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Enzo Ferrari: "You can't describe passion, you can only live it"

Motor Valley Stories
Enzo Ferrari:

Enzo Anselmo Ferrari (Modena, 18 February 1898 - Modena, 14 August 1988) was an Italian entrepreneur, engineer and car driver, founder of the car company that bears his name, whose sports section, the Scuderia Ferrari, conquered, whilst he was alive, 9 Formula 1 World Championships and 15 total in total. His father owned a metalworking workshop, with around 30 employees involved in the construction of bridges and sheds for the state's railways.

At the age of 10, Enzo was taken by his father, together with his brother Alfredo, to attend a car race on the Bologna circuit, on the Via Emilia. The race was won by Felice Nazzaro (Vincenzo Lancia made the fastest lap) and the young Enzo was impressed. In 1916 a double tragedy hit the family: the death of his father and brother. Following the death of his father he interrupted his studies and found a job as an instructor in the Modena firemen workshop. The following year he became a soldier during the First World War and was assigned to the III ° Alpine Artillery. Affected by a serious illness he underwent two operations and was dismissed.


Once his health was restored, Enzo submitted an application to work at Fiat in Turin but to no avail. At the end of 1918, still in Turin, he found employment as a tester at a small company that made the sought-after "Torpedo" starting from light truck chassis. In 1919, Enzo found a new job in Milan, at the C.M.N (National Mechanical Engineering), first as a test driver and later as a racing driver. He made his debut in the 1919 race in the uphill race Parma-Poggio di Berceto, finishing fourth in the three-liter category driving a 4-cylinder, 2.3-liter, CMN 15/20. In the same year, on November 23rd, he participated in the Targa Florio but was unsuccessful due to a problem in the fuel tank that made him lose over forty minutes.

In 1920, after a series of races at the helm of an Isotta Fraschini 100/110 IM Corsa, Enzo came second overall at the Targa Florio driving an Alfa Romeo, 6 liter, 4 cylinders, type 40/60 . Thus began a collaboration with the company from Biscione that lasted over twenty years and that led him to fill the positions of test, pilot, commercial collaborator and, finally, director of the Alfa Corse department until September 1939.

As an official driver of the Alfa, Ferrari took part in several races, with some positive results, such as the 5th place at the Targa Florio, in May, and the 2nd place at the Mugello Circuit, in July. In that year he also reported his first real accident: on the eve of the Grand Prix in Brescia, in September, he swerved off the road to avoid a herd of oxen that was crossing the route of the race.

In 1923, Ferrari won the first Savio Circuit, where he met Count Baracca, father of the famous Italian Aviator, Francesco Baracca. Later also met the Countess Baracca, who gave him a signed photo and an invitation to use the "" Cavallino "" as a lucky charm on his cars.

In 1924 Enzo Ferrari obtained his first official recognition from the State, receiving the position of Knight for sporting merits, becoming, then, in 1925, Official Knight. His passion for journalism led him to become one of the founders, in Bologna, of the "Corriere dello Sport" newspaper, while in 1927 he received the title of Commendatore, as recognition for the services rendered to the country in the sports field. In the same year, on June 5th, he won the 1st Modena Circuit with the Alfa Romeo 6C-1500 SS.

On May 20, 1928 Enzo won the 2nd Circuit of Modena, still at the wheel of an Alfa Romeo 6C- 1500 SS and in 1929 he founded in Modena the "" Scuderia Ferrari "", a sports club whose aim was to allow its members to race. This marked the beginning of an intense competitive activity that led to the establishment of an official team. The Scuderia competed both with cars, especially Alfa Romeo, and with motorcycles; over time it became a technical-competitive branch of Alfa Romeo, which was replaced in 1933 with the management of sporting activities.

1931 was the year of his last race as a driver. On the 9th of August 1931 at the Tre Province circuit, Ferrari arrived second, driving an Alfa Romeo 8C -2300 MM, behind Nuvolari. The birth of Alfredo "Dino" (19 January 1932) and his ever-increasing commitments as director of the Scuderia led him to decide to retire from racing. A few years later, in 1937, Scuderia Ferrari built the Alfa Romeo 158 "" Alfetta "" which dominated international competitions but at the end of 1937 the Scuderia Ferrari was dissolved. At the beginning of 1938, Enzo Ferrai assumed the role of Director of Alfa Corse, returned to competitions and moved to Milan.

On 6 September 1939, Enzo Ferrari left Alfa Romeo, bound by the clause not to use the Ferrari name associated with racing and racing cars for at least four years. From that day on, beating Alfa Romeo with a car built by him became his goal. On 13 September he founded the Auto Avio Costruzioni in Modena in Viale Trento Trieste, the same headquarters of the former Scuderia Ferrari.

In 1943, at the height of the war, the Auto Avio Costruzioni moved from Modena to Maranello, where the first part of the Ferrari headquarters was built. The workshop, however, was bombed on November 4, 1944 and again hit in the following February but was immediately rebuilt and at the end of 1945 the complete design of the first "Ferrari" car began.

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