Enzo Ferrari is dead. The man who bore the most famous name in motor racing passed away at his home in Modena in August. He was in his 91st year.
Throughout the 41 years that cars have been built bearing on their grilles the yellow badge with its rampant black horse, the word Ferrari has come to be accepted as the symbol of uncompromised performance. Ferraris have contested Grands Prix in every season for four decades, the sports-cars made Le Mans their own year after year, and for many years the road cars were true sports-racers which brought their own glamour to a name which in itself was commonplace enough.
That his own name should always have been kept in the focus of public attention reflects the organising and promotion skills of the man who began in racing as a moderately successful driver, became the manager of the most successful racing team in Europe, and single-mindedly went on to topple that same marque, Alfa Romeo, from the winner’s circle after the Second World War. He employed as drivers and designers only the best men, and dispensed with them the moment they failed or rebelled against his will.
Though the company eventually became part of the huge Fiat empire, Enzo Ferrari continued to devote himself to his true passion, Grand Prix racing, until the end. His cars have rarely been innovative, but they have been the flag-bearers of Italian pride in its automotive industry and in motor racing worldwide.
A full appreciation will follow next month.