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Enzo and the Mini

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#1 tonicco

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 21:28

I've just read a Mike Lawrence's article where, not so much to my amazement, but with some surprise, I've found that "In the 1960s Enzo's preferred road car was the Mini Cooper. When he wanted to clear his mind, he'd go for blast in the mountains in his Mini. Regardless of what you read in the classic car magazines, Ferrari road cars were then not that great. "

Can anyone elaborate a little bit in Enzo Ferrari's preference for the Mini? - It seems fascinating to me that that man under which name some of the most powerful cars were built at the time preferred to drive around in a such a different car...


#2 Don Capps

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 22:10

My few experiences in riding in a Ferrari of the 60's era are basically memories of them not being all that great, especially as a passenger. I do know that unless things have changed with the recent ones, street Ferraris can be a colossal pain in the ass to live with -- lots of maintenance, tempermental, finicky, often poor constructed, and generally best suited for the Franklin Mint sorts.... Yes, they are great to impress the proletariat with, but as much I would like a 250 LM simply on the basis of its looks, I would take a GT-40 over it any day. I have had some neat, high-performance cars and I prefer neat, reliable cars much more...

#3 dretceterini

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 23:48

Enzo also used a Fiat 128 from time to time and said he liked it. Don't know if it was a personal car or owned by the company..

#4 stuartbrs

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Posted 22 February 2003 - 03:26

Ive heard this story too. Enzo was not impressed with John Coopers early rear engined Grand Prix cars...and its always seemed strange to me that one of his favourite road cars happened to be one of Cooper`s....

Was it Classic cars that recently got Jaques Villenueve into a Mini? A car in which he subsequently had a ball and loved it. Ill try to dig the article out later.

I really must fix mine ( bloody home renovations keeping me from the fun things in life ) and go for a "make me smile" blast :

#5 Roger Clark

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Posted 22 February 2003 - 08:50

I don't think I've ever seen a picture of Enzo Ferrari driving one of his own cars, either road or racing. Has anyone?

#6 dmj

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Posted 22 February 2003 - 10:10

In early days of the company Enzo used to drive his own products but later it seems he more or less leftit to youngsters. However, there is a story that 288 GTO was developed becouse Italian law prevents older than some age (70 or 75) to drive any cars with more than 3000 ccm. So, after authorities didn't want to make an exception he was banned from driving his own products. Apparently then he ordered his engineers to develop fastest car in the world but with less than 3000 ccm capacity... Whether it is just another Ferrari legend, I don't know.

He apparently loved Minis, once I read that he had as much as five (C&SC, 95-96, one with red Cooper on the cover - I borrowed it to a Mini fan and he "lost" it. There was a pic of Enzo with Mini, too...) John Surtees mentions Ferrari's passion for his Cooper, being quotet in Richard Williams' book on Enzo.

And here is a nice quote from the same book: "And about eleven o'clock he would summon Dino (his chauffeur) to drive him to Maranello. The car would seldom be a Ferrari. Usually it would be something relatively humble - it had been a little Lancia Ardea in the early days, or a Fiat 1100, for a while even a Mini-Cooper. There had once been a Renault that amused him because it gave the driver messages: please close the door, please fasten your belt, your oil is running out. He wanted to buy it, but Renault, naturally, wanted to give it to him as a present, for the prestige - Mr Ferrari drives a Renault! He said, no, I want to buy it. I don't want it as a present. But if you give me 50 per cent off, I'll buy it."

Which type of Renault it could be? 25?

#7 Roger Clark

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Posted 22 February 2003 - 10:28

Originally posted by bertocchi
One of many.


Driving? Not a posed publicity shot.

#8 David T.

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Posted 23 February 2003 - 20:07

Enzo Ferrari owned a Mini because it had given to him by Alec Issigonis as a present. As for Enzo Ferrari driving his own private cars, Autosprint magazine used to publish plenty in the 70s and 80s. In particular I remember several photos of Ferrari driving his metallic blue Ferrari 400i.