Ferruccio Lamborghini was the founder of a tractor factory that brought him huge financial success after WWII. By his 60’s, he was a rich, happy man, and like other rich and happy men of the time, he owned a Ferrari.
You’d think a luxury car would be engineered with custom parts, but Lamborghini, a mechanic himself, realized that his Ferrari 250 GT was in fact made with many of the same basic parts as his tractors — and it was part of the reason why he was often forced to take his car in for repairs.
Cheap materials in luxury vehicles confounded him, so when he met Enzo Ferrari, founder and creator of Ferrari sports cars, he naturally brought up the issue.
Two successful men talking over sports cars should have a respectable exchange, but legend has it that Enzo Ferrari, a race car driver turned manufacturer, responded with little humility, saying:
“The problem is not with the car but with driver.”
In other words, stick to your tractors, son.
It must have been a real moment, because that spectacular Italian insult changed automotive history forever.
In less than 6 months, Lamborghini bought land just outside the racing city of Bologna, built a modern manufacturing plant on it, created the first Lamborghini 350 GTV luxury sports car, and took Ferrari head on in what may have been the greatest clap back ever.
So who’s the real legend here? A race car driver whose love of fast cars pulsed through his blood?… or the self-made mechanic who showed that racer what real sports cars were about?
You can call yourself a legend, or you can make legendary moves. Lamborghini didn’t build a car. He took it upon himself to correct the course of the sports car industry.
But even more importantly, he built a brand on his belief of what it means to be an entrepreneur.