The Life and Accomplishments of
More than 25 years have passed since his death, but Enzo Ferrari still remains a legend. Perhaps you recognize the name. “Ferrari” represents both a man and an automotive company—Enzo Ferrari the Italian race car driver and later the entrepreneur behind the Ferrari motor company.
Enzo lived a long, full life from February 18, 1898, to August 14, 1988.
Born in Italy, Enzo quickly set himself apart in his love of racing at a young age. At the tender age of 10, Enzo committed to his dream of becoming a race car driver after seeing the 1908 Circuit di Bologna race.
Enzo received little formal education in the early 1900s in Italy. He later served in World War I, and during that time, he lost his father and brother in an Italian flu outbreak. It was then that his family’s manufacturing business collapsed. Enzo was forced to explore other career options, after barely surviving the 1918 flu epidemic himself.
Enzo decided that the time was right to pursue his dream and enter the automotive industry. Enzo soon got a job as a test driver for a small automobile manufacturer called CMN. Within just a few short years, he was racing. By 1923, Enzo won the Ravenna Circuit of Sivocci.
Enzo’s greatest victory and claim to fame was at the first Coppa Acerbo at Pescara in 1924, where he won driving an Alfa Romeo RL. That victory made Ferrari a notable name on the racing circuit. Scuderia Ferrari was founded by Enzo in 1929 to manufacture race cars and sponsor drivers. Street legal Ferraris were manufactured just a few years later, starting in 1947.
Enzo’s greatest victory and claim to fame was at the first Coppa Acerbo at Pescara in 1924, where he won driving an Alfa Romeo RL.
“Everyone dreams of driving a Ferrari, it was my intent from the start.”– Enzo Ferrari
Today, the finely crafted Ferrari is a sign of status and wealth. What once started as a speedy Italian race car has become a coveted automobile by the upper class. As far back as the early 1900s, Enzo made a name for himself. He built on his racing legend to create a successful automotive company that is still in business today.
How much do you know about America’s favorite Italian sports car? Here are 10 fun facts about Ferrari, the man and the brand:
Enzo created his own mysterious image by choosing to always wear sunglasses in public until the day he died.
The Countess Baracca gave Enzo the famous Ferrari prancing horse logo, used by her late son Francisco who served as a flying ace in World War I.
Enzo Ferrari was also known as The Commander, a nickname that may have been given to him by the Italian King Victor Emmanuel III.
Ford attempted to buy Ferrari in 1963 for $18 million; the deal failed when Ford refused to allow Enzo to retain control over the Ferrari racing program.
Fiat eventually bought Ferrari in 1969 at a 50% stake that ultimately increased to 90% in 1988; Fiat allowed Enzo to control the Ferrari racing program, unlike Ford.
The first Ferrari ever produced with an automatic gearbox was the 1976 Ferrari 400 GT.
The 250 GTO Ferrari was reportedly the most expensive car produced, sold privately for close to $15 million.
The Ferrari F40 launched in 1987 in the UK at $316, 895; it was the most expensive car sold in Britain.
The two-seated Gran Turismo Ferrari is considered the most popular model.
Enzo Ferrari died in 1988 in his sleep at the age of 90.
