Henry Ford II, the eldest son of Edsel Ford and eldest grandson of Henry Ford, was convinced by top executives that the way out of their sales slide was a sleek sports car. Ford didn’t have any available at the time, and generated the idea of purchasing Ferrari – which was then a cash-strapped company known primarily for race cars. Enzo Ferrari was initially pleased with their deal – in which Ford would pay $10 million for the company and all assets.
However, the former race car driver was unwilling to budge on a clause in the contract that granted Ford full control over the Ferrari motorsports program. Insults were hurled – with Ferrari calling Ford an “ugly” company and apparently telling Henry II that he could not compare to his grandfather – before Ferrari walked away from the deal and sold a majority stake in Ferrari to Fiat. As you can imagine, Henry II was not pleased.