Well ladies and gentlemen, for my first post as a Reckless Historian I’ve decided to discuss an area of history, which in my opinion, could use a bit more discussion. Historians like to discuss wars and great periods of change in history; from the Renaissance and the Reformation to internal Revolutions and World Wars. I have no quarrel with these topics in history, in fact I love them. However, the area of history which is constantly pulling me back; which always manages to grab my attention, is the history of the automotive world.
Perhaps more specifically, the world of foreign and exotic cars and international racing.
I think I’ll begin with an obscure bit of history that only a small few will know. It has to do with one of the greatest names in automotive history. His name sits emblazoned in golden lettering upon a red brick building in Maranello, Italy and his Prancing Horse guilds the famous scarlet red cars which his company creates. That man is Enzo Ferrari.
Personal histories of individuals intrigue me to no end, and this piece of Ferrari’s history caught my attention. “The Old Man”, as many called Enzo Ferrari, rarely used his full name in signature. Instead he simply wrote “Ferrari”. He would use his personal fountain pen…filled with purple ink. Instead of using black, blue or even the obvious choice of red, Mr. Ferrari signed in violet ink. Violet ink tied Ferrari to his past. Ferrari explained that “my father wrote with a copying pencil, because in those days the use of a letter-book was mandatory. My faithfulness to this memory will tell you why I use violet ink.” His father wrote with purple lead.
Historians often suggest and believe that history and its inhabitants are incredibly complex. One such figure was Ferrari Enzo. Very few are able to completely understand his actions and decisions. The writings from this Reckless Historian will begin by telling the history of Ferrari; of “Old Man Enzo”, of his company, and finally of his racing team. After that, the history of Formula 1 may follow or even the history of the “Blue Oval” who challenged Ferrari head-on in the 1960s’ and came out on top.
Perhaps I will go in a completely different direction of automotive history… who knows?
After all…we are Reckless Historians.
Quote cited from “The Ferrari Phenomenon” by Matt Stone and Luca Dal Monte. Published by David Bull Pulbishing in Phoenix Arizona. 2010