“His farewell Peugeot” or what Enzo Ferrari preferred to ride
“Want a car like Signor Ferrari?” To do this, it is not necessary to be a millionaire! Only $ 1992 and you will get the brand new FIAT 128 - the most popular car in Europe and the car that the owner of the legendary “Prancing Stallions” prefers to ride!”
As they say, it would be funny if it were not so sad. In 1969, Italy’s main industrial conglomerate - that is, FIAT - acquired a 50 percent stake in the nation’s main automobile treasury - Ferrari. Can this be called a de facto establishment of control over a company from Maranello?
Well, if by and large, then, perhaps ... At least now, old Enzo had to agree to sometimes unpleasant things. Among which will be participation in the advertising shoot of the first front-wheel drive subcompact FIAT - model 128.
And here Enzo, with his hands in the pockets of his coat, drills the lens of a vain photographer with his signature aquiline gaze from under his dark glasses. In the background, in the shadow of a giant man, the modest FIAT seems ready to strangle himself from his own insignificance.
“Please smile, Signor Ferrar!” - the guy with the camera asks with a plea in his voice. And the lips of a tired genius per millimeter creep out in a dismissive smirk.
Of course, whoever pays, he orders the music. Enzo understood this better than anyone else. The arms race in F1 demanded more and more funds, and access to FIAT's bottomless safes is obviously worth a few small humiliations, especially since Ferrari retained independence de jure.
Well, think about it, you'll have to take a picture next to a penny Turin hatch. It’s more annoying that you have to transfer from Peugeot to something else ... But what can’t you do for your favorite races?
Stop. Now wasn’t it cool ?! I think so very much. But how else to react to the fact that a person who could afford to drive any car in the world prefers a modest vehicle of the French bourgeois? Nevertheless, the fact, in the words of the Dolmatian hero, is something actual - Ferrari went to the Peugeot!
How did the “Commander” choose Peugeot?
It is fairly difficult to say for sure. Someone claims that Enzo first turned his attention to French cars thanks to his wife’s sister, who lived on the Cote d'Azur and drove a Peugeot.
Sounds like the truth? Not too much. So that the imperious, decisive Ferrari would just take and succumb to the influence of a relative on the wife's side? It is extremely doubtful ...
Rather, it is a matter of close friendly and business relations between Enzo Ferrari and Giovani Batisto Farina, nicknamed "Baby", that is, "Pinin". Among the works of the founder and owner of the Pininfarina body shop were not only Italian barquets and berlinets, but also French sedans.
They say that Enzo whispered a lot of good things about the spacious, comfortable, stylish Peugeot 404, and Martino Severi, a sharp dealer of the French brand from Interauto, as well as a good acquaintance of Enzo, fussed around and delivered the car to the main man Maranello.
It is curious that the 404th sedan, and it was originally about it, was in a fairly simple configuration. Classic three-volume notchback in light gray with a burgundy interior. They did not arrange any special improvements in Maranello.
Reservation of the body and windows, radio communication in the cabin - oh my god! The list of improvements was limited to installing the Nardi steering wheel and additional fog lamps from Lancia Flaminia. Everything is ready, chef, you can ride!
Theoretically, in place of the 404th, you can imagine any other sedan of that time: Italian, say, the same Lancia, or even Alfa Romeo or German, for example, Mercedes-Benz. But here's the hitch - all these brands in different years have become rivals of Ferrari on racetracks.
Well, what would Signor Ferrari look like if he was driving around from competitors? But Peugeot in this sense seemed an ideal choice - in the 60-70s, the French brand was fond of only rallies, which in turn were completely not interested in Enzo. It was a union made in heaven...
On the “Peugeot” Commander went for a long time.
When he himself is sitting behind the wheel, and sometimes sitting in the front passenger seat and passing control to his personal assistant, who successfully combined the functions of a driver and a security guard.
From February 1969 until August 1988, when Enzo was gone, this honorable role was played by Dino Tagliadzukki. Well, since 1972, when the big boss began to bother the knee joints and impaired vision more and more, he almost always sat on the right.
It must be said that the Peugeot 404 is far from the only “lion" that carried the leader of the "Prancing Stallions". In 1969, a blue Peugeot 504 sedan with a blue velor interior appeared in Enzo's personal garage, and after a while another Pininfarina's masterpiece, the Peugeot 504 Coupe, followed.
And only starting in 1973, Ferrari, no other than the internal order from Turin, was forced to transfer to Italian models.