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Enzo Ferrari – The Legendary Italian Driver Who Founded the Prancing Horse

Brief Overview and Profile

Full Name: Enzo Anselmo Giuseppe Maria Ferrari

Born: February 18, 1898 in Modena, Italy

Death: August 14, 1988 in Maranello, Italy

Spouse: Laura Dominica Garello (m. 1923-1978)

Children: 1 son, Alfredo "Alfredino" Ferrari

Net Worth: Estimated $100 million at time of death

Known For:

  • Italian race car driver in the 1920s
  • Founder of Scuderia Ferrari racing team in 1929
  • Founder and chairman of Ferrari automotive company
  • Creator of the iconic Ferrari sports car brand

Social Media:

  • Twitter: @ScuderiaFerrari
  • Instagram: @scuderiaferrari
  • Facebook: ScuderiaFerrari

Enzo Ferrari‘s Early Life and Passion for Racing

Born in 1898, Enzo Ferrari grew up in Modena, Italy in a middle class family. His father Alfredo, who ran a local metal fabrication workshop, took young Enzo to car and motorcycle races, sparking his interest in racing from an early age. Enzo had a rebellious streak, often getting into fights and skipping school to pursue his passions of opera and cars.

The death of his father and older brother Alfredo Jr. in 1916 was a traumatic event that drove 19-year-old Enzo to find work in the car industry. After serving in the Italian army in World War I, Ferrari landed a job in 1919 as a test driver for CMN (Costruzioni Meccaniche Nazionali). This launched his hands-on education in racing and automobiles.

Early Racing Career with Alfa Romeo

In 1920, Ferrari‘s talent earned him a move to the legendary Alfa Romeo racing division. There he quickly rose to become one of Alfa‘s top race car drivers, competing in hill climbs, grand prix races and the Targa Florio endurance race.

Ferrari admired Alfa‘s advanced engineering and soaked up knowledge from brilliant designers like Vittorio Jano. He craved ever more powerful and lighter cars to push to the limit on the track. Ferrari‘s bold driving style and Hungry ambition propelled him to racing fame and numerous podium finishes in the 1920s.

Creating Scuderia Ferrari and Dominating Racing

Enzo Ferrari founded his own racing team Scuderia Ferrari in 1929 after splitting from Alfa Romeo. Scuderia means "stable" in Italian, representing Ferrari‘s goal to assemble a team of champion racehorses.

The early Scuderia Ferrari team competed using Alfa Romeo cars. Ferrari‘s Alfa-powered cars won the Targa Florio endurance race in 1932 – the first major victory for Scuderia Ferrari. From 1934 to 1938, Ferrari‘s team and drivers dominated racing by securing five consecutive victories at the grueling 24 Hours of Le Mans race.

Launching Ferrari‘s Own Sports Car Manufacturing

In 1939, Enzo Ferrari secured financing from the wealthy Italian Piaggio family to start his own car manufacturing operation separate from Alfa Romeo. He established Auto Avio Costruzioni to produce aircraft parts in 1940.

Ferrari produced his first car model, the Ferrari 125 S sports car, in 1947. Enzo Ferrari formally founded Ferrari S.p.A. that same year, incorporating Scuderia Ferrari as the racing division and Ferrari Automobiles as the road car manufacturing arm.

The Ferrari 166 won Ferrari‘s first ever Grand Prix race in 1948, establishing the prancing horse as a rising force in racing. Enzo Ferrari concentrated on both racing and road cars throughout the late 1940s and 1950s. His passion and pursuit of engineering excellence resulted in dominant performances on the track along with beautiful, fast production sports cars.

Enzo‘s Dedication to Ferrari‘s Racing Program

Despite moving into manufacturing sleek road cars, racing remained Enzo Ferrari‘s true love and top priority. He once declared, "I don‘t care if I have to build cars or cook pasta for a living, as long as I can support racing, I‘ll be happy."

Enzo managed both Scuderia Ferrari and the road car division simultaneously, using the prestige and profits from Ferrari sports cars to fund his racing ambitions. Scuderia Ferrari won Ferrari‘s first Formula 1 Championship in 1952, followed by their first Constructor‘s Championship in 1961.

Ferrari‘s racing program earned multiple world titles across Formula 1, endurance racing and other circuits. Enzo Ferrari personally managed driver contracts, sponsored entries, and poured over details for every race. Engineers who could help Ferrari win took priority over those focused only on road models. With Enzo‘s leadership, Scuderia Ferrari became the most successful and storied team in racing history.

Passion for Design and Protecting the Ferrari Brand

Enzo Ferrari was intensely involved in the styling and engineering details of Ferrari‘s road cars. He worked closely with chief designers like Pininfarina and personally approved the shape and contours of every new model.

Ferrari insisted his cars maintain a strong visual lineage and rejected any dilution of the prancing horse logo. In 1963, a proposed buyout by the Ford Motor Company unraveled when Enzo realized he would sacrifice control of Scuderia Ferrari‘s racing operations. Maintaining the integrity of the Ferrari brand took top priority.

Enzo‘s Life Outside the World of Racing

Away from racing and auto manufacturing, Enzo Ferrari enjoyed a comfortable life in the later decades of his career. He built a large villa in Maranello in the 1950s located near the Ferrari factory. Enzo Ferrari was a great opera enthusiast, blasting his favorite classical compositions at high volume in his office. He attended over 100 opera performances at La Scala during his lifetime.

Ferrari also amassed an impressive personal art collection, adorning his villa with paintings by Italian Renaissance masters. He had a fondness for the 16th century painter Giovanni Bellini in particular. Enzo Ferrari devoted immense time to Ferrari, but still found occasion for pursuits beyond cars and racing.

Enzo‘s Death and Legacy as an Automotive Icon

Enzo Ferrari stepped back from daily company operations in the 1970s, but still reviewed and signed off on every Ferrari car design. He passed away on August 14, 1988 in Maranello at the age of 90.

Ferrari left behind a legendary luxury brand built through his sheer determination to create the world‘s finest sports cars and racing machines. Under his driven leadership, Ferrari had grown to employ over 1,500 staff, producing 7,000 cars per year and winning 25 World Championships across various racing series.

The streetcars bearing Enzo‘s name also gained renown as rolling supercars and status symbols. For founding one of automotive‘s most storied brands, and instilling the Ferrari ethos of racing glory and design excellence, Enzo Ferrari is revered as an icon decades after his death. The Prancing Horse continues to be a symbol of Italian passion and motorsport heritage.