The Life History of Enzo Ferrari
Enzo’s life history shows a clear trajectory toward success. Here’s the timeline of an Italian race car driver turned automobile tycoon:
Enzo Ferrari was born in Modena, Italy.1908
Enzo, 10, and his brother Alfredo were taken to their first car race by their father in Bologna. Enzo dreamed of becoming a race car driver.1916
Enzo lost his father and brother in an Italian flu outbreak during World War I; Enzo barely survived the flu himself while serving in the third Alpine Artillery of the Italian Army.1918
Enzo applied to work at Fiat after recovering from the flu but was turned down for the job.1919
Enzo participated in the first postwar racing event in Italy as a driver. At that time, Enzo raced for CMN, a small auto manufacturer, where he also worked as a test driver.Enzo Ferrari: enjoy.org
Enzo left CMN and began working at Alfa Romeo. He continued to race, now driving Alfa Romeo cars in local events. In the same year, Enzo finished second in the Targa Florio
driving an Alfa Romeo Tipo 40/60; this was the beginning of a 20 year relationship with Alfa Romeo that ultimately ended when Enzo stepped down as the head of the Alfa Corse racing division in 1939.1924
Enzo won the Coppa Acerborace at Pescara. In the same year, Enzo received an official honor from the Italian state and was knighted for his racing accomplishments.1927
Enzo was made Commendatore by the Italian state for his National Service in the area of racing; Enzo won the Circuito di Modena driving an Alfa Romeo 6C-1500 SS the same year.1929
Enzo won his second Circuito di Modena, again driving an Alfa Romeo 6C-1500 SS. That year, Enzo left Alfa Romeo and started Scuderia Ferrari as the Alfa
Romeo racing team; the goal of the new foundation was to allow owner-drivers to race in circuits.1931
Enzo finished his final race as a driver at the Circuito Tre Province, coming in second. Enzo decided to quit racing as he anticipated the birth of his first son.1932
Enzo married Laura; his son Alfredo was born the same year.1937
The Scuderia Ferrari built the Alfetta, or the Alfa Romeo 158, which quickly rose to popularity in the international race circuit.1939
Enzo participated in technical manufacturing throughout World War II. In 1939, Enzo stepped down from Alfa Romeo and was
not allowed to use the Ferrari name in races or on race cars for a minimum of four years. He then made it his life’s goal to surpass Alfa Romeo in Ferrari manufacturing.
Enzo had a son named Piero by his mistress Lina Lardi; Piero was later named Enzo’s successor after his son Alfredo died in 1956 and his wife Laura died in 1978. (Piero is currently Vice President of Ferrari.) In the same year, Enzo began to work on his first Ferrari automobile, the V-12 powered 125 model that would debut in 1947.1947
Enzo produced the first Ferrari automobile. The Ferrari company boomed in the flourishing economy following World War II.1951
Enzo won his first Formula One victory at the British Grand Prix.
The Ferrari team won their first Formula One Championship.
Enzo’s beloved son Alfredo (Dino) died from muscular dystrophy. In the same year, the Ferrari-powered Lancia D50won the Formula One World Championship, driven by Juan Manuel Fangio.1969
50% of Ferrari was purchased by Fiat.1971
Enzo stepped down as Ferrari company president, though he continued to work closely with the company until his death in 1988.1972
The Ferrari Fiorano test track opened near the team’s base in Maranello.1988
Enzo died in his sleep at the age of 90 in Modena, Italy.
Enzo was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.1994
Enzo’s sporting accomplishments made him the prize of Italy. He was knighted and later awarded Commendatore. He was also bestowed several honorary degrees for his achievements—as well asthe Automobile Award, the Hammarskjöld Prize, the Columbus Prize, and the De Gasperi Award. After his death, Enzo’s excellence was recognized once again when he was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1994.
Although his zeal for racing was evident, Enzo was reserved in his personal life. He rarely gave interviews. After moving back to his hometown of Modena in 1958, he traveled infrequently, save for attending the annual Italian Grand Prix outside of Milan.
Enzo was heartbroken after the death of his son Alfredo in 1956. Alfredo, called Dino, had worked closely with his father to help develop the Ferrari V6 engine. While Enzo had a second son by his mistress Lina, it wasn’t until after his wife Laura’s death in 1978 that Peiro could be recognized as Enzo’s son; divorce was illegal in Italy until 1975. Today, Peiro is the heir to the Ferrari fortune and serves as the VP of the Ferrari company with 10% ownership.
Enzo’s passion for racing was the catalyst behind his success as the owner of the Ferrari company.
What was the key to Enzo’s success, you ask? Always keeping his eye on the prize and never being satisfied with the status quo, according to Enzo himself:
“If you see what a competitor is doing and it is better than what you are doing, you have to surpass them to ensure your cars are better.” – Enzo Ferrari
Enzo left Alfa Romeo at the start of World War II, yet he was not allowed to use his exclusive Ferrari name until four years later. The timing was right since racing
interest waned during World War II. During that time, Enzo moved Ferrari from Modena to Maranello, where the headquarters remain today.1947
Enzo introduced the first 125 S Ferrari out of the factory.1960
The Ferrari company became an LLC.1963
Enzo developed the artisan training institute in Maranello to supply the Ferrari company with specialty technicians; the institute was dedicated to his son Alfredo.
