What’s the Story Behind the Ferrari in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off?

Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder in Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Here at Chicagoland’s Continental AutoSports Ferrari, we’ve always had a soft spot for Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. After all, the film doesn’t just put the Windy’s City’s raucous spirit and iconic vistas on display for all to see. It also showcases one of the most beautiful Ferrari designs from the last century: the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder.

Although Ferris Bueller’s Ferrari is actually a composite of real close-up shots and carefully crafted replicas, the film is still a touchstone for thousands of drivers who would love to bring home a Ferrari of their very own.

Was the Ferrari in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off Real?

We’ve already mentioned that the vehicle that appears in the film is based on the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder, but was the Ferrari in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off real? 

Longtime fans of the Prancing Horse will recognize a grain of truth in the speech that Cameron (Alan Ruck) gives about the rarity of his father’s prized Ferrari: only 56 250 GT California models ever rolled off the line. And in fact, several real, live close-up shots of this vehicle were actually used in the film! 

With that said, the film’s creators knew that they would have to put this vehicle through hell in order to tell the story they set out to share. For that reason, the Ferrari that appears in the movie is usually a replica, or rather one of three replicas, that are based on the original model. A firm called Modena Design handled the creation of these replicas—one of which would sell for $360,000 at an auction in 2020.

Go ahead and breathe a sigh of relief. The “Ferrari” that crashes out of a window and hurls to the earth in one of the film’s most iconic scenes is really a carefully crafted fake! To capture the look and feel of the real deal, the film’s special effects team used shots of a Jaguar E-Type, FIAT 128 Spyder, and a VW Type 3. It’s a fairly convincing illusion, even if it wouldn’t fool those who have firsthand experience with the brand. Regardless, we’re sure we’re not the only ones who are grateful that no Ferrari 250 GT California was actually harmed in the making of the film.

Where Was Ferris Bueller Filmed?

John Hughes was notorious for his love of Chicago, so it should be no surprise that many of the Ferris Bueller filming locations were located in the city. So, where was Ferris Bueller filmed? Find out more about the Ferris Bueller’s Day off filming locations— including one that surprisingly wasn’t in Chicago— below:

  • Ferris’ House: One location that wasn’t in Chicago was Ferris’s house. The Bueller home included exterior shots that were taken at a colonial property at 4160 Country Club Drive, Long Beach, California
  • Cameron’s House: The classic house where the Ferrari crashes out the window was filmed in the Chicago suburbs at 370 Beech Street, Highland Park, IL.
  • Glenbrook North Highschool: Located in Northbrook, IL at 2300 Shermer Road, Glenbrook North is an actual high school where students still sometimes recreate scenes from the movie. 
  • Lake Shore Drive: After swiping his dad’s Ferrari, Cameron, Ferris, and Sloane are seen cruising south on LSD. 
  • Willis Tower: Known at the time of filming as the Sears Tower observation deck, the Willis Tower Skydeck provides breathtaking views of Chicago. 
  • Dearborn Street: The famous parade where we see Ferris perform was a restaging of an actual German-American parade that is held annually in the city. 
  • Wrigley Field: As the trio skipped school, they were spotted catching a Cubs game at this iconic Ferris Bueller filming location.
  • Art Institute of Chicago: You can see Sloan, Ferris, and Cameron goofing off among the famous paintings found at the museum.

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