Ferrari and Shell: did they create the greatest car ad ever?

Ferrari and Shell’s incredible television ad from 2007 blew us away, and still has us gobsmacked

10 years on, this is still the coolest car advert shown on TV

ENTERTAINING ads for car people are hard to come by.

Usually, we are bombarded with the same, derivative, clichéd tropes. Rarely does something come along to truly stir the soul and get our oily veins pumping.

Recent examples have included Audi’s R8 advertisement which was a full minute of unadulterated screaming V10 and glowing exhausts,

Some brands have tried longer form ads, like the cheesy in all the right ways farewell to the Dodge Viper from the guys and girls at Pennzoil.

BMW’s famous Beat The Devil short film is probably the best example of this, staring Clive Owen, James Brown, Gary Oldman, and a very versatile BMW Z4.

But, the very best automotive car ad comes from Ferrari and Shell, with a two-minute tribute to Maranello’s finest racing cars.

The clip involves five separate F1 cars from Ferrari tearing their way through crawling city landscapes around the world. It’s a visceral ride which puts the viewer in the thick of the action.

The sound is an auditory treat served up for your ears, with no annoying voiceover or music ruining the sonic delightsof a screaming race engine echoing through an urban jungle.

It took a month to shoot the entire two-minute clip, under the guidance of Partizan's Antoine Bardou Jacquet and producer David Stewart. At the time, it was one of the most expensive advertisements ever made, costing a cool $4.5 million.

Ferrari test drivers were behind the wheels of the classic race cars on location, with the exception of the Sea Cliff Bridge, to Sydney’s south. For the Australian leg of the ad, an unnamed local Ferrari enthusiast managed to wrangle his way behind the wheel.

The ad is now 10 years old, but remains – in our opinion - the very best to have graced the small screen to date.


How are you finding our new site design? Tell us in the comments below or send us your thoughts at


Subscribe to Wheels magazine

Subscribe to Wheels Magazine and save up to 44%
Get your monthly fix of news, reviews and stories on the greatest cars and minds in the automotive world.



We recommend


Electric vehicle charging

NSW announces huge $490m EV incentives strategy, and a road user tax

In a 'challenge accepted' moment, NSW has looked at Victoria's recent electric vehicle announcements and revealed an incentives plan five times bigger

4 hours ago
Mike Stevens
Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.