The great car builder who dreamt of becoming what he became.
Enzo Ferrari: Power, Politics, and the Making of an Automotive Empire
By Luca Dal Monte, David Bull Publishing, 968 pgs
The Big Q: How could a country boy come from rural Italy early in the 20th Century to become the boss of a company that made the most elegant cars in the world?
The Big A: He did it!
And for about 75 years built and raced the fastest sports cars, F1 racers. The most elegant, sex cars in the world wear the Ferrari badge on their noses and the Prancing Black Stallion on their fenders.
It took him decades.
Enzo Ferrari began as a racecar driver, driving at such venues as the Mille Miglia and the Targa Florio. He drove such advanced cars in the 1920’s as Alfa Romeos.
Then he began work on his own cars, 1st sports cars, then F1 racers.
Then, he combined the 2 to make the fastest streetcars in the world, among the most expensive and always most elegant. He preferred them Red, and if you drive through Modena and Maranello; 2 northern Italian cities where these cars have always been made you will see the streets alive with Red Ferraris.
I do not know how to explain it. Perhaps they are running road tests on the finished product. Possibly, they are owned by the locals. Whatever, they certainly enliven the surroundings.
The Big Q2: How did this evolution take place?
The Big A: If you read Enzo Ferrari: Power, Politics, and the Making of an Automotive Empire, the recently released biography of Enzo Ferrari, you will learn that old Enzo was not so different from industrial figures you have read about as an American. “He was very close to an American mentality and culture….” He was an entrepreneur, “a shaker of ideas and men.” What is more, “He was an absolute marketing genius,” so says Luca di Montezemolo in his introduction to this wonderfully cosmopolitan book.
The book’s author, Luca Dal Monte, writes in surprisingly clear prose from a born Italian that Ferrari was a tough businessman, a hard bargainer, a constant seeker of the best for his product. But also “a romantic.” His cars showed his taste for adventure. Yet they also showed his taste for speed. He worked with many of the finest drivers in the world, Fangio, Ascari, Surtees. His relation with them was not always serene. But they gave him their best effort, and when several of them died from injuries incurred on the track Ferrari often grieved for months.
This book is the story of a man who, though completely Italian, mirrored American ways in a business that was amazingly successful. He also was America in his furious competitiveness spirit.
He said, “As someone who dreamed of becoming Ferrari.” He was a courageous businessman and a fierce competitor and his story is a great one.
By Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.
Paul Ebeling, Editor
Editor’s Note: Ferrari (NYSE:RACE) is the Aristocrat of the world’s automotive sector.
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