February 18 – Happy Birthday, Enzo Ferrari

Posted on February 18, 2015

Enzo Ferrari loved race cars. From age 10, he wanted to be a race car driver. He had to overcome a lack of education, a lack of opportunities, the flu, and two wars to succeed in the car world – but he followed his bliss and made it!

Born on this date in 1898 in Modena, Italy, Ferrari saw a dangerous and exciting car race when he was ten years old. He decided right then and there that race car driving was what he wanted to do.

World War I found him in the artillery division of the Italian Army. Flu pandemics killed his father and a brother, and Enzo Ferrari became seriously ill as well—so ill, he was discharged from the army. He came home to find his family's business had collapsed.

Ferrari took on a series of car-related jobs ranging from redesigning used truck bodies into smaller cars to managing the development of race cars. In the meantime, he also entered competitions and local races. He raced from 1919 to 1932, with some success, and he also built up a team of over forty race car drivers.

Ferrari started his own company, eventually – but then another World War interceded. Ferrari was forced to do war production for Mussolini's fascist government, and it was only after the war that Ferrari could start making cars bearing his name.

At this point, Ferrari started to really take off. His cars and drivers succeeded in many races – his cars sold – he was able to sell part of his company to Fiat yet remain in control of the racing activities – and Ferrari himself managed to live to age 90.

This prancing horse logo came from
the fuselage of a wrecked plane of
an Italian WWI ace pilot. 
There is controversy surrounding Ferrari and his management and leadership style, and of course auto racing isn't the safest of occupations or hobbies. However, it is interesting to learn about a boy with few prospects but a passion following his dreams to success.

Also on this date:

Pluto Day

Stained-glass artist Louis Comfort Tiffany's birthday

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