Released at cinemas on 26 December, the Enzo Ferrari biopic starring Adam Driver looks set to blur automotive thrills and poignant human drama. With soundbites, cast reveals and stories from the movie set, who better to profile this new blockbuster than Windrush’s supercar storage team?
Supercar marques rise and fall, but since 1939, Ferrari has never left the public imagination or popular culture. While last month’s sale of a 1962 250 GTO at Sotheby’s New York for $51.7 million (the second-most-expensive car ever sold at auction) suggests the Italian manufacturer’s kudos has never been higher, that’s underlined by the anticipation surrounding the 26 December release of Ferrari.
Starring Adam Driver as Enzo Ferrari, director Michael Mann’s biopic promises to get under the skin of the late company founder and entrepreneur, not only telling the high-octane story of the make-or-break Mille Miglia of 1957 that put Ferrari on the map, but the near-penury and personal tragedies behind the glory.
Given that we’ve welcomed more than a few Italian stallions to our classic car storage in London and the Cotswolds, the Windrush team hasn’t been this excited about a motorsport movie since 2019’s Ford V Ferrari (even if the blue oval won out on that occasion). Here’s everything you need to know.
Strangely enough, given the subject matter, the Ferrari movie has taken the slow lane to its 2023 release. Already well-known for classics including The Last Of The Mohicans and Heat, director Michael Mann first floated the concept back in 2000, while everyone from Christian Bale to Hugh Jackson has been attached to the project in the role of Enzo. Neither star stuck around, but Star Wars’ Adam Driver finally got Ferrari over the line, with Penélope Cruz playing his wife Laura, Shailene Woodley as the magnate’s mistress Lina Lardi, and real-life British racing driver Ben Collins as the legendary Stirling Moss.
But perhaps the seeds of the Ferrari movie were planted even earlier. For 80-year-old Mann, the film represents a love letter to the obsession that has consumed him for a lifetime. “I was at film school in London,” the director reflected to Vulture of seeing his first Ferrari. “I wasn’t that interested in cars. But this Ferrari was different. This was like, I don’t know, a piece of sculpture that suddenly is moving like some beast, savage and beautiful and exquisite…”
Triumph and tragedy
While the Ferrari movie could have picked up the thread at any number of moments in the marque’s rollercoaster story, Mann has chosen the tumultuous flashpoint of the mid-‘50s, when Enzo’s personal and professional life lurched between dizzying highs and devastating lows. The company’s first car – the 125 S – had debuted a decade earlier to race-winning acclaim and orders were flying in from across Europe.
Fast-forward to the ’50s, however, and the Ferrari company was teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, while Enzo was grieving the shattering loss of his beloved 24-year-old son, Dino, who passed in June 1956 to what historians believe was either muscular dystrophy or leukaemia. Heartbreakingly, on the day of his death, the racing svengali wrote just four words in his notebook: “The match is lost”.
But perhaps it wasn’t all over yet. Founded by the young Italian aristocrats Francesco Mazzotti and Aymo Maggi in 1927, and unfolding over a thousand miles on the open roads from Brescia to Rome – and back – the Mille Miglia race was not for the faint-hearted (over its three-decade history, the events killed almost sixty drivers and spectators). Yet Enzo recognised the tournament as the ultimate shop window for his ailing brand and – spoiler alert – achieved his aim when Scuderia Ferrari ace Piero Taruffi won the race in a 315 S (without a navigator).
Of course, those who know their Ferrari history will be waiting for the bitter sting in the tail – and Mann doesn’t flinch from it. Suffice to say, if you’re looking for a feel-good Hollywood ending, might we suggest Pixar’s Cars?
Even in the age of CGI, Mann was insistent his cast had to sit behind the wheel and feel the wind whip their hair for real. The Ferrari movie shoot took place at an abandoned airstrip in Modena, while for the thrilling Mille Miglia sequences, the director told a press conference that more than 15 cars were involved – all period-correct recreations of the vintage originals. “For the main Ferraris and Maseratis, which we recreated exactly to scale, we were able to 3D scan real 1950s models, which are insanely valuable. Our cars could go 150 miles an hour, and do so safely.”
Perhaps more than any other motoring film so far, Ferrari’s visceral cinematography captures the sky-high stakes of post-war racing, when seatbelt-less drivers prayed they would be thrown from their open-topped vehicles in the event of a crash, rather than dragged along the tarmac. “It teleports you back to the time,” Driver told Variety, “and you realise if you turn left or right the wrong way, then you’re dead.”
The seven-minute standing ovation that Ferrari received at its Venice Film Festival premiere in August was just the first drop in a tidal wave of critical acclaim. While The Guardian praised the “danger and horror” of the race scenes and Variety called Mann’s film “intricately dark and raptly absorbing”, perhaps Marlow Stern of Rolling Stone says it best: “There is an unstoppable force at the centre of Michael Mann’s Ferrari. It is fast, fierce, and wildly unpredictable. One moment it has you in the throes of ecstasy; the next, fearing for your life. And when you see it coming around the bend, it’s curtains.”
The complete supercar storage solution
Whether you own a Ferrari or any other marque, Windrush’s classic car storage will treat your cherished vehicle with the same kid gloves. From a bespoke long term maintenance schedule that keeps everything limber for the duration of your car’s stay, to admin, servicing, repairs, international shipping – and anything else you need – our professional car storage team simply doesn’t recognise the word ‘no’.
Get in touch with the Windrush team to ask about our secure car storage services.