Enzo Ferrari was an Italian entrepreneur who founded the ‘Scuderia Ferrari Grand Prix’ motor racing team and afterwards the automobile brand, Ferrari. The ‘il Commendatore’ as he is often called, became a world renowned icon whose cars are seen as an insignia of luxury and wealth.
Enzo Ferrari was born on 18th February 1898 in Modena, Italy. He had little formal education but he was very interested in car racing. At 10, he saw the 1908 Circuit de Bologna and decided to become a racing driver. Enzo lost his father and brother to First World War and also became severely ill himself in the 1918 flu pandemic. Because of that he got discharged from the army service. When he came back home he found out that his family company had completely collapsed. After much searching, he found a job at a small company ‘CMN’ that turned used truck bodies to smaller passenger cars. He took up his passion of racing in 1919 and joined the CMN team but unfortunately had no real success. After he heard that Alfa Romeo was more successful with its racing cars he left CMN to work there in 1920. His first success came in 1923 when he won the ‘Prancing Horse’ badge.
Enzo won the ‘Coppa Acerbo’ in 1924 at Pescara. Upon seeing him gain successive victories in local races, Alfa offered him a chance in a more significant competition. However, Enzo Ferrari refused this offer and did not participate in a race till 1927. He looked over the manufacturing of the factory Alfa cars and gathered a team of 40 racing drivers. Enzo continued racing himself till 1932. He started facing problems when Alfa withdrew his support due to financial constraints. In 1937, Alfa demoted Enzo to Director of Sports which forced him to leave the company. Enzo Ferrari could not race or design a car for the next 4 years due to a contract with Alfa so he established a company that supplied parts to other racing teams. Enzo was very interested in the technical aspects of cars and being just a racing driver did not satisfy his drive for success.
In 1946, Enzo Ferrari manufactured the first car with his own name. His company ‘Ferrari’ thrived in the post war economy. He also participated in the Formula One Championships when they first began in 1950 and won the next year in the British Grand Prix. In the 1952-53 seasons Enzo’s team won the first F1 Championship. Ferrari got its biggest victories at ‘Le Mans’ and in 1960s in the ‘Grand Prix’. He remained highly dedicated to his company throughout his life. Ferrari produced some of the most stylish cars of that time however the company suffered some heavy losses in 1960s. Consequently most of the company was bought by ‘Fiat’ in 1969. Enzo was the President of the company till 1971 but he remained involved in the company affairs till his death in 1988. The Ferrari team did enjoy many successes even after his death.