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Ferrari: The History of an Italian Legend
 by: Janette Vince

Ferraris are one of the most recognizable symbols of wealth and status in the world. Their history starts with Enzo Ferrari, the company’s founder. He never wanted to build racecars—he wanted to race himself.

Instead, Ferrari founded his company, Scudiera Ferrari, as a sponsorship company for racecar drivers. Originally independent, it soon became a division of Alfa Romeo.

During World War II, Alfa Romeo was taken over by Mussolini as part of the war effort. Ferrari left Alfa Romeo, but his company was forced to help the war effort by selling aircraft parts and machine tools.

Ferrari moved his factory to Meranello, where he started making racecars. The racing teams he sponsored became influential in racing from the end of World War II. He also began to make commercial sports cars to support his racing business.

Fiat bought a small share of the company in 1965. In 1969, they increased their share to 50%. Ferrari stayed on as managing director until the early 70’s. He died in 1988, at the age of 90.

Enzo Ferrari was known for his eccentricities, including his famous contempt for his commercial customers. He was upfront about the fact that he only built and sold commercial cars to fund the racing end of his business. Ferrari claimed to dislike his customers because they bought his cars for the status symbol, not for performance.

Fiat increased their stake in the company to 90% in 1988, after the founder’s death. Today, Fiat has an 85% share in the company. Enzo’s second son, Piero, owns 10% of the company and acts as Vice President.

Today, Enzo Ferrari’s cars live on as symbols of wealth and status, and his racecars continue to make an impact in the world’s most prestigious racing competitions.

About The Author

J Vince is director of the experience day business - for more information on a range of great motor-sport days out and experiences including Ferrari Driving experiences visit


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