Successive generations of Ferrari enthusiasts will only recognize the gentleman in a conservative suit with dark glasses. So, I decided to look at the period that made him a director, a boss, a manager – especially in the 20s and 30s. What he did during that time is rarely and always talked about.
One thing is for sure, Enzo Ferrari was a man who is unequivocally positive only in biographies written from the position of “his knees”. To begin with, the name “Ferrari” is not exclusive to certain regions of Italy. There is, for example, a Parmesan cheese producer with this name that has nothing to do with Maranello cars. In the areas around Modena, this surname may not be as popular as Kowalski in Poland, but it can easily be compared to surnames such as Jankowski or Król.
Enzo was born in February 1898, but his birth date was recorded two days late. Mainly because in Italy there was always a wrong attitude towards the procedures, because in winter there was snow and the roads were cut by avalanches. The boy’s father, Alfredo, ran a company that produced components for the railroad industry.
Enzo Ferrari faked almost everything
The creator of the Ferrari brand said about his father that he was just a poor worker and that he himself spent his childhood in poverty. In 1903, my father had his own car (De Dion Bouton), and Enzo and his brother Alfredo (called “Dino” from “Alfredino”) had a new Belgian FN bicycle and a flock of pigeons. This state of wealth does not indicate poverty.
At the beginning of the 19th and 20th centuries, Modena seems to be a sad city, known for Lambrusco and a local delicacy made from pig’s feet. The boy was brought up in a traditional Italian home where the father had complete obedience, where the mother was respected, the wife was neglected, and where it was considered that a woman could only be a saint or a prostitute. Men were generally not punished for adultery, and women were imprisoned for it. Such an environment certainly fostered the development of various passions.
Modena in 1904 photo: Comune di Modena
Little Enzo loved racing … like every Italian
For the first time, little Enzo saw a car race in 1908. His father took him near Bologna, where two great competitors raced on the streets around the city: Vincenzo Lancia and Felice Nazarro. Two years later, he saw another car race and later maintained that his childhood impressions influenced his life choices.
However, there was no sign of this in the young man. Enzo respected football and tried his hand as a sports journalist. As he later claimed, he dreamed of a career as a sports journalist, or an opera singer, or a racing driver, and he did not achieve great success in any of these areas. Raised in the spirit of the Catholic Church, he was not a religious person at all.
Without revealing any exceptional talent, Enzo lived like any other Italian boy. He loved bicycles, pigeons and racing. When World War I came, his brother Dino volunteered for the Italian Air Force and apparently served in the same unit, Squadriglia 91a, in which Francesco Baracca flew.
The Italian ace, whose Spad S. XIII wore the emblem of a kicking black horse on its fuselage, shot down 34 enemy planes before he himself died. Here’s a twist: as rumor has it, Baracca painted this logo on his fighter after he managed to shoot down a good German pilot from Stuttgart after a fierce aerial battle against Tolmezzo, whose logo was also a black, kicking horse. .
Ferrari brand logo photo: Andrew Link / RM Auctions
What? Is there the same horse on the Ferrari Porsche rock?
It is possible that the coats of arms of both sports brands have the same kicking horse … Another explanation is that there is such a mountain in the coat of arms of the noble family of Baracca, but it is too romantic for me, isn’t it. t is Especially since some sources claim that Baracca adopted this logo as a coat of arms only after beating the German …
As with any Enzo issue, it’s confusing. Many years later, he claimed that it was only in 1923 that he met the pilot’s widow, who “gave him the right to the logo”. It was not his, because it was the emblem of an Italian air force unit. There is a strong smell of linden here. Besides, he didn’t have a horse painted on a wagon for the first time until 1932, which doesn’t add up to all the lies. But let’s get back to reality.
During the war, Enzo’s father contracted pneumonia and died, and Enzo himself was drafted into the army, where he was assigned to shoe mules. There he got sick and almost died, spending a lot of time in the hospital. His brother, after leaving the army, became very weak, and when he died, Enzo Ferrari was almost completely alone.
He decided to find a job in the capital of the industry, Turin, specifically with Fiat. He did not seem interested in the political upheaval that rocked Italy: the activity of Marxism, the nationalist rhetoric of the poet D’Annunzio or the growing popularity of Mussolini’s Black Shirts. Enzo’s life purpose was to handle Enzo’s destiny.
Enzo Ferrari takes part in the first race image: Wikimedia Commons
Enzo Ferrari was fired from the Fiat factory with receipts
The Fiat factory, founded in 1899 and renamed FIAT SpA in 1907, was an industrial conglomerate wholly owned by the Agnelli royal family. In addition, it had a strong sports department. What kind of uneducated, sick, not very good to the people that Enzo expected, going there with a letter of recommendation to a colonel from the old army – it is unknown.
Somehow he managed to arrange a meeting with one of the engineers, who bluntly told him that Fiat could not provide jobs for thousands of ex-soldiers returning from the war. Convinced of his uniqueness, Enzo then roamed the streets of Turin, cursing the Agnelli family, whom he found guilty of his personal failure. Dismissing it from an engineer is considered an unforgivable insult. It’s not smart, but the unemployed Ferrari has vowed revenge against the industrial giant.
It was there that Enzo first showed the stubbornness and influence that became his hallmarks later in life. Using his father’s money (he insisted to some biographers that he was penniless at the time), he began hanging out in bars where racing drivers and, in general, celebrities from the automotive industry liked to hang out.
He got a job, of course after increasing his knowledge of mechanics, with a young man named Giovanni, who bought trucks used in the Italian army, removed the cargo boxes from them and collected the bodies of the passengers. The corrupt civilian market bought every piece of equipment. And so Ferrari, who probably got his driver’s license in the army (he also talked about something different every time), began to get experience as a driver, transporting trucks from Turin to the car body factory in Milan.
Car CMN 20 HP image: Wikimedia Commons
In the first race of Parma-Poggio di Berceto di Berceto, Ferrari reached the finish line
Ugo Sivocci, a former cyclist and then a famous car driver, arrived at one of the bars to which Ferrari stubbornly returned. Enzo was interested in him, until the Salerno-born mustache finally agreed that Ferrari, as his middleman, would start riding with him in mountain races and other sports competitions.
At that time Sivocci was a test driver for CMN (Costruzioni Meccaniche Nazionalia). The company initially produced four-wheel military trucks, and after the war it wanted to switch to the production of sports cars with better performance. Ferrari dutifully carried cans and tires, refined cars, but without wasting time.
He watched sports and learned to drive. On October 5, 1919, he made his debut on the Parma-Poggio di Berceto mountain race route as a member of the CMN sub-team. He did not make a big impression, he got only the fifth result in the class and a very distant result in the general classification, while Sivocci took the second place in the “general classification”. But he finished his first game at the finish line, in an undamaged car. It was already something.