The Enzo Behind the Enzo

Enzo Ferrari was born in Modena Italy on February 20, 1898 and died there on August 14, 1988. However, there is a mistake in his birth date. He was actually born on February 18 but due to heavy snowfall in the area, his father was unable to register the birth until February 20.

In 1908, when Enzo was ten years old, he attended several car races at the Circuit di Bologna and decided to become a racecar driver. This decision would mould a man who would forever live in the 'fast lane.' Enzo left school at an early age and starting working shoeing horses. In World War I he went into the army where he also worked as a blacksmith. He nearly died from the flu epidemic of 1917 and was discharged. After the war, he started test-driving for a small Italian automotive manufacturer and then began racing. Enzo won his first race in 1919.

In 1920, he joined Alfa Romeo where he held various jobs. He founded the Ferrari establishment in Modena in 1929 as a branch of Alfa Romeo. At the same time he was racing cars and winning.

He built the first Ferrari car, the Tipo 125, in 1946. The Countess Baracca presented Ferrari with her son's emblem, a black prancing horse. Francesco Baracca had been an ace pilot during World War I and was a national hero. The horse had been painted on the fuselage of Francesco's fighter aircraft. The Countess asked Enzo to use the image on his cars, as this would bring him good luck. Enzo mounted the black prancing horse on a yellow shield as yellow was the color of Modena.

In 1947, Enzo entered the Tipi 125 in the Grand Prix of Monaco and in 1951 he won the British Grand Prix.

However, tragedy struck his life in 1956 when his son, Dino, died from muscular dystrophy. This was to forever change Enzo's life. His marriage ended and he moved into a small apartment connected to his factory. He began working round the clock and soon turned into a workaholic. From that time forward Enzo always wore dark tinted sunglasses in memory of his son.

In 1969 Ferrari merged with Fiat as an equal partner and in 1988 Fiat became a majority partner.

However, throughout his life, Enzo was a colorful and often stubborn man. Supposedly Lamborghini, who at that time was in the tractor building industry, was a Ferrari customer. Lamborghini once complained about some problems with his Ferrari and Enzo told him to stay with tractors. It is interesting that a quote, which is attributed to Enzo, is "The client is not always right." One wonders if that statement may have resulted from the confrontation with Lamborghini.

And Ferrari said of his own creation, "The Ferrari is a dream. People dream of owning this special vehicle and for most people it will remain a dream apart from for those lucky few."

The name 'Enzo' was given to the 2003-04 model as a tribute to the company's founder.

Enzo also built a vocational school and a test and experiment track in Fiorana, Italy.

Source by Brenda Williams

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