During their confrontation, Lamborghini even proposed a collaboration to address the problem, only to be rudely rebuffed by Ferrari, who told him to stick to making tractors. You can see this interaction for yourself; we have the clip here.
But did all this really happen?
Motortrend offers a different take on how the story typically goes:
Ferruccio Lamborghini faced problems with his Ferraris’ clutches. After multiple trips to Maranello for replacements, he demanded to meet Enzo Ferrari. While some say Ferrari refused him, Lamborghini claimed he delivered the message in person: “Ferrari, your cars are rubbish!”
Ferrari’s reported reply varies, but according to Lamborghini, he said, “You may be able to drive a tractor, but you will never be able to handle a Ferrari properly.”
Lamborghini later said, “This was where I finally decided to make a perfect car.” But the truth is far more complex, as so often is the case.
Ferruccio Lamborghini was born in 1916 into a farming family. Farm machinery intrigued him the most. He built farm equipment from war-surplus machinery after attending technical school and serving as a mechanic in the Italian armed forces during World War II. He established Lamborghini Trattori, producing affordable and robust tractors.
In 1960, Lamborghini founded another company, Bruciatori, that manufactured heating and air conditioning equipment. He concentrated on after-sales service to remain competitive.
Lamborghini’s love for cars and his dissatisfaction with high-end brands like Alfa Romeo, Jaguar, and Ferrari prompted his entry into the car business.
He expressed that he had acquired some of the most renowned gran turismo vehicles, and within each of these splendid machines, he encountered certain flaws. His current ambition is to create a GT car devoid of any faults — in his words, “a perfect car.”
The 1970s saw union strife, critical American press, and failure to meet new emissions standards, leading to struggles. Ferruccio Lamborghini sold 51 percent of the car company in 1972 and retired a year later.
Automotive historian Massimo Delbo feels both men understood the publicity value of a feud but admits, “Something was said between them, but only Enzo and Ferruccio knew what it was.”
Today, 60 years after its founding, Lamborghini continues to embody Ferruccio’s original vision. Whether or not Enzo taunted Ferruccio into the car business, Lamborghini’s pursuit of the perfect car still thrives.
Whether true or not, the legend has become part of automotive folklore. It symbolizes the drive and ambition behind some of the world’s most extraordinary cars, from the 350 GT to the Revuelto. The legend still lives on in the roar of every Lamborghini engine, reminding us of a time when a simple taunt may have ignited a revolution in the automotive world.
(Note: This article is based on available historical data and may include interpretations and opinions. The exact details of the exchanges between Enzo Ferrari and Ferruccio Lamborghini may remain subject to debate and interpretation.)