The risks were huge as Ferrari’s factory workers operated
undercover at night, manufacturing and repairing weapons for
Italy’s Resistance fighters. While Enzo Ferrari was outwardly
cooperating with the German Army and the Fascists, he was
secretly assisting both Partisan and Communist guerilla units and
also carrying out covert assignments. One of these dangerous
missions required him to smuggle a senior political official to
safety, avoiding armed roadblocks and a probable firing squad if
they had been discovered.
Ferrari called this time “Judgment by Gunshot” after a colleague was machine-gunned in the street and, only weeks later, a business partner and close friend was kidnapped - and never seen again. Alarmed by these executions, Ferrari realised he could be next. A handwritten letter had already arrived confirming disgruntled Fascists had named Ferrari as a target for assassination. Later he was confronted by a messenger delivering an execution order from a political hit squad – or was it a gang of opportunistic mobsters at work?
Ferrari’s survival over those violent years allowed him to develop the business he created during the war into an automotive success - and to achieve global motorsport history. In addition to Ferrari’s planning and direction, the growth of his company also involved a small number of other charismatic, high-achieving individuals. These included Colombo, Chinetti, Pininfarina, Scaglietti and also Pat Hoare, a little-known New Zealand soldier serving in Italy. Hoare’s actions probably saved a key engineer’s life and helped shape the Ferrari company’s future. This is the story of those individuals and one attractive young woman.
The book also describes the resulting Italian influence, anecdotes and memories from New Zealand motorsport during the postwar years. This followed Pat Hoare’s return from Italy and what Enzo Ferrari’s considered was the personal debt owed to New Zealand.
New Zealand racing driver, Pat Hoare ... the story of how Enzo Ferrari and Hoare met in Italy during World War Two (Photograph courtesy of the Hoare family collection)