Ferrari and the 1918 Pandemic

Discussion in 'Ferrari Discussion (not model specific)' started by AustinDriver, Apr 28, 2020.

  1. AustinDriver

    AustinDriver Rookie

    Mar 11, 2018
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    While we are caught up (and hopefully emerging from) the great 2020 Coronavirus flu pandemic, I thought this historical tidbit was particularly interesting and relevant.

    During WWI, Enzo Ferrari lost his father and older brother to the widespread Spanish flu outbreak. While serving in the Italian Army, Enzo also became severely ill during the 1918 pandemic. After a lengthy recovery, and following the collapse of the family carpentry business, Ferrari moved to Milan finding a job with car manufacturer Costruzioni Meccaniche Nazionali (CMN). He worked his way up to driver competing in two formal races. His first race on October 5, 1919 saw him finish 11th overall (4th in category) driving the CMN 15/20 HP in the Parma to Poggio di Berceto hillclimb. The picture below is listed as from that race.

    We will never know much (or how little) the 1918 pandemic impacted his career, but it certainly seems to have been something of a catalyst.

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    CMN 15/20 HP
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  3. paulchua

    paulchua Cat Herder
    Moderator Owner

    Jul 1, 2013
    Menlo Park, CA
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    Paul Chua
    awesome photo, yes - indeed - Enzo's early life is quite tragic. For some pain and misery break them, for Enzo - it fueled him.

    Thanks for sharing.
  4. G. Pepper

    G. Pepper Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Mar 15, 2012
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    George Pepper
    Adversity tempers a man like steel is tempered by fire.
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  5. PhilNotHill

    PhilNotHill Two Time F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    Jul 3, 2006
    Aspen CO 81611
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    We are from strong stock. Millions died. Our ancestors survived.

    Hopefully we have learned since then.

    Thanks for posting.
  6. ag512bbi

    ag512bbi F1 Veteran
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    Nov 8, 2003
    So. Cal
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    Man, Thank God he lived thru it.
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  8. audi_328

    audi_328 Formula 3
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    Jul 13, 2005
    New Hampshire
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    Crazy to think of the effects that little twists of fate can have...Enzo could easily have died, and today no one would have known what they missed.

    The one I've thought most about, what if Hitler was killed instead of gassed (and recovered) during WW1? He would've been another name in a mile-long list of casualties, and today no one would think of him. Think of how different the 20th century would have been.
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