In the same year, Ferrari saw modest success in the US with only 450 employees and 598 cars manufactured compared to Ford Motor Company at 175,000 employees and 2.1 million cars.
450 employees and 598 cars
175k employees and 2.1M cars
The first Ferrari with an automatic gearbox was introduced, the Ferrari 400 GT.
The concept of a four-door Ferrari was vetoed by Enzo. 1980 was also considered the worst Formula One season for Ferrari with only eight constructor points.
Ferrari unveiled the F40, the last Ferrari manufactured under Enzo’s influence; the F40 was considered Enzo’s dream car and was designed to commemorate Ferrari’s 40th anniversary.1997
The Formula Uomo initiative was introduced at the Ferrari Maranello headquarters to ensure the best possible working conditions for staff members;
Formula Uomo was designed to make employees the heart of the company—as Enzo intended.2002
The world’s fastest Ferrari debuted, the Ferrari F60.2004
2004 was considered the best Formula One season for Ferrari with an impressive 262 points.
Ferrari success boomed to sell a total of 5,671 cars within the year; 635 sales were in the UK.
The Ferrari company has expanded leaps and bounds from its humble beginnings in Italy.
If Enzo were alive today, he would be proud to see that his company has branched out into Europe, North America, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, and even Africa. Ferrari North America, Inc. has headquarters in New Jersey with authorized dealer networks throughout the US. Ferrari North Europe LTD is headquartered in England as a fully-owned Ferrari S.p.A. subsidiary. The North Europe brand encompasses 24 dealerships in total, including but not limited to the UK, the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and more.
Ferrari ownership in Switzerland has surged in past decades.
Today, the Swiss market represents the highest concentration of Ferrari owners around the world in relation to population. There are nine authorized Ferrari dealerships located in Switzerland, compared to eight in Italy, three in Spain, and only one in Austria.
to the family
Ferrari’s replacement for the F430 is the 458 Italia pictured here. The new car is the lastest in a long line of mid-engined, two-seat, roadgoing Ferraris that can all trace their heritage back to the 1967 Dino-badged 206 GT. Over those 40-plus years, the price has increased more than twentyfold and horsepower has nearly tripled, but since late ‘70s, Ferrari has resisted, almost with religious dedication, allowing its V-8 cars to undergo massive weight gain.
Price *all price based on year
Power (SAE net) / Zero to 60 mph / Curb weight
2010 Ferrari 458 Italia
(2010) $230,000 (est)
DOHC 32-valve 4.5-liter V-8
570 bhp / 3.3 sec (est) / 3450 lb (est)
2009 Ferrari 430 scuderia
(2009) – $287,968
DOHC 32-valve 4.3-liter V-8
503 bhp / 3.5 sec / 3069 lb
2004 Ferrari 360
(2004) – $193,324
DOHC 40-valve 3.6-liter V-8
425 bhp / 4.0 sec / 3152 lb
1999-2004 Ferrari 360 modena
(1999) – $170,000
DOHC 40-valve 3.6-liter V-8
395 bhp / 4.4 sec / 3091 lb
2005-09 Ferrari f430
(2005) – $180,785
DOHC 32-valve 4.3-liter V-8
483 bhp / 4.1 sec / 3380 lb
1989-94 Ferrari 348tb/ts
(1990) – $101,050
DOHC 32-valve 3.4-liter V-8
296 bhp / 6.0 sec / 3300 lb
1995-98 Ferrari 355
(1995) – $128,800
DOHC 32-valve 3.5-liter V-8
375 bhp / 4.5 sec / 3270 lb
1986-89 Ferrari 328 gtb/gts
(1986) – $63,370
DOHC 32-valve 3.2-liter V-8
260 bhp / 5.6 sec / 3090 lb
1985 Ferrari 288 gto
(1985) – $125,000
Twin-turbocharged and intercooled
DOHC 32-valve 2.9-liter V-8
394 bhp / 5.0 sec / 2280 lb
1983 Ferrari 208 gtbi/GTSi
(1983) – $30,000
16-valve 2.0-liter V-8
211 bhp / 8.0 sec (est) / 3320 lb (est)
1976-79 Ferrari 308
gtb/gts (gtbi/gtsi ‘80-’82)
(1977) – $28,780
DOHC 16-valve 2.9-liter V-8
240 bhp / 7.9 sec / 3110 lb
1983-85 Ferrari 308
(1983) – $59,500
DOHC 32-valve 2.9-liter V-8
230 bhp / 7.4 sec / 3320 lb
1967-69 Ferrari/dino 206 gt
(1967) – $10,000 (est)
DOHC 12-valve 2.0-liter V-6
180 bhp / 8.2 sec (est) / 2700 lb (est)
1969-73 Ferrari dino 246 gt/gts
(1972) – $14,700
DOHC 12-valve 2.4-liter V-6
195 bhp / 7.9 sec / 2770 lb
Ferrari design evolution can be seen on the official website, with smooth transformations in size, body, and style—using Enzo’s initial Ferrari concepts as a springboard.
