HomeCar CultureWorking for Ferrari at the age of 18: A young guys dream?

Working for Ferrari at the age of 18: A young guys dream?

Our Millennial European correspondent shares his experience with cars on the continent


To work for Ferrari is extraordinary in almost every possible way. When I turned 18 I applied for a job at the local Ferrari dealership. We actually had one in the little town where I came from. It was a lifelong dream for me.

Sadly, I was rejected. But then some friends and I were going skiing 6 months later and, needing money for the trip, I applied again and this time it was a success.

I was 18 years old when I first sat in a Ferrari. I remember it as if it was yesterday. It was a blacked out 2014 Ferrari FF with a 6.3-liter V12, with 650 horsepower. For Illustration I have attached a picture of a similar car below, so you have a clue of what car I am talking about. To drive a Ferrari is an insane feeling, especially one of the top models. It doesn’t make it less crazy that I was just 18 at the time.

Ferrari FF.jpg
The keys to the kingdom

I worked at the dealership for approximately 2.5 years. In the first month or so I would find myself driving all sorts of Ferraris. Getting used to old as well as new models was a major challenge, even though it sounds simple. I had just received my driver’s license.

I would find myself in a Ferrari from the 1970s and ’80s with manual clutch as hard a rock and 12-cylindered engine that could explode any second was exceptionally difficult. And then there was the responsibility of being the one in charge of closing the shop, making sure the workshop was clean, a big task for a young guy like me.

I had no real experience with cars before this and it was my first real job, but I eventually become pretty good at it. Was I a little proud? You bet I was.

Time flew as I became better and better at my work.

Meanwhile, the company was getting more customers. Is there really a clientele for these cars in little Denmark?  There is. It is a surprisingly and quickly growing segment.

This of course meant more and more cars all the time, while we were still located in the same small building. I have attached a little picture from the garage underneath the main building, where we stored some of the customers Ferraris and other special cars. It was a great and cool garage, but eventually it became too small and sort of chaotic.

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This LaFerrari and other cars stored beneath the Ferrari dealership.

As I became better at the job, I would be involved in the more challenging tasks. For example, the rector of a private school attended by the dealer’s son invited parents to display their cool “summer” cars. You might imagine the dealer would select something like the 458 Speciale, which was brand new at the time. Instead, he decided to take both a 458 GT3 Le Mans racer and an F1 car that was Michael Schumacher’s reserve racer.

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A Jag XJ 220 sits amongst the pre-owned supercars

Neither of those cars could be driven on the public roads, so they had to be transported by a large truck. It was truly crazy experience and something straight out of a movie. Half of the 40 people working at the dealership ended up lending a hand and it turned out to be more like a racing event than a relaxing Friday car meet.

Working at the dealership a couple of days a week meant getting the keys to a Ferrari and getting to drive. It really is something everyone should have a chance of trying in their life. I was lucky enough the chance came to me, and I can only look back at that time with joy and excitement.

Just before I stopped working there to study at university, the new 488 GTB was released. We received one and I found myself with the keys in the hand.

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Wanna race?

Nonetheless, after a couple of years of work, most of it became routine even as the cars were getting more and more outrageous.

The number of customers increased and so did our workload. The dealerships added Maserati and was also dealing in other supercar brands. There were a Porsche Carrera GT and a Lamborghini Diablo. It was like a like a gift that would never stop giving.

The most exclusive car we had in the shop in my time was, without doubt, the fantastic Ferrari La Ferrari. I think it was owned by the family that owns Lego, though I’m not sure. Regardless, it was the craziest car I have ever seen in real life and my all-time favorite Ferrari. The look, the sound, everything it stands for is why I love it so much.

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The shop was always packed, and by the time my career there was over it was so chaotic. The dealer was building a new super shop in a larger town closer to Copenhagen. The building where I worked was rented out to another brand.

They turned their minds towards extending the shop but instead they planned to build a new super shop (see photo) in a larger town, closer to Copenhagen and to international customers.

formula automobile nyt hus.jpg

I feel fortunate to have worked in the dealership when I did. Even though I am still young, I will always look back at it as one of the best times of my life.

Lars Madsen
Lars Madsen
Lars Madsen is 25 years old and is enrolled at Southern Danish University, in Denmark where he is completing his Masters in Business Administration. He has a huge interest in automobiles going back to childhood -- it runs in the family. Lars brings a youth and European perspective to Journal and is hopeful of a career in the automotive industry.
  1. Hey Lars, thanks for sharing. You and I have similar stories. My story starts in 1989 as a 19 year old who started sweeping floors at “Michael Sheehan’s European Auto Restoration” in Costa Mesa, CA. Four years later I had moved up to the unenviable (as per the mechanics 😉 ) position of parts manager. It was a tough gig trying to locate parts for vintage Ferraris – their parts all seemed to be made of “unobtanium” as Mr. Sheehan would put it. Of course I will never forget smashing down the accelerator of a ’93 Ferrari 512TR or holding on as Mike and I rocketed down Pacific Coast Highway in what was Pininfarina’s personal car, the 275gtb prototype. But without the internet and only a phone and a fax machine to go parts searching with – sometimes finding those ‘unobtanium’ parts could be almost as thrilling (well, that’s a really big ‘almost’). You and I could swap many more stories than just the few you shared in your piece, I’m sure. Looking back though, I so wish I could do that job for him now, as my youth and naivete became preemptive of my parts department position then. I am, however, forever grateful to Mr. Sheehan for giving me the Ferrari experience.


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