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Ferraris in Pop Culture

Magnum PI Ferrari

For many Ferrari lovers, their first exposure to the prancing horse is seeing one on the big screen or scooting up close to the TV to watch that stunning red sports car zip across the screen. Ferrari Lake Forest wants to look back at some of the most popular times a Ferrari graced TV and film — and don’t forget to let us know what turned you into a fan of Ferraris the next time you’re here.


Whether it’s catching reruns of Magnum, P.I. or watching some now-classic 80s films, most Ferrari lovers can easily share an appreciation of the iconic automaker’s world-class vehicles with their parents. The arrival of the Ferrari 296 GTB, however, is working to spread that love to the next generation with its arrival in the popular video game Fortnite.

Fortnite took the world by storm in 2017 and has been one of the most popular video games in its class since its arrival. The Ferrari 296 GTB has been beautifully rendered for Fortnite Island and is the one place where you can feel comfortable letting your kid behind the wheel. Goals include Ferrari Time Trials, Reaching Maximum Speed, and Driving a Ferrari through The Storm. Fortnite has also added new Ferrari outfits and gear for characters.

Magnum, P.I.

We’ve lost track of the number of times we’ve heard “I grew up watching that show; what Ferrari did Magnum, P.I. drive?” Tom Selleck was behind the wheel of a now-classic Ferrari 308 GTS on the show, and CBS had about 15 of them on-hand while they were filming between 1980 and 1988. Model years for the Ferrari 308 models on-screen ranged from 1978 in the early years to 1980 and 1984 models in later years. 

Although CBS returned the vehicles to Ferrari North America when they were finished using them for filming — to be repainted and sold to new owners — the charm of Magnum, P.I. has endured and select models have been identified as having been driven by Selleck himself during the show.

The 308 was popular on the big and small screen in the 80s, also appearing in Cannonball Run and National Lampoon’s Vacation.

Magnum PI with Ferrari

James Bond

Pierce Brosnan debuts as 007 in Goldeneye, zipping down a winding European road in a silver Aston Martin DB5. Because he’s James Bond and Goldeneye is his movie, that Aston Martin is allowed to keep pace as a red Ferrari 355 GTS appears in his mirrors. It takes some movie magic and a hefty suspension of disbelief that femme fatale Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen) wouldn’t simply leave Bond in her rearview.

Perhaps Brosnan has a preference for Italian automobiles, given that a Ferrari 360 Modena appears in the introduction to his final film in the franchise, Die Another Day.

Goldeneye Ferrari

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

One of the most iconic instances of a Ferrari in pop culture is also one of the most tragic. While we can forgive you shedding a tear or two in the finale of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, we also want to assure you: every Ferrari used in the film was a replica. When Cameron describes his father’s Ferrari, he highlights how rare it is, and this isn’t an exaggeration for the film. Only 56 1961 Ferrari 150 GT California models were ever made, a fact that led to a trio of carefully designed replicas being used in the film.

While functional replicas were used to create some of those iconic driving scenes — including one significantly damaged when a pair of parking attendants took it for a joyride — the “Ferrari” that crashed through a window and fell to its death was a fiberglass shell. Movie magic combined closeups of a Jaguar E-Type speedometer, a FIAT 128 Spyder windshield, taillights from a VW Type 3, and more to create the illusion of a Ferrari — because who could let a real Ferrari get used and abused like that?

Ferris Bueller Crashed Ferrari

Learn More with Ferrari Lake Forest

What was your first exposure to a Ferrari? Let us know the next time you’re here at Ferrari Lake Forest. You’re surely not the only Chicago Ferrari enthusiast who envisioned themselves behind the wheel of a stunning red sports car after seeing Ferris Bueller drive one into the city.

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