Enzo Ferrari was born in 1898 in Modena Italy. His father, Alfredo, ran a local metal-blacksmith business who forged axles for the Italian railways. When he was 10 his father took Ferrari and his brother Alfredo Jr. to an automobile race in Bologna.
There he saw Vincenzo Lancia battle Felice Nazzaro in the 1908 Circuit di Bologna. After attending a number of other races he decided that he too wanted to become a racing car driver. Ferrari’s formal education was relatively sketchy, something that he would regret in his later years. In 1916 tragedy, which would haunt Ferrari his entire life, struck his family to its core with the death of his father and brother in the same year.
He spent World War I shoeing mules but the world-wide flu of 1918 brought upon his discharge and almost ended his life. Looking for work he applied for a job at Fiat only to be turned down. Ferrari nearly starved for lack of work, something that would be seared into his consciousness. Eventually he was able to get a job at Lancia, at that time a small carmaker involved with converting war surplus. His duties included test driving which he did in between delivering chassis to the coach builder.
Also Read | Ayrton Senna Profile and his Formula 1 Career
On one of his visits to Milan he met Ugo Sivocci, a test driver for Costruzioni Meccaniche Nazionali. He would later join Sivocci in the 1919 Targa Florio. Their adventure began before the race even started when on the run down from Sicily they were chased by a pack of wolves which Ferrari fought off with his old service revolver. During the race it was more a matter of surviving the roads, wind and rain than any hopes for glory. On the final lap however it was a speech given by the Provincial Governor in one of the small villages and a contingent of carabinieri that finally blocked their progress enough so that they were unable to finish the race in the allotted time. Sivocci and Ferrari did perform well enough to be offered a job with Alfa Romeo who in turn entered some modified production cars in the 1920 Targa Florio.
Ferrari driving one of these cars managed to finish second and first in class. While at Alfa Romeo he came under the patronage of Giorgio Rimini who was Nicola Romeo’s aide. In 1923 he was racing and winning at the Circuit of Sivocci at Ravenna when he met the father of the legendary Italian WWI ace Francesco Baracca. The senior Baracca was enamored with the courage and audacity of the young Ferrari and presented the young driver with his son’s squadron badge, which was the famous Prancing Horse on a yellow shield. In 1924 he scored his greatest victory, winning the Coppa Acerbo.
He Fought In World War One.
He Lost His Son Dino At The Age of 24.
His Father Was Not A Racer, But He Inspired Enzo Into Building Cars.
He Lost His Father To The 1916 Flu.
He Suffered From Claustrophobia.
The Last Car He Personally Approved Was The F40.
He Started Racing At The Age 20.
Aerodynamics Are For People Who Can't Build Engines.
He Deeply Mourned The Death Of Gilles Villeneuve.
The Ferrari Emblem Has A Glorious History
In image: Enzo Ferrari with Gilles Villeneuve
Also Read | Alain Prost Profile and his Formula 1 Career
Over the course of his lifetime, his cars won more than 4,000 races and claimed 13 world championships. In recognition of his accomplishments, he was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 199.