Ferrari protector Agnelli dies

Gianni Agnelli has died at the age of 81. Agnelli was the grandson of the founder of Fiat and became its managing director in 1963 and its chairman from 1966 after spending the 1950s enjoying a playboy lifestyle.

As the boss of Fiat he helped to steer the company to become one of the biggest corporations in Europe. He was particularly fond of the Ferrari company, which Fiat bought control of in 1968. Under Fiat ownership the Ferrari company boomed with the Boxer in 1973 and the 308GTB in 1975. There was further success in the 1980s with the Testarossa, the F40 and in the 1990s with the F50.

Known as "the avvocato" because of his training as a lawyer, he remained the chairman of Fiat until 1996 and played an important role in building the Ferrari F1 team up during the 1970s. After his retirement Agnelli continued to be closely involved with Ferrari, having been a longtime supporter of Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo. He was the block on all attempts by Fiat to sell the company.

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