Editorial Features

Ferrari 70 Years, One Hell of an Anniversary Gift

by | Jan 29, 2018

Ferrari 70 Years

Author: Dennis Alder

Publisher: Motor Books

Price: $40.00

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The history of Ferrari bears resemblance to the history of all things Italian. It is bedecked in drama, shadowed by failure and setback, borne from passion, romance and impossible dreams and, ultimately, a legacy upon which young children of all ages will one day set their hopes and fantasies. In his new release, Ferrari 70 Years, Dennis Adler understands all that and so much more.

From where we sit today, it is almost impossible to imagine a world in which the Ferrari does not exist. The sleek lines, the familiar red stroke, the roar of an excited engine, have all become synonymous with speed, luxury and romance. The Ferrari has long been a dreamer’s car, something all aspire toward, but few actually reach, a symbol of the grandiose and decadent and indulgent lives we all fantasize about as we lay awake late into the night. 

But, of course, that has not always been the case. In his 70th anniversary homage to this king of cars, Adler takes us back to before the beginning, when a young Enzo Ferrari was still simply learning the chops that would one day make him a household name. He weaves through the early years, a birth in 1898, a first visit to the race track ten years later, tales of loss and passion and drive that led Ferrari to Alfa Romeo in those first days, where the passion for speed, power and strength was stoked into a roaring flame.

You could simply look at the pictures. After all, is there anything more striking in the world than photographs of early Ferraris out on the racetrack, of dashboards that make your heart beat just a little bit faster, of the striking yellow and red bodies that make your fingers tingle? Adler is responsible for the photography throughout the book as well, melding it with a combination of new and old, vintage racing photographs, memorabilia, advertisements. His skill with a camera, when it comes to capturing the beauty of some of the most beautiful cars ever produced, is nearly unparalleled.

Nearly.

Because you could simply look at the pictures. You could. But it would be a waste. Because Dennis Adler doesn’t simply tell a history. He weaves a tale as huge and abstract as the perils of war and the human condition and as small and somehow still universal as the grief of a father at the loss of his son, as the evolution of a front fascia from something fleeting to something permanently etched into the history books and our hearts.

Ferrari is so much more than a single man and so much more than a car. It is a narrative of wartime, of art, engineering, design, and perseverance. It is the tale of the middle-aged man who could have retired after his long-loved Alfa Romeo volun-told him to hit the road, but who instead gathered around himself smarter men and women, and created a movement – a legacy.

When you read this book, you feel as though you have become part of the ride, part of that shifting, turning tide of time and design and society that Ferrari weathered and bested time and again.

Adler is an impeccable writer. He shares all the information the obsessive enthusiast wants to know, but the reader’s eyes never glaze over the numbers and never skip the chronological facts. Instead, the reader trusts him from the start, on matters of family, history and the near impossible. The research is strong and unique and provides insight we rarely get into the early days of such a remarkable company. 

Yes, I could tell you about the specific races Ferrari won, or the way Adler approaches the sometimes strained but always brilliant relationship between Enzo and Luigi Chinetti, but you can get all that information elsewhere too. No, what’s different about this book, what makes this book particularly special, is that feeling, that sense of opening the book and knowing you are about to embark upon a wild ride.

Dennis Adler lets the romance of Ferrari’s story speak for itself. Is there anything more fitting for a book about some the most beautiful, important, powerful cars ever produced? I don’t think so.

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