Enzo Ferrari insulted a tractor driver and created a fierce rival!
Ferrari and Lamborghini: two Italian Supercars that became household names in the 20th century, both synonymous with wealth, luxury, and speed. The horse and bull have long been rivals, ever since two Italian men from Emilia-Romagna had a clash of egos.
Ferruccio Lamborghini was born into a family of grape farmers, and was always interested in mechanics. After serving in the air force during World War II, Ferruccio took advantage of the post-war need for agriculture supplies by repurposing military machines into tractors. When his tractor business brought him wealth and success, he did what many middle-aged men dream of and in 1958 bought a Ferrari (along with a few other luxury cars of course, but it’s the Ferrari that concerns this story). Ferruccio was happy indulging his passion for cars and even tried his hand at racing once, but because he knew a little something about mechanics, he couldn’t help but notice a few things that he would change. For Ferruccio's taste the Ferrari was too noisy and rough for use on the road, and it had an inferior clutch that often needed repairing.
In the early 1960s Enzo Ferrari and his cars were arguably the reigning superpower of luxury sports cars. Ferruccio Lamborghini took his complaints about his Ferrari all the way to Enzo, who didn’t exactly appreciate being given technical notes from a young tractor manufacturer. When Enzo told him as much, a rivalry was born and Ferruccio’s hobby of driving fast cars turned into a passion for vindication.
Driven by Enzo’s insult, Ferruccio got to work designing his car, and in just 4 months unveiled the Lamborghini 350 GTV at the Turin Motor Show in October 1963. By the end of 1964 Lamborghini sold his first 13 cars (renamed 350 GT), and although he did so at a loss to keep prices competitive with Ferrari, the humble tractor manufacturer proved to be a formidable rival over the years. It all goes to show that no matter how successful, it’s never a good idea to underestimate your critics!