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Enzo Ferrari - Biography

 
 

Enzo Ferrari was born at the 18th February 1898 in a small mountain village close to Modena in the north of Italy. There has been a huge amount of snow that it was not possible for his father Alfredo to register the birth of his son. Therefore the official date of birth is registered to the 20th February 1898.

Alfredo Ferrari worked beside agriculture in his blacksmith. He developed a close contact to the national railway company so he could expand his workshop and became self-employed. Due to his success Enzos Father became the first inhabitant of Modena who could afford a car. He integrated a car workshop into his business which became a good place for Enzo to learn all about cars.

During the first world war his father and his brother Alfredo Junior died. Enzo has been recruited to the army in 1917 and served as a smith. After the war he had to look out for a new job, because his fathers workshop didn't exist anymore.

At first he applied for a job at Fiat, but they declined because of his lacking qualification. Thereupon he found a job at a mechanical engineer in Turin, who reconstructed horse-drawn carriages and army vehicles into automobiles. In his new job Enzo got to know several people who dealt with motor sports. And when he met Ugo Sivocci, his passion for motor sports was raised. Sivocci worked as a test driver at CMN (Construzioni Meccaniche Nazionale), a company that reconstructed military vehicles as well. But they planned to construct more sportive cars, too. Enzo became a test driver at CMN and he became a race driver soon.

 
 

At the 5th of October 1919 Enzo Ferrari participates in a hill climb at Parma Poggio di Bercetta and became 4th. Enzo and Sivocci raced a lot for CMN until he changed to Alfa Romeo in 1920. He raced the Targa Florio in November and finished second at first go.
After several successful races Enzo won the Circuito del Savio in Savenna in 1923. After the race he was invited by the esteemed noble Baracca family. The countess dedicated the emblem of her deceased son to Enzo. Francesco Baracca has been a national hero of the first world war, the best Italian combat pilot. The black prancing horse should bring fortune to Enzo. Later on he placed a yellow layer behind the emblem, the colour of Modena.

 
 

Enzo more and more participates in the race car construction. In time he developed into a kind of team manager and engaged several highly qualified employees and constructing engineers, like Luigi Bazzi and Vittorio Jano. Lead-managed by Ferrari, they developed the Alfa Romeo P2, based on the P1. Equipped with a 8 cylinder in-line engine with supercharger, the P2 should become a successful car.
In 1925 finally Alfa won the world championship and the P2 dominated motor sports for several years.

 
 

Alfa Romeo BP3

Alfa Romeo BP3

 
 

In 1929, the racing department of Alfa Romeo has been split up from the automobile construction. The new department based in Modena was called "Scuderia Ferrari" and for the first time Enzo used his emblem with the cavallino rampante. Enzo again shaped up as a brilliant businessman and a clever manager who knows how to bring the right people together to get a successful result. So furthermore the Ferrari-constructed Alfas kept on winning.
From 1930 Tazio Nuvolari became a race driver for the Scuderia Ferrari. Despite several discrepancies between Enzo and Nuvolari a close cooperation began. With the birth of his son Alfredo "Dino" at the 19th February 1932 Enzo retired from active racing.

In 1935 Tazio Nuvolari surprised the spectators when he finished first against the five favored Mercedes and the four Auto-Union. Pushed by success Enzo Ferrari created a monster-car with two 8 cylinder engines, one in the front, one in the rear end. Nuvolari established a new speed record of 364 km/h with this car and a new average speed record of 323 km/h as well. However, there have been now more success against the powerful Mercedes and Enzo started together with Alfa-engineer Colombo an own project.

To get back into successful racing, Alfa Romeo purchased the project and launched the car in the remaining races of the 1938 season. Soon the relationship between Enzo and Alfa Romeo changed. The racing department should became re-integrated into the factory and named "Alfa Corse". Ferrari felt hemmed and after several conflicts Enzo and a few other employees finally left Alfa Romeo. But there was a race permit against Alfa Romeo for the next four years imposed on Ferrari.

Soon he established "Auto Avio Constuzione", a construction-consulting company. But already two years later, with Machiavelli and Alberto Ascari two Ferrari committed drivers participated in the "Mille Miglia". As Ferrari was not allowed to construct his own engine, he set up the two cars with Fiat-parts. The aluminium body around the 8 cylinder 1.5 litre engine was made by Carrozzeria Touring. Based on this data, the car was named 815.

With the the begin of world war II, Auto Avio Construzione expanded, because they worked for the army. As a result of the Italian decentralisation policy, the company moved in 1943 to Maranello. There Enzo employed 160 peopled at that time.

After the end of war, Enzo devoted to the cars.Colombo, Luigi Bazzi and others came back to join Enzo. Produced under the name of Auto Avio Construzione, the first Ferrari was built in 1947: the 125. The name Auto Avio Construzione existed until 1960, when the company became SocietÓ Esercizio Fabbriche Automobili e Corse (SAFAC).

Enzo always paid the most attention to the race cars. But to afford the high expenses of the race car development and the team, in 1948 he decided to build road cars for private customers. From that day on he was no longer successful in creating race cars, he also got famous for the wonderful road cars. The most successful series has been the great variety of the 250 cars.


Ferrari 250 GT SWB and Ferrari 250 GTO

But in 1950 another great race series was born beside the street- and hill climb races: the Formula 1. Ferrari was present from the first race until today. And they are the only team that builds their own engines, gearboxes and chassis.


Ferrari F1 87C

Enzo Ferrari has been a hard headed man, who always paid the most attention to the engine. The shape of the body, aerodynamics or even the chassis have been a rather minor matter. But in time he sometimes just had to change his mind, because otherwise he would have lost the competition. He was a delicate man, as the example with Lamborghini, a former customer shows.

Lamborghini has been one of the guys, who had no financial problems after the world war. He earned his money with constructing tractors. But he loved sport cars, and so he became a customer of Ferrari soon. But when he once talked to Enzo about the problems he got with his Ferrari, Enzo rejected with telling him he should better work at his tractors. Disgusted about Ferraris words, Lamborghini decided to construct his own sports cars. These cars made a big impact on the sports car world and far ahead of Ferrari. So Enzo had to react with equipping the road cars with the latest material. Because of that disc brakes or independent wheel suspension have been put on Ferrari very late.

But like this Ferrari made again one step forward. As the era of the mid-engine cars began, Ferrari has been very sceptic, but then he had to comply, whereby one of the most exciting Ferrari where built.


Ferrari F40

Enzo Ferrari died at the 14th of August 1988 in Modena, only weeks after completely retired from the Scuderia Ferrari. Race cars have been his life, but he gave us the fantastic road cars as well, in which the fascination Ferrari will life forever.

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