Ferrari and the USA: a Stars ‘n Stripes love affair

It’s a holiday in the United States of America today, as it celebrates the 237th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence and in some ways, it’s also a time for celebration for Ferrari, for which not only is the USA its biggest market with over two thousand cars sold in 2012, but it’s also a country where the passion for the Prancing Horse is stronger than ever. The links between the two are coming close to being sixty years old, as the first Ferrari landed in the United States in the spring of 1954. However, even five years earlier an American with obvious Italian roots, Luigi Chinetti, took a Prancing Horse to victory for the first time in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Other Stars ‘n Stripes drivers who have written their piece of Ferrari history are Phil Hill, the first American to win the Formula 1 Drivers’ World Championship, back in 1961 and Mario Andretti, who competed at the wheel of a Scuderia Formula 1 car twelve times, in the highest level of motor sport and who took two wins in the Sebring 12 Hours. There were many other victories in famous races on the other side of the Pond, such as the aforementioned Sebring 12 Hours and the Daytona 24 Hours. In fact, it was a win in this race, that came with a complete sweep of all the podium places in 1967, that saw the word “Daytona” added to the name of the 365 GTB/4 which assured its fame. Furthermore, to reinforce the importance of the American market to Ferrari, other models built in Maranello have names that pay tribute to this great nation: one only has to think of the “America” series and the “Superamerica,” or the gorgeous 250 California, reprised today in the eponymous Spider, one of the most successful cars of the last few years. “There has always been a great love between the United States and Ferrari,” said Luca di Montezemolo in April 2004, when the top of the Empire State Building was coloured red to celebrate fifty years since Ferrari set foot in the USA and that love is clearly strong and still growing.”