When talking about cars, it is impossible not to talk about Ferrari. And as in the best oral traditions, someone decided to set those words down in books to tell the story of the car make based in Maranello, the only one not to have ever skipped an edition of the F1 World Championship - winning 16 World Manufacturers’ Championship Titles and 15 Drivers Titles - and which celebrated 90 years of business last year.
It was established by Enzo Ferrari, one of the most famous Italians in the world who defined himself as an “agitator of men and talent”. Many books have been dedicated to him and to what he created, some of which are almost unfindable. Such as the famous “Piloti, che gente” which he wrote for Conti Editore in 1985 or “Ferrari. Testimone del tempo”, penned by Enzo Biagi in 1980 for CDE.
BIAGI AND RANCATI
Enzo Biagi, one of the greatest Italian journalists, was a sincere admirer of Ferrari and like him he came from Emilia. He defined him as a “captain with a small army of followers” and interviewed him several times for RAI, and went on to become good friends with him. The most comprehensive and sincere book is perhaps “Ferrari, the Drake. Storia di un instancabile sognatore” which he wrote for Rizzoli (reprinted by BUR in 2018), with a preface by Luca di Montezemolo. Another excellent biographer of the magician from Maranello was Gino Rancati, one of the ‘pens’ par excellence of the automotive industry, until he passed away in 1998. His “Ferrari, l’unico” (Giorgio Nada Editore, 1988) is perhaps somewhat too personal yet a fun read, in the light of an affectionate friendship stained by bouts of turbulent stormy weather.
HIS FAMOUS SAYINGS
Besides, Ferrari was a genius, yet not with an easy temper. He admitted this in his books. In addition to “Piloti che gente” the first worth the purchase (in our opinion, of course) is: “Le mie gioie terribili”, edited in 1962 and reprinted by Mondadori in October 2016, updated with what he then wrote in “Ferrari 80” and accompanied by a beautiful introduction by Piero Ferrari. The founder’s son also wrote the preface to an original book by Pino Allievi, the historic ‘reporter’ for the Gazzetta dello Sport for the F1 World Championship. The title is “Il secondo è il primo dei perdenti: Enzo Ferrari in parole sue” (Rizzoli, 2014) and it ranges from the world of racing, to the (tough) relationship with journalists, through to more private affairs. Quoting an array of famous sayings, it takes you into the history of the automotive world. Starting, specifically, with the one that gave the book its title.
Drivers Alberto Ascari and Nino Farina on Ferrari 375 equipped with Pirelli tires at the Valentino Grand Prix, 1952
The image is part of the company's historical heritage preserved in the Fondazione Pirelli’s Historical Archive www.fondazionepirelli.org
Relations with drivers were vital in the history of Ferrari. Umberto Zapelloni illustrates them in “Ferrari, gli uomini d’oro del Cavallino” (Giorgio Nada Editore, 2019). Aside from Schumacher and Raikkonen (who came after his demise), the other world champions were tied to the Drake by specific affairs, with various ups and downs: we will thus uncover what Ascari, Lauda, Fangio, Harthorn, Hill, Surtees, Scheckter meant to him. Last but not least, we definitely recommend “Ferrari Rex” by Luca Dal Monte (Giorgio Nada Editore, 2016). A monumental task both in terms of contents and as far as the size of the book is concerned, which took eight years of research and five years to draft. A Ferrari fan down to the core and employed in Maranello for four years, the author tells the story of the man and of the namesake racing team, providing a host of unprecedented curious facts for all in more than a thousand pages.