Born on 18th February 1898 was the man who, thanks to his determination, his genius and his ability to always look ahead, established the legend which continues to grow today: Enzo Ferrari.
As a child, he showed an unbridled passion for cars (his father, after all, had a workshop…) and as an adult he went on to become not only a great car manufacturer but one of the world’s greatest representatives of the Italian spirit. He was also one of the most influential personalities of the 20th century. Ferrari is almost the same age as the modern Formula One championship (which kicked off in 1950), and his upstart company rapidly became synonymous with it. Indeed, Ferrari is the only team to have contested almost every F1 race since. The first win for the renewed Scuderia came at Silverstone in 1951. The victory was scored by the burly Argentinian José Froilán González in a Ferrari 375. In beating Alfa Romeo, Enzo opined that he had “killed my mother”.
He was a spin doctor before the term existed and became famous for his quasi-philosophical proclamations – “I am an agitator of men” being the best known, along with “My favourite Ferrari? The one that has yet to be built”, but see also “I give my collaborators complete trust. That is the only way to see if they deserve it.”
In parallel, Enzo realised that manufacturing road cars was an expedient way of financing his increasingly costly racing activities. Despite this fiscally pragmatic attitude, the company would go on to produce many of the most extravagant cars in automotive history. As well as being a natural PR man, Enzo was also a born salesman. “If you like this car, we’ll make it. If you don’t, we won’t,” he would tell a prospective customer. If they happened to be female, the patter would be even more flamboyant. When it came to women, Enzo was a positive gourmand.
To celebrate his 121th birth anniversary, a photographic exhibition has been organised at Enzo’s birthplace, within the complex that now houses the Enzo Ferrari Museum in Modena. It includes images depicting him at various stages of his life: from childhood to adulthood, from his career as a driver to that of a manager and manufacturer alongside unforgettable motor racing champions such as Nuvolari, Castellotti and Villeneuve.
Also on this date, the Museo Casa Natale Enzo Ferrari, the museum in the home where he was born, reopened, as explained to www.ferrari.com, by the son of the Founder and Vice President of the company, Piero Ferrari. “I am particularly pleased that his birthday coincides with the reopening of the Museum, on the spot where my father was born and which is now run by the company he created.”