In 1943, the Ferrari plant opened officially in Maranello despite the complicated climate of the historical period, with the German occupation and the Resistance.
During 1943, Enzo Ferrari settled his business permanently in Maranello. It still bore the name of the first company founded in Modena, Auto Avio Costruzioni, and it did not yet produce racecars. For a town with an agricultural economy, this new company had some weight. The city saw in the new factory an opportunity for employment and earnings: in two years, the workforce of 40 employees who had followed Ferrari from Modena had grown to a total of 140, and all the new entries were citizens of Maranello.
But the war was still out there. The plant produced machine tools and hydraulic milling machines, the first to carry the symbol of the Prancing Horse and the typical stretched “F” from the name “Ferrari”. These machines were used for military purposes, and this was the reason why the factory was still open despite the conflict. Its employees even obtained permission for circulation after the curfew. Needless to say, to maintain the delicate balance, Enzo Ferrari had to be very astute and diplomatic.
Although people close to the Resistance accused him of collaborating with the Fascists, he hid weapons for the partisans under the roof of the factory. Sometimes the machines produced for the Germans were secretly and voluntarily sabotaged. At the same time, the conciliatory facade that they maintained with the forces in command allowed the plant to continue production, feeding the workers’ families. Forced by events and threatened on several fronts, Enzo Ferrari always travelled with his driver and the car windows were always covered by a curtain. He never slept in Maranello to avoid ambushes from one or the other faction.
Its wartime production brought the factory to become a sensitive target: between 1944 and 1945, it was partially destroyed by Allied bombs. However, when the war was almost over, and it was only a matter of a few months before Ferrari left the wartime business behind and started working on the dream of a lifetime: building racecars.
Gianni Rogliatti, “Maranello, Ferrari e… la sua gente”, Edizioni del Puntografico, Comune di Maranello
AAVV, a cura di ICARO progetti per l’Arte, “Enzo Ferrari & Maranello”, Città di Maranello