bill Lowe did for Victoria, back in 1951, but did not have the finances to carry the deal through.
But by 1960 McKay had his own racing team, called Scuderia Veloce, and it was growing well, backed by good corporate sponsorship. By 1962 McKay also had opened a specialist service and repair business called Scuderia Veloce Motors. In 1964 he went to Italy to buy one of the fabulous Ferrari 250 LM cars - LM for Le Mans, a race the model was to win in June 1965.
McKay made a similar deal to that of Lowe a dozen years earlier, becoming NSW agent for the cars (but these had to come via W H Lowe and Co, which now had become the Australian distributor).
McKay’s 250 LM, initially in the hands of Spencer Martin, later of numerous other top drivers, was extremely successful in Australian racing throughout the next four years, including winning two 12 Hour Races at Surfers Paradise.
In his autobiography, McKay noted that the arrival of the 250 LM, “…didn't spark a rush of Ferrari orders…” but it added to the already huge profile of the marque in Australia and, eventually, that would sell a lot of Ferraris.
In 1968, McKay’s 250 LM was joined by a later and faster 330 P4 sports car that was to set the fastest speed ever set on a race circuit in Australia to that time, 291 km/h on Mount Panorama’s then narrow, bumpy and humpy Con-Rod Straight.
New Zealand GP driver Chris Amon contested the 1968 Tasman Series in a beautiful little Ferrari Dino 246 Formula 1 car. A year later he came back with two similar, but upgraded cars, he and Derek Bell taking a 1-2 victory in the final race and Amon winning the Tasman Series overall.
New Zealander Graeme Lawrence bought one of these cars and won the Tasman Series with it in 1970.
In 1969, Scuderia Veloce Motors had been reorganised as a more serious company with new shareholders, much greater capital, and it was moved into more suitable premises in Lindfield, north of Sydney. As well as Ferrari, the company had franchises for Volvo and Porsche cars.
All the recent Ferrari race victories began to pay off in the 1970s. In Italy, in 1969, Ferrari had captured the attention of a much wider market when it released the beautifully-styled and less costly Ferrari Dino 246 road-going coupes. But it was to be some time before the car was widely available in Australia.
Ralph Lowe, who had by now taken over the reins at W H Lowe and Co from his father, approached Ferrari asking for right-hand drive models. Ferrari said there was insufficient demand. The company needed a firm order for around 50 cars to make it viable.
The UK distributor, since 1960, had been Colonel Ronnie Hoare’s Maranello Concessionaires. Hoare had raised the profile of Ferrari in Britain by entering the company’s latest competition cars in local races with top-line drivers, and winning a lot of events. He grew the road car sales year by year.
Now, Hoare combined forces with Lowe to place an order large enough to persuade Ferrari to build RHD Dinos. Lowe had expected to sell 15 of the cars per year - already way above anything they had achieved before this. But reality exceeded his expectations. In 1973, more than 50 of the cars were sold in Australia. It was, by far, the biggest year for Ferrari sales in the country.
Even after that initial surge, sales stayed strong, with official industry figures showing 36 Ferraris sold in Australia during 1975 and 39 in 1976.
At last, Ferrari was established as a road car in Australia. By now the country’s road network had improved and expanded, but the main thing was the magic of the name. If you drove a Ferrari, people knew you had made it in the world.
In the meantime, there had been big changes on the business side. In 1974, due to his hugely successful forays into the UK market with the Ferrari marque, Colonel Ronnie Hoare was awarded, by Ferrari, the distributorship for all right-hand drive markets in the world. Maranello Concessionaires bought out W H Lowe and Co and it was through the British-based company that Scuderia Veloce now had to deal.
Ferrari last made the popular 246 Dino in 1974. It was succeeded by the sleek 308 GTB and the squarer 308 GT/4, a better and more practical car and quite handsome in retrospect, but the styling of which was less loved than the 246. These were joined by the more expensive 365 Boxer followed by the 512 BB Boxer and later the 308 GTS.
By the mid-1980s all these mid-engine cars (a trend begun by the Dino) had been joined by the big, front-engine Ferrari 400i.
More changes were afoot on the business side. During 1983 David McKay had tried to sell Scuderia Veloce Motors to one of his former drivers, Bill Brown and a cousin of Brown, but the deal never quite came together. Late that year, Laurie Sutton, CEO of the Suttons Motor Group, originally formed by his father, stepped in and bought SVM outright.
