by Gino Rancati. 198pp. 81/2 x 51/2. (GT Foulis & Co Ltd, Sparkford, Yeovil, Somerset BA22 777. £9.95).
Following the death of Enzo Ferrari it is inevitable that books about the great man will appear; the Haynes Publishing Group is to be congratulated on getting this one by journalist Gino Rancati out so quickly.
Translated by Fergus McGrail, it is easy to read and contains reproductions of letters and telegrams which passed between Ferrari and the author, who was apparently the only close friend of this lonely man. On occasions one feels one has read some of it before, but this does not detract from what Rancati reveals about Ferrari’s attitude to his drivers, and about his personal life.
Some of the stories may have a touch of the apochryphal about them, such as the report that he thought the E-Type Jaguar the most beautiful car in the world and said he would have liked a Rolls-Royce if he could afford one! But much is disclosed also of Ferrari’s great regard for Nuvolari (and of a visit to his home in recent times), of his little-known “other” son, of the law-suit after de Portago’s fatal Mille Miglia crash and of a ransom attempt on Dino’s grave. Other tales concern the choice of a Peugeot 404 to drive Ferrari to the University of Bologna to receive his honorary degree in engineering, and Pope John-Paul II standing up in a Ferrari Mondiale Cabriolet driven by Enzo’s son Piero-Lardi when visiting Fiorano last year.
The author writes from the journalist’s angle, but where he is uncertain of Ferrari’s meaning or has to take two experts’ views of a situation he makes this clear. It is a book perhaps intended for general consumption but one which, with certain reservations and the thought that enthusiasts might well argue over some of Francati’s Inside” explanations of epic happenings, should be read before the flood of biographies arrives.
This account is complete to the Fiat take-over. There is no index, but the 20 photographs are good and sufficient. WB