An ode to Enzo Ferrari – the King of Speed

The former Italian race car driver and founder of Ferrari minted Italy as an internationally renowned luxury automobile producer

Born in Modena, Italy in 1898, Enzo Ferrari's life would be defined by a need for speed. Drawn to racing from an early age, he excelled at both driving cars and designing them – he would found both the Scuderia Ferrari racing team and the brand that bears his name.


Ferrari was inspired to become a race car driver at the age of 10 after witnessing the spectacle of the 1908 Circuito di Bologna, a Grand Prix car race. Ferrari's early life was marked by turmoil. He served in World War I, survived the 1918 flu pandemic that took his father and his older brother, and saw his family's business collapse. In 1920, he became a race car driver for the Alfa Romeo Company, fulfilling his racing dream with a staggering four Grand Prix wins in two years. In 1929, Ferrari was knighted for his sporting merits and founded "Scuderia Ferrari" (Ferrari Racing Team), a sporting society that eventually became an affiliation of Alfa Romeo. The prancing horse on their shields was modeled after a necklace given by the fighter pilot Francesco Baracca to Ferrari's mother. The racing cars have been painted in rosso corsa ("race red") since the 1920s to honor their Italian origin.

Enzo Ferrari, Peter Collins, Grand Prix of Italy, Monza, 02 September 1956. Enzo Ferrari and Peter Collins. (Photo by Bernard Cahier/Getty Images)

Ferrari went on to make his fortune with the Ferrari sports cars line, establishing a decades-long automobile legacy in Italy and around the world that persists with force today. He passed away in 1988 at the age of 90, leaving behind a car line that has not only continued to dominate competitions worldwide, but has also achieved fame and luxury status for its iconic appearance. 

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America Domani is the most comprehensive platform for Italian and Italian American news, food, travel, style, entertainment and sports content.

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