Enzo Ferrari Biography

(Italian racing driver)

Birthday: February 18, 1898 (Aquarius)

Born In: Turin

Enzo Anselmo Ferrari had a passion for sports cars and racing from a very young age, courtesy of his father and big brother’s interest in racing cars. He was a hard-working and talented person who started as a test driver and built his own multinational company, the Ferrari. He had a great knowledge of cars and mechanics even without receiving any formal education in engineering or physics. His innovative talent and extensive knowledge got him honorary degrees from Bologna and Modena Universities, along with many other prizes and accolades from all over the world. He had built himself from scratch after the sad demise of his family members, at a very young age. He faced rejections and oppressive professional situations but the love for cars and craze for racing got him very far in life. He is the reason why we have such fast and luxurious cars on the road now as he did not only make cars for the race tracks but also for the road. He was very compassionate by nature and the stories about his caring for his drivers whenever they were injured are quite famous. He is often known as the man who invented the term ‘fast’.

Quick Facts

Italian Celebrities Born In February

Also Known As: Enzo Ferrari, il Commendatore, il Drake

Died At Age: 90


Spouse/Ex-: Laura Dominica Garello Ferrari (m. 1932–1978)

father: Alfredo

siblings: Alfredo

children: Alfredo Ferrari, Piero Ferrari

Born Country: Italy

Italian Men Aquarius Entrepreneurs

Died on: August 14, 1988

place of death: Maranello

City: Turin, Italy

Founder/Co-Founder: Ferrari

More Facts

awards: 1962 - Hammarskjöld Prize
1965 - Columbus Prize
1987 - De Gasperi Award

1994 - International Motorsports Hall of Fame

Childhood & Early Life

Enzo Ferrari was born on 18 February 1898 in the small town of Modena, Italy. He was born to a manufacturer called Alfredo Ferrari and grew up in Modena without any formal education.

He had a passion for race cars and race car driving from a very early age in his life and decided that he wanted to be a racing driver at the tender age of 10 when his father took him to see the 1908 Circuit di Bologna. He went to many other race car competitions after this and these competitions left a very strong impression on his mind.

In 1914, Ferrari started working as a teacher at the Lathe Operator School in the Modena fire brigade’s workshop.

During WWI, in 1916, both his father and brother died due to the outbreak of the Italian flu. Around the same time he was called to join the war and was assigned to the Third Alpine Regiment, Val Seriana. He contracted the 1918 flu pandemic, which led to his discharge during the end of the war.

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Upon getting a letter of recommendation from the military authorities, Ferrari applied for a job with Fiat in 1918. Unfortunately, there were no vacancies there at the time. But, he got a job as a test driver, in Turin, in a motor company that changed light trucks into chassis, collaborating with an Italo-Argentinian body shop in Milan.

In 1919, Enzo started working with a company called Costruzioni Meccaniche Nazionali, in Milan, as a test driver. But soon he was promoted to the post of a racing driver.

In the same year, he drove his first race in the Parma-Poggio di Berceto uphill race. He stood in the 4th position in the race. He participated in another race in the same year, the Targa Florio race but could not really achieve any great success in that too because of a problem with the fuel tank.

In 1920, he participated in the Targa Florio car race yet again, drove an Alfa Romeo, and stood in second position. This win was the beginning of his 20-year experience with Alfa Romeo where he first worked as a test driver, then a racing driver, then a sales staff member, and ultimately the head of the Alfa-Corse team.

In 1921, Ferrari took part in many races as an exclusive Alfa driver. He also met with his first accident in the same year during the Brescia Grand Prix when he staggered off the road in order to save a herd of cows crossing the route.

In 1923, he met with Count Baracca, Francesco Baracca, and Countess Baracca, on the occasion of winning his first Savio Circuit. He was gifted a photo with dedication and was encouraged to freely use their “Prancing Horse” as a mascot on his racing cars.

In 1929, he formed the Scuderia Ferrari Grand Prix racing team, which was the racing team for Alfa Romeo.