Ferrari models differ in manufacturing by decade, starting from 1940-49 to present trends in 2010-19. The marriage of Enzo’s original vision with modern technology is clear when comparing any two models from different decades, such as the 1948 166 Inter and the 2010 SA APERTA:
Front, Longitudinal 60° V12
60 x 58.8 mm
92.0 x 75.2 mm (3.62 x 2.96 in)
499.9 cm3 (30.51 cu in)
5999 cm3 (366.08 cu in)
66 kW (90hp) at 5,600 rpm
493 kW (670 CV) at 8,250 rpm
620 Nm (63 kgm – 457 lbft) at 6,500 rpm
“All the innovations learnt from racing experience can find practical application in the normal production models.”– Enzo Ferrari
67 years after the first Ferrari was unveiled in 1947, and the company continues to build upon Enzo’s early success as a racecar driver and shaper of the Ferrari brand. Enzo believed from his time spent at the racetrack that all racecar applications could translate into superior street-ready vehicles. And he was right. The Ferrari brand was built on Enzo’s initial vision of crossover success:
Where does this leave Ferrari today?
In 2012, Ferrari solidified its standing as a luxury sports car manufacturer after revealing its best financial year in Ferrari history. Ferrari earned €2.433 billion, with sales up 8% in 2012. Ferrari delivered 7,318 cars within the year, boasting a boost in production at 4.5%.
Total Ferrari net profit was valued at €244 million with a 17.8% increase.
In 2012, Ferrari saw record sales in the US, Germany, Great Britain, and China. Ferrari confirmed that this reflected the
“best ever trading period in the company’s 66-year history.”
What’s more, Ferrari’s financial success beat the odds in many countries that were experiencing an economic slump. Ferrari Chairman Luca di Montezemolo added,
“We are all enormously proud of ending the year with these kinds of results despite the unfavourable economic backdrop in many European nations, and the distinctly hostile one in Italy.”
Montezemolo credited brand strength to Ferrari’s exceptional financial success—namely, the unique and prestigious brand created by Enzo Ferrari more than half a century earlier.
Ferrari clings to its successful roots, established by Enzo, while integrating new technologies to remain hot on the market. Ferrari recently patented a 4RM four-wheel-drive system that maintains better control by transmitting torque to all four wheels of a vehicle. Ferrari has further improved performance by introducing new technology in a brand-new GDI V12 engine, considered “the DNA of a thorough bred Ferrari” with sporty performance and comfortable driver control.
Ferrari maintains a strong presence on the racing circuit—honoring Enzo’s passion year after year. The most recent Ferrari race car to be unveiled was the 2014 Formula One car in red and black. The Ferrari F14 T is the 60th Formula One car produced by the company. The new design integrates a thin nose with a curved, open front and will be raced by the Italian Ferrari team in the hopes of winning the first F1 title in six years.
At the heart of every Ferrari is the spirit of Enzo himself. As a race car driver, Enzo kept his eye on the finish line and always pushed for first place. His brand follows in his footsteps with fresh innovations that reinvent the wheel time and again. Today’s Ferrari is fast, flashy, and luxurious, just as it was 60 years ago. Enzo did what he set out to do:
“I want to build a car that’s faster than all of them, and then I want to die.”