Sutton has admitted it was a decision based on a passion for the marque, rather than it was the best investment he could make at the time. However, despite a shaky start, it ultimately turned out to be a good investment - even more so when Sutton eventually also bought out Maranello Concessionaires’ Australian distributorship in 1997.
Sales were sometimes erratic. In 1985 official figures show 54 Ferraris sold in Australia, in 1984 this was down to 29, in 1985 it was back up to 59. After the stock market crash of October 1987, sales of expensive and non-essential cars dropped off. By 1991 Ferrari sales were down to 27, a year later only 13.
Since the mid-1990s, however, the numbers not only improved, but levelled out, year to year. From 1995 to 2004, the sales have remained between a low of 50 and a high of 82.
But the important thing was the investment the Suttons Motors Group put into the company. Premises had been improved, parts and service facilities expanded, and dealerships upgraded.
Fiat had bought a half interest in Ferrari in 1969. When Enzo Ferrari died in August 1988, aged 90, Fiat’s ownership grew to 90 per cent, with the remaining 10 per cent having been left to Ferrari’s son, Piero Lardi-Ferrari.
From that time on, with tighter control of the company and a greater financial interest, Fiat worked hard at improving the breed while maintaining the magic that Enzo had breathed into the cars.
In the ensuing years Ferrari cars have grown even more exciting. At the same time, great effort has been put into making them more driveable, more practical, reliable, and built to ever-increasing levels of quality.
Before the advent of the Dino, all Ferraris had their engines in the front. And most of them were powered by V12 engines. But Enzo was more willing to move with the times than some have suggested.
After the Dino, the major models all moved to mid-rear engine layout - although the availability of traditional front-engine models has continued. And the engine range has broadened. There was the Dino’s V6 engine, then came a V8, to complement the traditional V12.
But a major move from convention was the flattening of the V12 engine to flat, horizontally-opposed, or what became known as the “boxer” engine.
The inspiration for this engine layout came from the world of Formula 1. Lowering the centre of gravity has always been a priority in F1. It was perhaps inevitable that Ferrari’s glorious-sounding V12 Formula 1 engine of the late-1960s and 1970s would one day be developed as a flat-12 to bring the weight down closer to the road.
The idea was a winner. The boxer engine was the power plant for F1 Ferraris throughout its most consistently successful era - until the arrival of the Todt/Brawn/Schumacher steamroller, that is.
For nine and a bit seasons, from late-1970 until the end of 1979, Ferrari’s Flat-12 engine cars won 37 world championship GPs (of a total of 169 races) and three driver’s world championships (Niki Lauda in 1975 and 1977, and Jody Scheckter in 1979).
If proof was ever needed that motor racing sells cars, this was it. In 1973 Ferrari introduced a flat-12 engine in what was originally a 365, but which evolved into the 1976 Ferrari 512 BB. In 1984 it was succeeded by the dramatic looking 512 Testarossa - or “red head” a name coined by Ferrari in the mid-1950s when his then sports racer was given new heads, which happened to be red, for better performance. The 512 BB continued successfully through to the end of 1995, a 22-year run for the flat-12 in Ferrari road cars.
Its life had been shorter in F1. After the successful 1979 world championship-winning year, the flat-12 Ferrari F1 car was a disaster in 1980. The reason was ground effects. Car designers were creating down force by channelling air through a venturi down either side of the car. Ferrari’s venturis were almost non-existent, thanks to the heads of the flat-12 protruding into that area.
When the turbocharged 1.5 litre engine began to dominate F1, Ferrari went for this concept - but in V6 form, so the engine was narrow and effective venturis could be built into the car’s side pontoons.
In the eight years since Maranello Concessionaires was absorbed into the Suttons Motors Group, Australia has been right up to date with the latest Ferraris at all times.
Every year at the Australian International Motor Show, in Sydney, the latest and greatest Ferrari models can be seen on the spectacular Ferrari stand, sometimes only weeks after their world premiere.
Among the highlights have been the stunning F40, first released to the media at the Ferrari factory in Maranello, Italy, on 21 July 1987, the 40th birthday of Ferrari as a road car producing company. The car used carbon composite materials extensively and had a twin-turbocharged, inter-cooled, V8 engine, and a high wing at the rear.
