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Enzo Ferrari
Enzo Ferrari at the wheel of a racing car.

Enzo Ferrari was known for his passion, wisdom and attention to detail, Ferrari started his career as a driver in 1919. His competitive debut was in the Parma-Poggio di Berceto hill climb race in which he finished fourth in the three-litre category at the wheel of a 2.3-litre 4-cylinder CMN 15/20.

In 1920, after a series of races in which he enjoys mixed fortunes at the wheel of an Isotta Fraschini 100/110 IM Corsa, Enzo finishes second in the Targa Florio in a 6-litre 4-cylinder Alfa Romeo Tipo 40/60. This marks the start of a 20-year collaboration with the marque that will see Ferrari do everything from test-driving to racing to dealing before finally being appointed head of the Alfa Corse racing division, a position he held until September 1939.

Enzo Ferrari at the Targa Florio in 1920. The car is an Alfa Romeo 40/60 HP Racing Type.

In 1929 Ferrari founded the Scuderia Ferrari in Modena. The main aim of this racing “stable” was to allow owner-drivers to race. Its foundation marks the start of a burst of frenetic sporting activity that will lead to the creation of an official team. The Scuderia fielded both cars (mainly Alfas) and motorbikes. In time it becomes a technical-racing outpost of Alfa Romeo and effectively takes over as its racing department in 1933.

On September 6th 1939, Enzo Ferrari leaves Alfa Romeo under the proviso that he does not use the Ferrari name in association with races or racing cars for at least four years. From that moment on, beating Alfa Romeo in one of his own cars becomes a passion. On September 13th Ferrari opens Auto Avio Costruzioni on Viale Trento Trieste in Modena, the headquarters of the old Scuderia Ferrari.

Enzo Ferrari and engineers (his son Alfredo to the left), perhaps with the new 1.5 litre V12 Colombo engine for the 1947 Ferrari 125 S s/n 01C. Estimate date to early 1947.

Ferrari begins work on designing the first Ferrari in late 1945. His ambitious plan is to power it with a V12 engine. In fact, this particular architecture would become a fixture throughout the company’s entire history. The reason Ferrari chosen a V12 was its versatility: it was just as suited to use on sports prototypes as single-seaters and even Grand Tourers.

On March 12th, he takes the car, now known as the 125 S, out for its first test-drive on the open road.

First Ferrari, the 1947 125S s/n 01C at the factory gates in Maranello. It debuted on 11 May 1947.

On 17 June 1923, a unique encounter intertwined the destinies of the Prancing Horse and Enzo Ferrari forever. Enzo Ferrari wrote about that encounter: ‘When I won my first Savio Circuit in Ravenna in 1923, I met Count Enrico Baracca and Countess Paolina, parents of the flying hero. One day the Countess said to me, “Ferrari, why don’t you put my son’s prancing horse on your cars? It’ll bring you good luck.” The Horse was and will always be black; I added the canary yellow background, the colour of the city of Modena.’

Still, the Prancing Horse symbol would not appear on Scuderia Ferrari cars until 9 July 1932. Of course, it was put on the Alfa Romeo cars used by Scuderia at the time. The event was the Spa 24 Hours, a classic endurance race held on the demanding circuit made up of roads linking villages in the Belgian Ardennes. That black Prancing Horse really did bring Ferrari luck – the race was dominated by the Scuderia’s 8C 2300 MM. Antonio Brivio and Eugenio Siena won, crossing the finish line just before the car driven by their team-mates, Piero Taruffi and Guido D’Ippolito.

Francesco Baracca, originator of the Prancing Horse. His original design is displayed to his right, painted on the side of his SPAD S.XIII aeroplane.

When Ferrari was founded in 1947, the car manufacturer took the emblem for its brand. Today it is stronger than ever and famous throughout the world. Naturally, it was seen on the 125 S, the first ever Ferrari, and it accompanied Franco Cortese to the Rome Grand Prix that year at the Terme di Caracalla circuit where he secured the first victory for a car built in Maranello.

Scuderia Ferrari and the illustrious Prancing Horse have become the most successful team in history. They have earned thousands of victories at the world’s most prestigious races, including Formula 1 ‒ where they have won 16 World Constructors’ titles and 15 World Drivers’ titles ‒ endurance races ‒ with nine victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, two at Daytona and five FIA WEC titles ‒ high-speed races and even rallies.

Franco Cortese driving the 1947 Ferrari 125 S s/n 01C as entry #128 on Circuito di Piacenza on May 11, 1947. He did not finish (DNF) in this first Ferrari’s first race.

By Elysian Studios

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