Bravo Enzo

The Design Museum of London is exploring the fascinating universe of Ferrari, the iconic brand regarded as the haute couture of car manufacturing. One of the great design stories of all times.
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he young man with protruding eyes set wide apart, who is looking at the camera enthusiastically, is driving an Alfa Romeo, the company for which he would work and for which he competed as a racer in the Tour of Sicily. This Italian born in Modena, the son of a metalworker and the grandson of a butcher, smiles as he holds the steering wheel and seems relieved, hopeful, perhaps sensing that his life is about to change and that the worst has already happened. It is 1920 and the fellow with the panoramic look has survived a war. He has lost his father and brother, has contracted a disease that almost killed him, has been jobless several times and is alone. He is 22 years old and his hopeful soul is not misguiding him. He is in the right time and place, and he is going to take advantage of it.

Professional success does not elude Enzo Ferrari. He worked in any job around. Tester dell’automobile, mechanic, racer, salesman, headhunter of the best engineers working for the competition, he even worked as a journalist. In no time he had created a profitable network of distributors in different regions of the country. He set up a racing team in his name. But the young man with the prominent eyes had to wait to achieve his prime objective, to fulfil the dream that had obsessed him since he was a boy. He had to wait a long time. Three decades. He had to withstand another war and reach almost 50 years old before he got what he really wanted: to win races with his own car.

An elite car appeared and fulfilled the dreams of the 10-year-old boy who had watched Vicenzo Lancia compete in the Coppa Florio. The first roar of the first Ferrari launched one of the most thrilling automobile adventures in the industrial age

The Design Museum of London is celebrating the 70th anniversary of the creation of the first Ferrari. The car dubbed the 125 S – an exact replica of which opens the exhibition – was dreamt up in 1945 in an Italy in ruins and came to light two years later. When the climate of austerity fostered the advent of scooters and simple utility vehicles, the obsession of this man, by now mature, respected the feared, nicknamed il Commendatore, il Cavalliere or il Capo, materialised.  An elite car appeared and fulfilled the dreams of the 10-year-old boy who had watched Vicenzo Lancia compete in the Coppa Florio. The first roar of the first Ferrari launched one of the most thrilling automobile adventures in the industrial age.

Ferrari 166-195 Sport Coupé MM Figurino a colori 13

UNDER THE SKIN

With this title, the exhibition seeks to show that the DNA of a Ferrari does not lie in its appearance, in its skin, in the bright red. The precise, detailed hand-drawings, the scale models made of clay or wood, the clear explanations of the design process prove it. Il Commendattore put it quite clearly: “With my car is, they’ll never say what a shame it didn’t win, it’s so beautiful. No one remembers who came in second”.

Enzo Ferrari surrounded himself not only with the best engineers of his day but also with those who were endowed with an innate Italian sense of aesthetics, as well as with draughtsmen trained in classical art schools. And he had a single motto: Just like a sculptor has to be familiar with a human skeleton to sculpt a body, so the design of a Ferrari should spring from the perfect relationship among all its components – the engineer, the gear box, the axes, the chassis. The quest for the ideal weight and mechanical purity should be based, from the very first layout, on the car’s underlying geometry.

Peter Sellers, Alain Delon, Steve MacQueen, Roberto Rossellini, Ingrid Bergman and Roger Vadim are some of the celebrities who succumbed to this desire and contributed to elevating the name of a car to become something greater, intangible, an identity in the collective imagination

412-T2 drawing 1995

PATRICIA URQUIOLA AND PENTAGRAM DESIGN

The brilliant duo between the head of 3-D design, the prestigious Asturian architect Patricia Urquiola, and the now-legendary communication and graphic design studio Pentagram Design could only generate such a world-class show: precise, understandable and visually highly attractive. The itinerary is organised via six major themes – Enzo Ferrari. The Cars. The Clients. Racing. Design and Engineering. The Future – and the models, prototypes, chasses and 14 Ferrari models exhibited appear at every step in just the right place in an almost intimate atmosphere which at times turns them into sculptures or design pieces, and the majority of times in veritable objects of desire.

Peter Sellers, Alain Delon, Steve MacQueen, Roberto Rossellini, Ingrid Bergman and Roger Vadim are some of the celebrities who succumbed to this desire and contributed to elevating the name of a car to become something greater, intangible, an identity in the collective imagination. These celebrities reserved their models, placed an order, an invoice, signed a bill and turned vulgar documents into precious testimonies which, saved until now by private collectors or in the Ferrari Museum of Maranello, are being shown to the public for the first time.

THE LEGEND

Enzo was an enigma to everyone who dealt with him. Distant, somewhat arrogant. Suddenly accessible at times. Gifted with dealing with the press. One day he donned sunglasses and he never took them off. Wearing them, he attended to – or not – his American customers – Clint Eastwood, Sammy Davis Junior, Paul Newman – the majority of whom believed he was an aristocrat. The legend followed its course.

Enzo never flew in an airplane and barely left Italy. He was irritated just by the idea of taking a vacation. The mortal accidents which his racing team unfortunately suffered from always tormented him; he lost friends and race-car drivers and was criticised and sued several times for it, although he was always absolved. The last 30 years of his life he stopped attending the races where his cars were competing. That ingenuous adolescent look disappeared quickly. But his dream came true beyond his wildest expectations.

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, 2010

Featured photos:

  1. Enzo Ferrari at the Targa Florio in 1920. – The car is an Alfa Romeo 40-60 HP Racing Type
  2. 125 S is positioned at the entrance of the Ferrari factory, 1947
  3. Enzo Ferrari with the 125 S in the courtyard of Fabbrica. At the wheel is Ferdinando Nando Righetti
  4. Meeting on the 20th Anniversary of the 250 GTO. In the picture deployment of GTOs in the estate of Pierre Bardinon
  5. Ferrari 275 GTB 4 by Scaglietti with Steve McQueen, 1967 _Image Courtesy of RM Auctions
  6. Crafting of clay design model of Ferrari J50
  7. Visit to Ferrari – Mick Jagger, leader of the Rolling Stones, on the delivery of his GTO
  8. Kimi Raikkonen at Russian Grand Prix at Sochi
  9. Enzo Ferrari at the entrance of the Ferrari Factory, 1957