Another attention-grabber was the 348 Spider, a soft-top car for Ferrari owners who love the sun and fresh air. Then there was the 456 GT, a traditional front-engine, 5.5-litre V12 powered car, the biggest in the range.
The F40 was superseded by the F50, this one having even more space-age technology, a big V12 engine, a huge rear wing, and the option of a soft-top.
In the big, front-engine category, the 456 GT gave way to the 550 Maranello, still with V12 power.
Whereas once enthusiasts had to wait years to see a truly all-new Ferrari, in these later years, there are new models every year.
The F355 brought F1-style steering wheel paddles for gear-shifting. A normal manual-shift gearbox was also available at a considerable cost saving, but Ferrari buyers love the latest trends - not to mention the ease of driving an auto in city traffic - so more paddle-shift autos were sold than manuals.
A 3.6-litre engine mounted in mid-rear location saw the 360 Modena as a replacement for the F355. And then came the 360 Modena Spider with its two streamlined head rests behind the two occupants’ heads.
In 2002 came the magnificent Enzo, a worthy successor to the F40 and F50 supercars, followed by the 360 Challenge production GT racer and the also way-out 360 GT.
The 456 M continued the front-engine, large car concept. This grew again, to become the 575 M. Also benefiting from an increase in engine size was the F430.
In Australia Ferrari had been well represented in motor sport in recent years via the Nations Cup and GT Production series, with the red cars running at or near the front. In Formula 1, there had been that incredible run from 2000 to 2004 when Michael Schumacher and Ferrari dominated the world championships.
During 2005 negotiations were completed between Suttons Motor Group and European Automotive Imports for the latter to buy the Ferrari and Maserati import and distribution business. EAI is owned by former racing driver, leading yachtsman, and car enthusiast, Neville Crichton.
One suspects that, as had been the case with Laurie Sutton in 1997, Crichton was ruled as much by his heart as by his well-respected business acumen. Crichton is quoted as saying, “This is nothing less than a dream come true. Ferrari represents the very pinnacle of automotive achievement in so many areas and it is nothing less than a legend. To be their representative is a unique honour. But at the same time, it is also a tremendous responsibility and we are pledged to lift the quality of service we offer to customers and to ensure that the local ownership experience fully matches the qualities of these remarkable cars.”
European Automotive Imports Pty Ltd began to handle Ferrari and Maserati distribution on 6 October 2005. The company also controlled the retail business for the cars in Sydney and NSW, through its new dealership, Italia Motori, in William Street, Sydney, complemented by a service and parts department in Artarmon.
The new headquarters for Ferrari in Australia were within the Ateco offices at Homebush, near the Sydney Olympic site. For Australian and New Zealand owners, their first meeting with the new distributors came at another iconic Australian venue, the Sydney Opera House, when the new importer threw a party – and a classical music concert for more than 400 Ferrari owners. Meanwhile Australian motoring writers were getting a unique taste of Ferrari under new management – they were dispatched to China to help drive two Ferrari 612 Scagliettis for 25,000 ‘red’ miles around China.
For the public, the new importer through their full weight into two major events, with Ferrari the featured marque at the 2005 Classic Adelaide – the largest gathering of Ferraris ever seen in Australia – and in Sydney, the newly launched Ferrari SuperAmerica was the star of the Australian International Motor Show. October also saw the start of a process that would reach right around every Ferrari dealership in Australia, a complete renovation of the dealer group, starting a new home for Ferrari in Sydney, Italia Motori in William Street.
The Ferrari 599 GTB was launched in 2006 and the new importer marked their first home Grand Prix with a multi-million dollar car display at Melbourne’s Albert Park. Off the track in Melbourne motorsport legend Sir Stirling Moss opened Ferrari’s new Melbourne home, Zagame Ferrari, maintaining the momentum of the new importer’s promise to revitalize the Australian dealer group.
But it was in Brisbane in the middle of the year when Ferrari owners got a true taste of what was to come with the opening of the all-new EuroMarque Ferrari dealership, lifting Ferrari representation in Australia to a true world standard.
In July 2006 the Ferrari 599 Fiorano GTB arrived in Australia and New Zealand, setting a new performance benchmark.
Following on from the success the China drive event, 2006 saw Ferrari drive two 599 GTBs from Brazil to New York along some of the toughest roads in North and South America and, once again, Australian media took part to prove that Ferrari supercars can travel to the ends of the earth!
