Automotive history may be rife with tales of revenge and one-upmanship, but no one can top the story of Ferruccio Lamborghini, founder of one of the most outrageous performance car companies in the world, who would’ve turned 100 this week. In 1948, he founded Lamborghini Tractori SpA, and by the mid-’50s, Lamborghini had risen from humble roots to become a wealthy industrialist, expanding into air conditioners and oil heaters — and building an impressive car collection for himself.
By the end of the decade, he had fallen for Ferrari’s beautiful 250GT, buying several. But their lack of durability and comfort frustrated him, and routine mechanical issues soon became unacceptable. He attempted to call Enzo Ferrari to set up a face-to-face meeting to discuss the car’s problems; after all, they were both successful Southern Italian industrialists, it would be a meeting of equals. Instead, Ferrari refused to speak with him and, according to legend, told aides that he didn’t need advice from a tractor builder.