On October 5, 1919, Enzo Ferrari made his debut as a race car driver. In honor of that, here are 20 facts about Enzo and his famous Ferraris.
- Enzo Ferrari was born February 18, 1898 in Modena, Italy.
- Enzo saw his first race in 1908 when his father took he and his older brother to a race Bologna.
- Enzo’s father and brother died from an Italian flu outbreak in 1916. Enzo caught the flu in 1918 and was discharged from the Italian army.
- After his family’s metal engineering firm collapsed, he had to find a job. He tried to get a job a Fiat but, they turned him down so, he took a job at Costruzioni Meccaniche Nazionali (CMN), a small car company. There he redesigned used truck bodies into smaller passenger cars.
- After a year with CMN, a friend got him a job as a race car driver with Alfa Romeo.
- He made his racing debut on October 5, 1919 in Parma, Italy and finished fourth.
- Driving through the mountains of southern Italy on the way to the 1919 Targa Florio, Enzo Ferrari and fellow racer Ugo Sivocci were trapped by deep snow and were nearly attacked by a pack of wolves. Ferrari drove them off with the revolver he always keeps handy and made the race in time.
- He won 13 out of 47 races he entered.
- He took over the Alfa Romeo racing department in 1929 and formed Scudieria Ferrari.
- In 1938, Alfa Romeo formed Alfa Corse which absorbed, what had been Scudieria Ferrari. Annoyed with Ferrari’s heavy-handed management style, Alfa Romeo fired him in 1939. The terms of his contract forbade him from racing under his own name for four years.
- After he was fired from Alfa Romeo, he started Auto-Avio Costruzioni, his own manufacturing firm. He supplied parts to other racing teams and made machine tools for the war.
- In 1939, Ferrari began work on his own racecar, the Tipo 815. It debuted at the 1940 Mile Miglia but, saw little competition because of World War II.
- The Ferrari factory moved to Maranello in 1943 where it has remained. It contains two gardens for beauty and atmosphere and is maintained at 23 degrees Celsius.
- The prancing horse was the symbol on Italian World War I ace Francesco Baracca’s fighter plane. It became the logo of Ferrari after Baracca’s parents, asked him to continue his tradition of sportsmanship, gallantry and boldness.
- Enzo Ferrari reluctantly built and sold his automobiles to fund Scuderia Ferrari.
- The first Ferrari road car, 125 S, debuted in 1947. It was powered by a 1.5 L V12 engine.
- Enzo Ferrari maintained a famous distaste for his customers, most of whom he felt were buying his cars for the prestige and not for racing.
- Until the early 1980s, Ferrari used a three number naming scheme based on engine displacement.
- Enzo was married to Laura Dominica Garello Ferrari in 1932. They had one son, Alfredo “Dino” Ferrari who died from muscular dystrophy in 1956. Enzo had a second son, Piero, with is mistress Lina Lardi in 1945. After Laura’s death in 1978, Piero was recognized as Enzo’s son and is now the VP of Ferrari with a 10% share ownership.
- Enzo Ferrari died on August 14, 1988 in Modena. Enzo had requested that his death not be made public until two days after to compensate for late registration of his birth.
- Ferruccio Lamborghini made tractors until he went to Enzo Ferrari to complain about a Ferrari he bought. Lamborghini felt snubbed by Ferrari and decided to get into the sports car business.
- The most expensive Ferrari ever sold was the 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa. Only 22 were ever produced. On May 17, 2009 it was put up for auction in Maranello, Italy and sold for $12.1 million (€9.02 million).
- In 2002, Ferrari introduced the Enzo Ferrari. It was a sports car built using Formula One technology. (You may have seen it in Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.) Only 400 were made and more than 14 have been totaled. One crash story involved the capture of a high-profile Swedish criminal.
I’ll be honest, I could go on forever about Ferraris. I love them and there is so much interesting history behind them but, I’ll leave it at that for now. I have 140 weeks left of Tuesday 20’s so maybe there will be a part two.
All facts have been taken from various, reliable sources but, nothing is ever fool-proof. If, for any reason, you’d like to know the source of these facts, I’d be happy to share.