That's a dramatic change of course for Ferrari, which as recently as 1993 was soaking in red ink. When he took over, di Montezemolo quickly reengineered production, making quality the No. 1 imperative and designing new models that were more fun to drive. "I hate too much technology in a car," says the 54-year-old former rally-car racer. "You have to enjoy driving." Di Montezemolo is now presiding over the relaunch of Maserati, another icon aiming to double unit sales this year. And he's laying the groundwork for the upcoming initial public offering of Ferrari shares, which analysts say could fetch $1 billion.
Di Montezemolo went to work for Ferrari at 26 as racing team manager, racking up Formula One championships in 1975 and 1977. Subsequent stops in his career included leading Italy's first America's Cup yachting challenge. Now, he has returned to his first love, fast cars--and Ferrari--but he's far from his last lap.