Warrior legends ep. 3: enzo

2y ago


Some know of it's prestige and it's history. Others dream of the beauty that it's beasts posses. But few truly understand the religion that is Ferrari. And to think it's maker was born on 18th of February in 1898, above a small metal workshop in what would soon become the Mecca of driving: Modena, Italy.

His name would be Enzo Ferrari, the youngest in a family of 2 children. His older brother, Alfredo (Dino) Ferrari, died along with his father, Alfredo Sr. ,in 1916 leaving a single mother behind to take care of their youngest. Enzo himself described how in 1912 after seeing a picture of Ralph DePalma, an Italian race-car driver, at the Indianapolis 500, decided to become one himself. The legacy that is Ferrari being a simple repercussion of that little boy's dream born from a picture.

Listening to your 12-cylinder car gives off a harmony that no master will ever be able to execute.

Herbert von Karajan

As the determined man he was, Enzo sold his parents house and managed to buy a race-car. Before and during WWI such beasts were of great rarity and the nickname of 'Mad Ferrari' stayed with him for a while, in his youth in Modena. During his racing career he ended up working for Alfa Romeo where along-side a man named Tazio Nuvolari, one of the most fearless warriors that ever lived, managed to convince Alfa to let them race their P3 race-car under the Scuderia Ferrari name.

After winning the Gran Prix at Nurburgring in 1935, with slim-to-none odds, against the much more technologically-advanced car that Auto Union had made, Tazio Nuvolari left Alfa Romeo and went to race for the Germans. Enzo got fired by Alfa and decided he would soon build his own beasts under his own name.

At this point we all have to grasp the size of this man's will who with no money, no team and no prospects decided he would create metal beasts the world had never seen before. Legend goes that Enzo went to Vittorio Jano, the lead designer for Fiat, at the time, who loved the Turin-based car-maker very much, and managed to convince him his skills were wasting away building regular production cars. Enzo guaranteed Jano that at Ferrari he would be able to bring his true dreams to life. Sold by Enzo's passion and conviction, Jano agreed.

Vittorio Jano (glasses and hat) with Medardo Fantuzzi, who also moved to Ferrari from Maserati.

Together they went to Alfa Romeo, as Enzo promised Vittorio he would acquire their entire racing team. He forgot to mention the 'no money' part tho. That was not of great concern to Enzo. He was going to buy a racing-team with all their cars, equipment and mechanics nonetheless. As Alfa wanted Vittorio involved in their design department for a very, very long time, they trembled witnessing Enzo convinced Jano to leave Turin. All on the basis of simple words and promises that unimaginable beasts would come to life and so Alfa gave Enzo their racing team. Dreams do come true, I guess, you just have to believe.

In 1947 the first Ferrari badge-ed beast would come to life. Enzo used the prancing-horse logo as it was the same one his brother Dino's unit used in the army. The 125S was the first car made by Ferrari and it debuted on May 11th, 1947 at the Piacenza racing circuit. The beast had a superrior 5-speed transmission to cope with the V12, most of the competitors having 4-speed, V8 configurations.

The Ferrari 125S was powered by a 1.5 liter, V12 that produce 118 horses and only weighed 650 kg. Only 2 were ever made.

Enzo Ferrari might have hidden under those dark sunglasses, but underneath obscure lenses lied the eyes of a man who could bring people together like none other. He had the gift of seeing into your soul. If you didn't love cars like your own children there was no place for you at Ferrari. Enzo suffered a great loss after his son Dino, died at only 24 years of age. All the grief and suffering shifted the course of his entire life to the only children he had left. His mechanical beasts.By the 1950's Ferrari rose to massive heights, becoming an icon even among celebrities of the time due to it's racing success.

Meanwhile Gran Prix racing become more and more dangerous. Each season, out of 20 drivers, 3 or 4 would be killed in crashes. Imagine going 120-130 MPH in a car that had no front brakes, a very tiny body to cover the engine and a driver that was completely exposed and surrounded by petrol tanks. They were literally bombs on wheels, with no brakes, driven by mad-men at colossal speeds. What true warriors they had to have been to find the courage to drive those bomb-beasts considering the actual racetrack was just a normal road, closed to the public, which still had lots of trees, ditches and other life-ending things.

Enzo Ferrari believed the V12 is the only proper engine for a car and was very fixated on the idea of all important creations wearing the V12 heart. He also stated that Ferrari's V12 is unique because all their V12's are a derivation of the first one, built in 1946 which only had 1.500 cubic centimeters. A 1.5 liter V12. Imagine that! And to think such a tiny engine grew to be the heart of so many beasts to come, including the one that bares the genius's name, the Enzo.

Ferrari and Enzo should never be remembered in this order. There would be no first without the latter. How would we live without his V12 symphonies? Don't associate Enzo or Ferrari with simple flash or fast cars. Associate it with the fact that powerful dreams change the world. Remember the man. Remember the name. Pass on the legend.