1931 was Ferrari’s last year as a racing driver. His last race was at the Three Provinces circuit where he came second, driving an Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 MM. Because of his increasing family and other professional commitments, he abandoned racing this year.

In 1933, due to financial constraints, Alfa stopped its association with Scuderia Ferrari. Alfa took control of its racing efforts in 1937 once again, and Ferrari was reduced to mere Director of Sports.

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In 1939, Ferrari left Alfa Romeo, agreeing on the terms that he will not use the name ‘Ferrari’ in relation to racing and racing cars for the next four years. In the same year, he founded his own company called Auto Avio Costruzioni, Modena, in a garage in Viale Trento e Trieste.

In 1940, he built cars for Mille Miglia in the main quarters of the old Scuderia. Around this time, during WWII Ferrari’s firm was forced to produce for Mussolini’s Fascist Government.

In 1951, Ferrari’s firm won its first Grand Prix with Jose Froilan Gonzalez at Silverstone. The company’s first championship was earned in 1952-53. This was the time when the company also started selling sports cars in order to finance its racing events.

In 1957, Ferrari and Englebert, the tire manufacturer, was charged with manslaughter when during Mille Miglia, Alfonso de Portago, driving Ferrari, died along with his co-driver when one of the tires blew. Nine people out of the audience were also killed. The prosecution was dismissed in 1961.

In 1969, Ferrari sold 50% of its shares to Fiat but Enzo Ferrari remained 100% in control of the racing endeavors. This offer was first made to Ford but Ferrari did not go forward with it, knowing that he would not be able to remain in control of the important decisions if he will involve Ford with his company.

In 1974, Ferrari retired from the position of managing director of the road car division’s position. He then nominated Luca Cordero di Montezemolo as the Formula One team manager and asked him to represent him at all the race meetings.

In 1982, Ferrari made sturdy cars and chose world-class drivers. Although Ferrari remained involved with Scuderia until his death, there were no more championships for Ferrari.

Major Works

In 1929, in Bologna, Ferrari proposed an idea to launch Scuderia Ferrari in Modena, at a dinner party. It was decided that its mission would be to give its shareholders a chance to race. The first shareholders of this company were the Caniato brothers from Ferrara, Mario Tadini, and Count Trossi. Soon this company replaced Alfa Romeo in matters of sporting activities.

In 1945, he started designing the first-ever ‘Ferrari’ car. He built the kind of engine for the car which later on became the hallmark of the brand.

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Awards & Achievements

In 1924, Ferrari was recognized by the state as a ‘Cavaliere’ for his valuable contribution to the field of sports, and in 1925 he was made a ‘Cavaliere Ufficiale’. In the same year, he founded ‘Corriere dello Sport’ in Bologna, catering to his passion for sports journalism.

In 1927, he was awarded the title of ‘Commendatore’ for his contribution to sports in Italy.

In 1952, Ferrari was awarded the title of ‘Cavaliere del Lavoro’ for his contribution to the car industry, helping to enhance the image of Italy in the world.

Personal Life & Legacy

In 1932, Ferrari married Laura Dominica Garello Ferrari. They had a son together called Alfredo ‘Dino’ Ferarri. He died from muscular dystrophy in 1956.

In 1945, Ferrari had a second son named Piero with his mistress Lina Lardi but it was in 1975 that he recognized Piero as his legal son, after Lina’s death.

In 1988, he died at the age of 90. His death was made public two days later


Ferrari was a recluse and hardly made any public appearances or gave any interviews. He was also known to be a workaholic.

Once when his driver, Nicki Lauda, injured himself during a race, Ferrari stayed alongside Lauda in order to comfort him.

Ferrari did not get a job with Fiat on the account that Ferrari was not sufficiently talented to work in car mechanics.

It is believed that Ferrari used to induce competition between his drivers and used to encourage them to be in the position of number one driver.

See the events in life of Enzo Ferrari in Chronological Order

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