Paying tribute to il Commendatore

On February 18th, 1898, Enzo Ferrari was born in Modena, Italy, the youngest of two children. From an early age, Enzo was exposed to the mechanical side of life, as his father, Alfredo Ferrari, worked as a metal parts fabricator out of a workshop he started in the Ferrari family home. At the age of 10, Enzo watched Felice Nazzaro take a win at the 1908 Circuito di Bologna event, inspiring him to become a racing driver.

However, before he could follow his dream, Enzo served in the Italian Army during World War I. In 1918, Enzo became deathly ill following a widespread Italian flu epidemic, and was subsequently discharged from service. His father and older brother died from the disease a few years prior.

After the army, Enzo landed a job as a test driver with a local car manufacturer in Milan. However, rather than pushing the limits in a high-strung performance machine, Enzo was instead stuck behind the wheel of boring passenger cars made from rebuilt truck bodies. Luckily, Enzo was later promoted to the position of racing driver, and he quickly made his competition debut at the 1919 Parma-Poggio di Berceto hillclimb, where he managed to finish fourth in a 2.3-liter C.M.N. Later that year, he ran in the infamous Targa Florio, but was forced to retire due to a leaky fuel tank.

By the 1920’s, Enzo was racing for Alfa Romeo, taking a win at the 1924 Coppa Acerbo at Pescara. Although encouraged in his competition efforts, Enzo was disheartened by the death of famous racing driver Antonio Ascari in 1925, and following the birth of his son in 1932, Enzo decided to hang up his helmet, focusing on team management and car development instead.

Enzo eventually went on to create Ferrari S.p.A. in 1947 after the end of World War II. With his passion for racing as strong as ever, Enzo’s team racked up wins in a variety of motorsport events, successfully competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Mille Miglia, and the recently formed Formula 1 series. To help finance these efforts, Ferrari began selling sports cars to the public in the early ’50s.

A proud and occasionally contentious man, Enzo Ferrari’s brand was a reflection of his personality. The street cars were based on racing machines, and offered superlative performance above all else. He was once quoted as saying, “I don’t care if the door gaps are straight. When the driver steps on the gas I want him to shit his pants.” That pretty much sums it up.

Enzo Ferrari passed away in 1988 at the age of 90. These days, it’s impossible to deny that Ferrari S.p.A. is changing, with upcoming model lines including an SUV and an all-electric on the horizon, plus the hybrid LaFerrari already on the market. However, while the technology might be changing, the spirit of Ferrari remains the same – beauty, speed, and pants-shitting levels of power.


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