When you think about sports cars, Ferrari is one of the first names to pop to mind. The Italian automobile manufacturer is a household name and one of the most iconic vehicle manufacturers worldwide. However, the story behind Ferrari involves a man recognizing his dream.
Enzo Ferrari fell in love with cars after watching his first race when he was ten. However, in 1908, cars were still a luxury and not affordable for everyone. Enzo spent years working odd jobs to earn a living. Then, he would enlist in the Italian military during the final years of World War 1.
Several of Enzo’s earliest jobs after the military, were involved as being a test driver. This experience as a test driver helped him learn more about the inner workings of a car, which would soon prove beneficial when he started his company. Enzo would eventually drive for Alfa Romeo, with varying success. Enzo Ferrari was a talented race driver, but his desire to be in the driver’s seat was waning.
Enzo soon realized his passion revolved around managing race teams and building cars instead of driving them. Hence in 1929, he founded Scuderia Ferrari. Later being officially known as the Ferrari Racing Team. It’s crucial to note that Scuderia Ferrari was a subdivision of Alfa Romeo’s racing division. In 1937, Alfa Romeo dissolved Scuderia Ferrari. Making matters worse, Enzo fell out with the company’s boss, who restricted him from using the Scuderia name.
Developing His First Car
Enzo began Auto Avio Costruzioni after he conflicted with Alfa Romeo. Since he was forbidden from using the Ferrari name for four years, he had no choice but to use a different name. It was under Auto Avio Costruzioni that Enzo developed his first vehicles.
In 1947, as we know them today, Ferrari unveiled the 125 S. The 125 S was the first Ferrari-branded vehicle. It featured a massive V12 engine and soon took over the roads and the race tracks.
Ferrari dominated the race circuits with the 125 S. The vehicle helped Ferrari become a force to be reckoned with in Formula 1. However, Ferrari’s success didn’t only happen because they had the best cars, they also had the best drivers because Ferrari was focused on winning races and not selling cars. Enzo ultimately realized that selling road vehicles was financially pragmatic to finance his racing activities.
Ferrari became synonymous with Formula 1 due to their success as a company that dominates the tracks annually. This caused the brand to cultivate a reputation for itself. Eventually, movie stars and other cultural icons became interested in the company’s vehicles. Ferrari wasn’t just any car manufacturer in the world, they were the coolest one. Resultantly, Enzo Ferrari conferred with his close associate Luigi Chinetti, who was a racer that won the 1949 Le Mans endurance race for Ferrari. He advised Enzo to open a dealership in Manhattan, New York in 1954 as their flagship dealership. This opening in the US attracted high-profile clientele like Steve McQueen, Miles Davis, and Clint Eastwood.**
Enzo’s Later Years
Ferrari continued their success all the way to the mid-1960s. Ferrari then became entangled in a historic rivalry with American automobile maker; Ford. As for Enzo, he remained heavily involved in Ferrari even after FIAT purchased the company in 1969. He continued designing vehicles until his passing in 1988.
Enzo Ferrari’s legacy continues to live on amongst racing enthusiasts. The red of Ferrari is synonymous with car racing. Enthusiasts around the world continue to love Ferrari for its role in motorsports.
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