18 March 2022
Enzo Ferrari managed to turn utter devastation into gain during World War II.
In 1940, Enzo achieved one of his many goals; he entered two cars under the Scuderia Ferrari banner in the 1940 Mille Miglia. World War II broke out, terminating car racing and putting everything Enzo had dreamed at peril.
Not only his dreams of racing but his flourishing business and, indeed, his life appeared to be under threat. But Enzo, as only Enzo could, managed to ‘run with the hare and chase with the hounds.’
It is a less well-known fact about Mr Ferrari is that he was a member of the Benito Mussolini National Fascist Party; he wore the uniform of the Fascist Party on certain public occasions. Enzo did this to remain well thought of by those in power, securing his future and his much-loved business.
He also became attached to the Socialists Federation in the north of Italy and housed their head office.
Ferrari even used his Modena factory to manufacture devices for the Nazis and Mussolini, where he copied German Jung machines that produced ball bearings for military armaments.
There is a story about Enzo producing Jung machines for the Germans, which mysteriously went missing in a convoy raid by anti-fascist Partisan fighters. The partisans brought the machinery back to the Ferrari factory, the serial number plates replaced with new ones, only to be sold to the Germans again!
Even with his ingenious planning to pacify parties on both sides, there were attempts to have him executed. Allegedly Enzo negotiated with his potential killers and provided them with a large bag of money, allowing him to continue his empire-building during and after the war.