Happy Birthday, Enzo Ferrari, and Thank You!
Photography by Yoav Gilad for Petrolicious
Born on February 18th, 1898 near the town of Modena, tomorrow would be Mr. Enzo Ferrari’s birthday. Throughout his life he was deified, reviled, applauded, and disparaged. Whether you think he was a despotic autocrat who pitted drivers against one another or a passionate man obsessed with racing, one thing cannot be argued: he created a legend.
That legend, the brand that bears his name, was originally founded as Alfa Romeo’s racing arm under Enzo’s charge. But when his position within the company was marginalized he left to set up his own shop. Unfortunately, due to contractual obligations he was prohibited from building his own cars for four years at which point WWII was raging and his company had to produce war materiel for the fascist Italian government.
Finally, in 1947, Enzo launched the company that would, over time, become one of the most successful auto-racing manufacturers and recognized brands in the world. Their trophy case includes fourteen Le Mans victories (overall and class), over two hundred Formula One wins including sixteen constructors championships, and multiple privateer wins in several types of auto racing. Additionally, Ferrari is the only racing firm to compete continuously in F1 since 1950.
And although the road cars were always a means for Enzo to finance his racing program, their stylish exteriors, designed primarily by Pininfarina as well as Zagato and Bertone, are some of the most sensuous shapes ever crafted, helping to elevate the marque beyond the realm of mere transportation. Whether talking about a little Barchetta, elegant Spyder or hard-charging Boxer, the cavallino rampante in the grille speaks to taste, style and race-bred technology.