2007 marked the 60th birthday of Ferrari and in Australia the celebrations were marked by one of the most spectacular events in the history of the company in Australia, with a Ferrari F1 car driven through the streets of Melbourne, preceded by a parade of more than 100 Ferraris through the centre of the city. Tens of thousands of people packed Lygon Street to see a Ferrari Formula One car go where it has never gone before. Not to be outdone, days later Ferrari and its owners fill the Sydney Harbour Bridge with Ferraris and, with the Opera House in the background, the Circular Quay area resounded to the sound of Ferrari engines. Supporting events included a spectacular car display in the Crown complex in Melbourne.
Crowning a super celebration of Ferrari in Australia, the 2007 Australian Grand Prix was won in style by Kimi Raikkonen in his Ferrari.
New car news saw the launch of the ultimate version of the Ferrari F430, the Scuderia and just days later Kimi Raikkonen was crowned World Champion, with the new F430 arriving at the Australian International Motor Show to mark the flying Finn’s success for Ferrari.
2008 arrived with the launch of the Australian specification Ferrari F430 Scuderia at the Melbourne International Motor Show, and in May the Ferrari California made its world debut and, in another first for Ferrari, it did so on the Internet. The California made its Australian debut at the Australian international Motor Show in Sydney in October 2008.
October 2008 also saw Australia set a new benchmark for customer service with the opening of the all-new Zagame Ferrari dealership in Melbourne. Visiting Ferrari management acclaimed it as the best Ferrari dealership in the world. The following month Ferrari secured its 16th World Championship manufacturers’ title and launched the Spider version of the 430 Scuderia, the 16M, which became Ferrari’s fastest ever open top car.
The 16M made its Australian debut in early 2009 followed in June by the Ferrari California and in July the 458 Italia made its first appearance.
Early 2010 saw one of the highest profile visits to Australia with Amedeo Felisa, the CEO of Ferrari visiting for the opening of Ferrari Maserati Sydney, the latest new dealership for Australia and which Mr Felisa described as the best Ferrari dealership in the world and, so he could make a comparison, the Ferrari CEO also visited Zagame Ferrari in Melbourne.
2011 saw the Ferrari FF, a revolutionary Ferrari, made its world debut. The year ended with Australian Steve Wyatt winning the Coppa Shell in the inaugural Ferrari Challenge Asia Pacific series and with a Ferrari 458 GT3 smashing the lap record at Bathurst in testing for the 2012 Bathurst 12 hour race.
Ferrari’s 60th year in Australia has opened with the arrival of the Ferrari FF and will continue with the launch of the Ferrari 458 Spider in the middle of the year, while on the global stage the Ferrari F12berlinetta made its debut.
Ferrari Sales in Australia, VFACTS official registration figures.
Albert Park/Lex Davison: The only person to win four Australian Grand Prix, Lex Davison, racing his Ferrari 625 F1 in Albert Park en route to winning the 1957 Australian Drivers’ Championship. (Credit: Autopics.com.au)
Australian2007: Kimi Raikkonen en route to winning the 2007 Australia Grand Prix at Albert Park, the first win towards taking the 2007 Formula One Driver’s title and the constructors’ championship for Ferrari.
Ferrari430Scuderia. Named in honour of the Ferrari Scuderia racing team, the Ferrari 430 Scuderia in pit lane, Albert Park.
Ferrari 458 Spider. The newest Ferrari, the 458 Spider, will make its Australian debut at the 2012 Australian Grand Prix
For further information, please contact
Tel: +61 2 8577 8000
General Manager, European Automotive Imports
Fax: +61 2 8577 8069
Official Ferrari importer Australia & New Zealand
Tel: +61 2 8577 8000
Public Relations Manager
Fax: +61 2 8577 8069
European Automotive Imports
Mob: +61 407 913 244
Official Ferrari importer Australia & New Zealand
EUROPEAN AUTOMOTIVE IMPORTS PTY LTD
Street Address: 862 – 874 Elizabeth Street, Waterloo, Sydney, NSW 2017 Australia.
Postal Address: Ateco Automotive, 862 – 874 Elizabeth Street, Waterloo, Sydney, NSW 2017, Australia
A.B.N. 79 115 107 189
EAI Media web site: Australia: http://media.ateco.com.au/
New Zealand: http://media.ateco.co.nz/
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Date of Issue: 20 maggio 2018. Time of Issue: 15:45:02