He is a self-confident fellow. Though he's not well known in the automobile industry, his dealers know him and his customers know him very well.
When you consider that the global automobile industry will manufacture and sell more than 70 million cars and trucks this year, someone who is responsible for fewer than 7,000 can't make a huge dent in this business.
But if not an icon himself, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo is the successor to an icon and for 20 years has been the head of Ferrari, a small but important company.
I met Montezemolo four decades ago when he hired on as Enzo Ferrari's assistant. He ran the racing team, then had other jobs inside and outside the Fiat organization before returning to run Ferrari 20 years ago.
Twenty years is a long time to run any automobile company, especially Ferrari.
It is fascinating that he is so well known by his customers but hasn't had much recognition in the auto business. But it's not surprising, since most automobile executives make more cars in a day than he does in a year.
You sell Ferraris one at a time because you're selling something that's more like a work of art than a traditional automobile. It's a different business, and Montezemolo does it well.
He is accessible and spends a lot more time with his customers than the typical chief executive of a car company.
The company's financial results are private since Fiat owns a controlling share of Ferrari, but you can be sure that his profit margin is better than any other in the industry. That is his greatest accomplishment. He has maintained the cachet of the Ferrari brand while expanding production, and the company sells cars in almost 60 countries -- twice as many as when he took over.
Customers wait six months or longer for a Ferrari. Now Ferrari will offer services that haven't been around for decades.
Would you like a special car? How about your own design? Sure, others offer custom interiors or special paint, but what about your own car? That hasn't been done in Italy or anywhere else since before World War II.
Only at Ferrari could you design your own custom, one-off vehicle.
At 64, Montezemolo seems to be hitting his stride. I can hardly wait until he's 80. But by then he will probably think about being the prime minister of Italy.