Back on February 18 1898, a man was born on the outskirts of Modena in Italy. Little did his parents know that he would go on to change automotive history forever.
Enzo Anselmo Ferrari was his name.
When he was ten-years-old, Enzo and his brother Alfredo took his father to watch a motor race at the circuit on Via Emilia in Bologna, according to Ferrari’s website on their founder. This event would spark his passion for cars.
Unfortunately for Enzo, 1916 came along. This is the year when both his father and brother passed away. He then had to give up his studies and work for a living. Then, even worse news came along when World War I commenced. Enzo would go on to serve in the military until he was honorably discharged due to an illness that required he undergo surgery.
However, things began to look up after that point. Sure, getting turned down by Fiat was a setback, but he eventually started his career as a test-driver and transitioned to a competitive racer. He would then go on to compete in numerous races, winning along the way.
In 1929, magic happened when he founded Scuderia Ferrari. His idea behind the company was to “allow owner-drivers to race,” says Ferrari’s website. Scuderia would soon take over Alfa Romeo’s racing department in 1933.
Because of his prior agreements, he was not allowed to use the Ferrari name when he left Alfa Romeo. This sparked his passion to beat Alfa Romeo in one of his very own cars.
Maranello became the home of Ferrari in 1943. Although it was out of his hands, the factory was bombed twice but was quickly built up again in 1945. This is also the year when he began designing the very first Ferrari. The Ferrari 125 S was then debuted on March 12, 1947 and it would become the very first vehicle Ferrari would ever make.
Enzo Ferrari would go on to run the Italian automaker– giving only 50% of his stake in the company to Fiat Group in 1969– until his death in on August 14, 1988. He was 90-years-old.
While the F40 was the last car created under his management, Enzo’s passion is etched in every Ferrari built today. Whether it be the new LaFerrari or the Enzo, each Ferrari speaks to the love he had for the auto that all began when he saw that motor race at such a young age.
Without Enzo Ferrari, the automotive industry would not be what it is now, and we would like to take this time to celebrate his life.