Scuderia Ferrari where founded in 1929 by Enzo Ferrari, in the beginning he was building race cars for others but in 1939 he started production under his own name.
Enzo Ferrari was born in 1898 in the northern Italy in Modena about 35 km from Bologna. Enzo Ferrari’s father owned a little smithy and he wanted the boy to become an engineer but Enzo would much rather become a journalist. The dream of becoming a journalist lasted until the day where Enzo’s father took him to see a race in Bologna after that Enzo had no doubt – he wanted to be a race driver.
The decision of becoming a race driver was made difficult to Enzo especially when his father and older brother died within a few months in 1916 and 1917. The 1st World War also made a temporary stop to his dream; the Italian army called up Ferrari where he served as a smith. But his health was quite fragile so he spend almost an equal amount of time in various military hospitals as he did on being a soldier, as a result of this he was relieved from duty in 1918.
After the war he tried to get employment at Fiat, but the application was turned down. He then got employment at a small engineer company in Turin. The company was rebuilding vehicles from military to civilian use. It was Ferrari’s job to drive the cars to Milan where they were fitted with a new coach where after Ferrari would drive the cars back to Turin. In Milan he met Ugo Sivocci who was a race driver and Sivocci got Ferrari in to his organisation as a second driver and finally Ferrari had become a race driver. His debut was in 1919 where he became number 9 in the hill race Parma Poggio de Berceta.
In 1920 Ferrari made a shift to Alfa, a better team where his placings got mutual better, but his weak health was the cause why he never became a great race driver. In contrast had Alfa discovered that Ferrari was in possession of great managing skills so he was hired as manager for the factory team in 1923.
After a brilliant victory at Ravenna Ferrari in 1923 received the coat of arms with the rearing stallion, which had belonged to the Italian freedom fighter Francesco Baracca who was killed at the end of World War 1.
After receiving this honour, all cars build or made ready by Ferrari was hereafter decorated with this coat of arms. That is why the mark can be seen on some of Alfa’s cars from that period.
With Ferrari as team manager Alfa became the most successful Italian race team and this of course attracted a bunch of talented people. Among others Ferrari got hold of two really competent people: the constructor Luigi Bazzi and the designer Vittorio Jano, both men came from Fiat
By the help from contacts he had established as a race driver Ferrari in 1929 gathered enough means to start his Scuderia Ferrari, at first the Scuderia was a sports department mainly for Alfa. In the 1930’s Alfa got into financially problems and officially abandoned motor sport, but Scuderia Ferrari continued the work and became the unofficial factory team.
Scuderia Ferrari achieved to become even more successful than Alfa itself had been, Ferrari was dominant on all the racetracks round the world until Mercedes and Auto Union (today: Audi) made their debut. With enormous support from Nazi Germany these makes where almost invincible even for Ferrari. This lasted up to the beginning of World War II.
Economical things went better for Alfa and in 1938 they again got an official factory team and again Ferrari was made the team manager but tolerance had never been Ferrari ‘s trademark. At Alfa he couldn’t choose his own employees and in the Spanish born constructor Wilfredo Richardt Ferrari had met his equal in the extent of arrogance.
The two men at last where so abrupt to each other that things had to go wrong. Only one year after the set up of the new factory team Ferrari left the team in 1939 with a golden handshake and with the clause that he for the next four years wasn’t allowed to establish his own race team. Alfa was very well aware of what Ferrari was capable of achieving.
But Ferrari apparently had a short memory, because as early as 1940 he opened a consulting firm with the name Auto Avio Construzione in his hometown of Modena. As mentioned Ferrari did not have the best memory, so he was building to small race cars based on Fiat. The cars where not named neither with Ferrari’s nor Auto Avio Construzione’s names, instead they where named 815, a number which stands for the number of cylinders and the engine’s volume. A type of naming which has been given to many of Ferrari’s sports cars.
2nd World War stopped the production of cars and when the war had ended in 1945 Ferrari was free of any of the clauses Alfa put on him.
Ferrari wanted to participate in races and the cars where to have V12 engines, but he wasn’t ready with a race car until the Italian Grand Prix in 1948.
At the beginning it went slow but Ferrari was headstrong and he worked his way up into the elite. In 1952 Ferrari took the first five places at the Monaco Grand Prix with a Ferrari 225S.
In 1952-53 Ferrari initiated a co-operation with the design bureau Pininfarina (www.pininfarina.com). Pininfarina's design of Ferrari’s cars where so good that this co-operation has lasted ever since. Pininfarina has designed most of Ferrari’s cars since then and it must be admitted that they have done a pretty good job of it.
To cope with the increasing demand for sports cars and to overcome the increase in the cost of developing new race cars, especially after the involvement in Formula 1, Enzo Ferrari in 1969 sold 50% of his shares to Fiat. A little ironic when it is considered that Fiat didn’t want to engage Ferrari in 1919. The 13th of November 1969 the company was renamed Ferrari S.p.A. Esercizio Fabricche Automobili e Corse.
Enzo Ferrari was still and until his death in 1988 the one who completely made the decisions at Ferrari
Few have as Enzo Ferrari meant so much for the automotive world. He was capable of marking the development through 65 years, at first in charge of Alfa’s factory team and then as manager for his own very successful concern. He made Ferrari to the one the others wanted to look alike or to beat. Scuderia Ferrari became the yardstick the others where measured by.
In 1988 after the death of Enzo Ferrari the family sold another 40% to Fiat, so today Fiat owns 90% of the shares and the Ferrari family the remaining 10%.
Even though Enzo Ferrari no longer is behind the wheel, the company is still working in his spirit; they produce the most outstanding sports cars and the quickest Formula 1 race cars. Even when Ferrari has a bad year in Formula 1 they still achieve to be among top 3 a remarkable performance.
To us Ferrari fans it is so much more enjoyable that Ferrari in the past years not only have had the best cars but also the best drivers, so they are up where they belong – at the top of the rostrum.
In mid-2002 Ferrari (FIAT) sold 35% of its
shares to the Italian bank Mediobanca in an effort to raise capital to so the
company can maintain its dominance in Formula 1 and keep on developing sports
My three personal favourites are:
Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso (1962-64).
Ferrari F50 (1995).
Ferrari 550 Maranello (2000-2002).