What They Made the Ferraris in the Movie Really Look Like (Hint: Some Were Real)

By | December 22, 2023

They made the cars in Ferrari as real as possibleNeon

  • The filmmakers behind the film Ferrari wanted to make everything look as realistic as possible, especially the cars.

  • Several of the cars used were real, including the Maserati borrowed from Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason, but others were recreations.

  • These recreations were carefully built with Caterham chassis and bodywork from Compagna.


Producers, actors and director Michael Mann, everyone involved in the making of the film Ferrari, was obsessed with recreating the cars and racing of the 1957 Mille Miglia as accurately as possible. And while some of the storylines surrounding the racing may not be presented in, say, documentary style, every effort was made to make the actual cars themselves look real.

That’s because some of them goods Real. There were two real Grand Prix cars in the film, including the Maserati 250 F that currently belongs to Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, himself of course a real car guy.

Driving that car was fun, we’re told.

Patrick Dempsey drives a red Ferrari 315 sPatrick Dempsey drives a red Ferrari 315 s

That’s probably the real Patrick Dempsey behind the wheel of this recreation of a Ferrari 315 S.Thanks to NEON

“I raced the 250 F in the Grand Prix scenes,” said Derek Hill, son of Phil, and an experienced driver in his own right, having made it as far as Italian Formula 3000, among many other series. Hill plays real-life Maserati driver Jean Behra in the film, right down to the checkered flag helmet that has been the Autoweek logo since forever.

How was that?

“Oh, it was fantastic,” the younger Hill said when we spoke to him on the eve of the film’s Hollywood premiere.

Hill drove the real Grand Prix car in a scene early in the film in which he breaks Ferrari’s track record at the Autodromo di Modena. After that scene, Hill spends most of the film driving the beautiful Maserati 450S sports car.

Most of the film concerns the days leading up to the 1957 Mille Miglia, in which sports cars such as the 450S and the Ferrari 315 S and 335 S took part. In both cases they looked like they were great behind the wheel.

a group of men in suits and hats standing on a red carpeta group of men in suits and hats standing on a red carpet

Patrick Dempsey with Piero Taruffi’s white hair.Thanks to NEON

“I was in the car the whole time, which was the best job I’ve ever had in my life,” says Patrick Dempsey, who plays Piero Taruffi and drove a perfect recreation of a beautiful red Ferrari 315. S Spider wrapped in a luscious Scaglietti body.

“He did 90% of his own driving,” Nagle said of Dempsey. “The only time he didn’t drive was because he wasn’t available that day. He did a phenomenal job. Real. He killed it. He was great.”

Just like Hill, who was in Italy for almost four months in total and took on various tasks in addition to driving, such as plotting on a spreadsheet at what time of day the Ferraris would have overtaken and passed the slower cars. the real Mille – just another example of how everything was aimed at giving a realistic representation of the actual cars that drove through Italy that year.

“So for the Mille Miglia we had seven cars and then we built a few Grand Prix cars, including the (Ferrari) 801,” Nagle said. “We rented two of the Maserati 250 F, the Grand Prix Maserati, one from (Pink Floyd drummer) Nick Mason. And then we built the Ferraris and Maseratis for the Mille Miglia scenes.”

Those cars, the sports cars like the Ferrari 315 S and 355 S and the Maserati 450S, were all highly detailed recreations that sat on a Caterham 620 chassis with supercharged inline-four engines. In Caterham form with the Caterham body, these cars weigh just 1364 pounds, while the supercharged engine produces 310 horsepower, a great power-to-weight ratio. Again, they were surprisingly fun to drive.

a vintage ferrari approaches the camera along a narrow, tree-lined road in a still from michael mann's upcoming filma vintage ferrari approaches the camera along a narrow, tree-lined road in a still from michael mann's upcoming film

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“It was a @#$%*&% missile,” Nagle said. “I was sold as soon as I started patching it. I thought, ‘This is the car.’ All our cars were based on the chassis we built.”

Hill’s Maserati 450S was built on it.

“The 450S was a statue car built by Caterham in England and then the rolling chassis was sent to Modena to be built by a company called Compagna, an old company. carrozzeria. They did a masterful job of putting the bodywork together.”

Wasn’t there some concern about some of these cars getting damaged during filming?

“I brought some of the best drivers in the world to drive these things. And you know, people like Nick want to know who’s driving. And ultimately it was his decision who got to drive the car, and it came down to three people who were qualified to drive that particular car: Derek Hill, Marino Franchitti and myself.

Among the 15 stunt drivers used in the film were Formula Drift champion Samuel Hubinette and Ben Collins, aka The Stig.

While there will be those who scour the film looking for historical inaccuracies, often those guys just want to let everyone know how well-versed they are in all things Ferrari or Maserati, or what they work for. Acceleration button Monthly. You don’t have to listen to them. Just go to the movie and enjoy how they got all the cars pretty much exactly right. And enjoy the fact that everyone had so much fun making it.

“I’m really proud of the movie,” said Dempsey, a racer himself. “I think it is fantastic. And the racing sequences are really good. This is an accurate movie. This is really well done. It’s the attention to detail and emotional impact that amazes me. It stays with you. It stays with you long after you leave the theater.”

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