Inside cavities are formed using sand cores, which are then discarded during thermal processes. When finished, the eight-cylinder engine weighs about 45 kilograms and still features the so-called sprues, aluminium appendages resulting from the casting process, which are then discarded in subsequent stages. After casting, all pieces undergo tempering and aging heat treatments, as well as several dimension and structural conformity controls, before being sent to the mechanical motor unit.
The 12-cylinder engine -- the Ferrari engine by definition -- takes about 20 days to make and also undergoes several stages, from mechanical work to heat treatment and finishing. With a sound that is hard to reproduce anywhere else, the engine is considered by many to be a piece of engineering excellence and even a work of art. The 12-cylinder engine loses about 50 percent of its weight over the course of the entire engine manufacturing process.
The 12-cylinder head, too, requires several stages of production, including the checking of seals against oil and water, completing the valve train group, and the superfinishing. The process is almost entirely automated and performed through a thermal interference process, whereby the valve seat is cooled with liquid nitrogen to 196 degrees centigrade, which reduces its volume by 40 to 60 microns. At the same time, the head is warmed up to 160 degrees centigrade, which increases its volume by 0.12 to 0.15 square millimeters. Robots then place the valve seat into the cylinder head, and once done, the entire head is plunged into water. The thermal shock makes the coupling with the seat indissoluble.
“The sound of the engine is something that reinforces the emotion of driving a Ferrari,” said Mariella Mengozzi, the museum manager. “Ferrari doesn't just sell cars. It sells dreams.”
Designed for mechanical perfection
Ferrari currently manufactures more than 6,000 cars a year, and its current models like the 458 Italia, the 599 GTB Fiorano, the California, and the FF continue in the tradition of the firm’s historic fusion of technology and style.
“The design in Ferrari is something very peculiar, because it has always been linked to functionality,” said Mengozzi, noting that the firm has always been highly focused on the car’s mechanics. The first priority was always the engine and transmission, followed by the other mechanical components, only after which the design and style of the chassis came into play.
The design of the cars was very much linked to the mechanical interiors of the car, said Mengozzi, so the shape of the chassis was often the way it was to cover mechanical features like the battery. Aerodynamics didn’t yet exist at the time when the original cars were produced -- just a sense of how the car could be more effective, she explained.