autoevolution
Car video reviews:
 
This Is What Happens When Ferrari Steps on People’s Toes
On February 18, 1898, one of the biggest names of the auto industry was born. Enzo Anselmo Giuseppe Maria Ferrari came into this world in Modena, Italy, during a severe snowstorm.

This Is What Happens When Ferrari Steps on People’s Toes

Ferruccio LamborghiniFord GT40Ferrari 412 T2Lamborghini 350 GTV PrototipoEnzo Ferrari, Carlo Chiti, Giotto Bizzarrini
Involved to some degree in motorsport from a young age – he was on the sidelines of the 1908 Circuito di Bologna at the age of 10 – Ferrari quickly grew into one of the most important names of the auto industry, giving birth, at first, to the Scuderia Ferrari Grand Prix racing team, and later to what is now one of the most prestigious marques in the industry.

Just like on the day he was born, Ferrari was chased by storms for most of his 90-decades long life. Storms that were not caused by others, but mostly by himself, his way of doing business, and the decisions he made.

During his life, Ferrari stepped on a lot of toes and even on some corpses, and the controversial legacy of the man endures to this day in his company.

As fate would have it, though, every time Ferrari pis*ed somebody off, something extraordinary happened, and new legends were born. Below are four of the most notorious instances of that happening.The Tractor Mechanic
Soon after he started building cars, Ferrari became a favorite among the rich folk of the era. Unlucky for the man, the rich folk of the era were also racers and such, hence quite good at spotting what’s wrong with the cars they drive.

One of Ferrari’s biggest fans back in the day was Ferruccio Lamborghini, a former Air Force soldier that made a business out of transforming decrepit military machines into farming equipment.

Having amassed quite a fortune from selling tractors, Lamborghini was wealthy enough to buy himself Ferraris and race them whenever he could. Also, having an eye for things mechanical, he soon found the cars he drove could need a little work, especially when it comes to the clutch.

In a stroke of genius, Lamborghini decided to tell Enzo how he could improve the cars he made. In a fit of rage, Ferrari responded he’ll take no advice from a tractor mechanic.

That response prompted Lamborghini into making his own car, and he presented it as the 350 GTV at the Turin Motor Show in October 1963. From that point onward, the tractor mechanic would challenge the design genius at every turn.

Family Affair

Enzo’s style of doing things was a danger not only when it comes to his dealings with other carmakers and partners. He also managed to anger his employees to the point of them jumping off the boat.

It happened during the same 1960s tumultuous decade, when a bunch of key people left the company because Enzo did not want to back down and restrict the influence his wife had on the business. The first to go was a sales manager by the name of Girolamo Gardini, who was fired by the head honcho.

What Enzo did not know was that Gardini was backed by a more prominent group of employees, including sports car development chief Giotto Bizzarrini, chief engineer Carlo Chiti, and Scuderia Ferrari manager Romolo Tavoni, among others.

They all left the company in 1961, and some of them went on to create the Automobili Turismo e Sport racing team. They didn’t last long as a team, but still managed to challenge Ferrari on the track as well. The Ugly Company with Ugly Cars
The 1960s were the perfect years for Ferrari to make enemies. Aside from Lamborghini, the Italian also managed to step on the toes attached to the feet of higher-ups at Ford.

At a time when the Blue Oval was trying to reinvent itself so that it could sit better with the desires of the Baby Boomer generation, an idea popped into the heads of the execs to buy Ferrari as a means to fill the sports car gap in the carmaker’s lineup.

The deal was initially well received by Ferrari, and the two sides nearly ended up sitting at the same table, pens in hand. Only that Enzo had a change of heart, and arguing that he didn’t like the idea of the Americans controlling the Ferrari budget, backed out of the deal and sold a majority stake to Fiat. He also threw in an insult in there, something about ugly company, ugly cars, ugly factory.

Ford had no other choice but to go local for their dream of a sports car, hire some local talent and come up with the Le Mans-winning GT40.The Patient Motorsport Rivals
In the history of motorsport there’s no separating Formula 1 from Ferrari. The Scuderia holds a number of incredibly hard to beat records, but for years a change was in the making.

When you look at the greater picture you can see that in the 70 years history of the series, Ferrari is the only F1 team to win the driver’s title 15 times (five of these titles were won thanks to the legendary Michael Schumacher). And being so good leads to some problems.

Growing cocky, and lacking the insight of Enzo himself, Ferrari failed to notice the vultures gathering above its heads. During the Ferrari domination years, other teams watched, learned and grew until eventually, despite the millions at the Scuderia's disposal, they overtook it. 

Three teams, Renault, Red Bull and Mercedes, trampled Ferrari in the series year after year since its last win in 2007. Mercedes in particular, managed to beat Ferrari's record of five consecutive wins, raising the bar to six right under our eyes. They did so by using a different strategy and a different vision than Ferrari, a team that even now, years after its domination ended, still seems clueless as to what is happening.

 
 
 
 
 

Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories