Enzo Ferrari was born 120 years ago

Enzo Anselmo Ferrari, the son of Alfredo and Adalgisa, was born in Modena on 18 February 1898. As a child, he showed an unbridled passion for cars (his father, after all, had a workshop…) and as an adult he went on to become not only a great car manufacturer but one of the world’s greatest representatives of the Italian spirit. He was also one of the most influential personalities of the 20th century.

Enzo Ferrari was thrilled by racing since his youth and raced himself at the age of 19. He had outstanding knowledge of performance of internal combustion engines in his youth and continued to build his first race car in 1919. Early in his career, he could present some successes and victories. After one year he received an appointment as a factory test rider at Construzioni Mecchaniche Nazionale, a plant where the a 15/20 HP model built, which was also put in races. Ferrari managed to drive the CMN vehicles in some Hillclimb to the front ranks, earning a good reputation for the brand. At the race in Parma Enzo Ferrari the CNM headed to the fourth place, a reason why Alfa Romeo approached Ferrari and recruited him as a factory driver. Already in 1920, was Enzo Ferrari chief factory driver for Alfa Romeo and won second place at the Targa Florio.

In 1929, Enzo Ferrari founded the Scuderia Ferrari based in the italian Modena. He assembled a team of drivers and technicians. First off the Scuderia Ferrari team the still raced on modified Alfa Romeo 8C models and thus became the external racing team of Alfa. The trademark of Scuderia Ferrari was the leaping horse on a yellow background, the “Cavallino rampante”. Soon successful drivers such as Tazio Novulari, Achille Varzi, Luigi Arcangeli, Antonio Brivio, Fagioli Borzacchini and among others also Louis Chiron joined the team. When Alfa Romeo again experienced an upturn after years of problems, Alfa Romeo wanted to return to the racing Department back in house. But Enzo Ferrari didn´t want to follow these plans and the break came. Alfa Romeo prohibited Enzo Ferrari contractually, to use the name Ferrari for vehicles for the next four years.

Enzo Ferrari founded the engineering company Avio Costruzioni Ferrari. But his passion for racing still remained. He opposed the agreements and built a new vehicle, the type 815, attending the Miglia Mille with the drivers Alberto Ascari and the Marchese di Modena 1940. But both drivers did not finish the race.

The second world war ended all race activities, because a there was no race and in 1944 the factory in Modena and partly destroyed. 1945 Enzo Ferrari was able to resume the production of race cars in the rebuilt factory. The plans for the first-ever genuine Ferrari were already on the table. In 1947 he was ready – the Ferrari 125 S was introduced.

To celebrate his 120th birth anniversary, a photographic exhibition has been organised at Enzo’s birthplace, within the complex that now houses the Enzo Ferrari Museum in Modena. It includes images depicting him at various stages of his life: from childhood to adulthood, from his career as a driver to that of a manager and manufacturer alongside unforgettable motor racing champions such as Nuvolari, Castellotti and Villeneuve.