Our interest in this discussion revolves around the story behind how Ferrari got the now-iconic prancing horse logo.
Ferrari is quite frankly one of the most enviable and easily recognizable automotive brands in the world. Ferrari as a company soared to great heights after its IPO and officially managed to become the most valuable automotive brand in the world.
If you’re unaware, Ferrari didn’t even have plans to make road cars. Enzo Ferrari gave it a shot as he was in desperate need of sourcing money to keep his racing division alive. Scuderia Ferrari as it goes by is the most successful Formula 1 team in the world and is the only team still in commission since the sport’s inception.
Let’s just say that Ferrari has gone from making some of the most driver-centric cars to a luxury brand that caters to the rich and influential. While it was always reserved for the affluent, there was a zest in them that’s missing these days. With the Purosangue SUV and its lineup of monstrously capable GTBs that are for the most part “too powerful,” we think Ferrari is sort of missing the point.
While that’s a topic for another day, it’s hard to ignore how Ferrari’s Scuderia shield played a crucial role in the brand’s recognition. We are at a point where anything with a horse in a yellow background is instantly associated with Ferrari.
Thus, our interest in this discussion revolves around the story behind how Ferrari got the now-iconic prancing horse logo.
Ferrari’s Logo: The Italian Stallion Has A Story
The logo according to Ferrari was a very creative Enzo working his magic on the words of Countess Paolina Baracca, wife of Count Enrico Baracca. As per the video published by Ferrari’s PR team, it (more so, the founder) states that the “prancing horse” was a suggestion by the Countess as a lucky charm to the fiery racer that Enzo Ferrari was. He then went on to add flavor to the black stallion by giving it a backdrop inspired by the colors of his hometown, Modena.
Why did the Countess suggest a prancing horse and not something else? Well, it has to do with a certain Francesco Baracca, famed Italian WWI fighter pilot and the Countess’ son. As an ace pilot, Francesco had a depiction of a prancing horse on his plane’s fuselage. However, Francesco’s artwork had a red stallion, and post his tragic death, squadron mates decided to paint it black as a sign of mourning.
Another take on the story comes in stark contrast to Francesco Baracca’s death. According to this, the artwork was a kill symbol painted on the plane to represent Baracca having shot down a pilot from Stuttgart, Germany, where the city crest depicted a similarly prancing horse. To further substantiate the claim, Stuttgart’s crest had a prancing horse with an upswept tail unlike the version depicted in Ferrari’s video. Fun fact, this is the same crest you find in the Porsche logo.
The First Car To Wear The Logo Wasn’t A Ferrari
You read that right. The first car to wear the shield was the Scuderia Ferrari Alfa Romeo 8C Monza. Ferrari as a brand never started making road cars post WWII. Scuderia Ferrari was one of the teams that helped Alfa Romeo set up their racing cars. Enzo even started his career as a racer for Alfa, if you didn’t know. Post a race win at the Savio circuit in 1923 was when he got the chance to meet the aforementioned Count and Countess. Also, the term Scuderia refers to “Stable.” So the Scuderia Ferrari (the ‘S’ and ‘F’in the shield) was to symbolize Ferrari’s stable of capable stallions.
Today, however, the logo has evolved but subtly. If you happen to have a closer look, the prancing horse has been refined with better highlights while the core ethos of the canary yellow backdrop and the Italian Tricolore flag remains intact. As a noteworthy point, the horse itself has changed a bit from being aggressive to one that depicts joy.
Ferrari Today: From An Enthusiast’s Perspective
Ferrari as we mentioned earlier has gone from an enthusiastic brand to one that churns products largely dictated by market trends. Famously known for being stubborn, Ferrari is not very keen on admitting faults. Every innovation they bring is according to them the best that it could ever be. This was the case until the ‘90s, post which it’s just another Ferrari.
What we as enthusiasts reckon is Ferrari take notes from Porsche’s GT division. Porsche has been listening to their customers and has brought back the manual transmission, not something we expect from Ferrari anytime soon. Also, Porsche has admitted to stop the horsepower run and focus on driver involvement while output remains “adequate.” Ferrari should try something similar and given their extensive and loyal customer base, it’ll sell, no doubt. Ferrari today has turned from what used to signify the best of motoring to a company directed towards answering investors.
Sources: Automobilemag, Ferrari
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