TURIN, Italy - Long before Enzo Ferrari sold half of his company to Fiat in 1968, he almost struck a deal with Ford.
Now fresh details have emerged about the collapse of the Ford-Ferrari talks on May 20, 1963, after 22 days of intense negotiations.
Franco Gozzi, Enzo Ferrari's personal secretary, has written in an Italian auto magazine about a clause in the proposed contract that killed the deal.
It required Ferrari to submit to Ford, 'for quick approval,' any racing team budget over 450 million lire. That equaled $257,000 at the time, the amount of Ferrari's race budget for the 1963 season.
Enzo Ferrari exploded when he came across the provision during a negotiating session, underlining the words 'submit' and 'to obtain' twice with his violet ink pen.
According to Gozzi, Ferrari said the clause 'seriously compromised the total freedom I had been promised as racing team director.' He then filled the room with a string of insults - using words that Gozzi said 'you would not find in any dictionary.'
It was 10 p.m. Ferrari turned to Gozzi and said quietly, 'Let's get something to eat.' They walked out, leaving the 14-member Ford delegation sitting speechless. The talks had ended forever.
When Fiat did its deal with Ferrari, Enzo Ferrari got total control of the racing team - and no budget limit. After he died in August 1988, Fiat bought majority control of Ferrari.