Brand stories. Why is the Ferrari logo a prancing horse?


We are in 1923, a car race takes place in Italy on the circuit of Savio, in Ravenna. The winner of the day, a certain Enzo Ferrari is acclaimed and accompanied to the podium.

At the end of the award ceremony, Enrico Baracca and his wife Paolina go to meet the hero of the day and give him an image of a black horse from the city of Stuttgart, to perpetuate the memory of their son, fell on Montello hill during the great war. But where does this image come from?

A war hero

The historical roots of the Ferrari horse go back to 1692, the year of the foundation of the « Royal Regiment of Piedmont » by the will of Vittorio Amedeo II of Savoy, one of the most brilliant units of the Piedmontese and Italian cavalry.

The prancing horse is then the emblem of the cavalry. But two centuries later, at the start of the First World War, a battalion of airmen was formed. Francesco Baracca was then one of the first pilots to go into battle.

He is also the first to use the prancing horse of the cavalry on the fuselage of his plane.

On the death of their son, the Baracca parents distribute postcards representing the only official image of Francesco Baracca and his plane. This is a painting by Bolognese Ettore Graziani.

It is this logo, on the fuselage of the plane, which will be reproduced to become the Ferrari logo.

Enzo Ferrari, faithful to the symbols

In 1929, the driver Enzo Ferrari created the « Scuderia Ferrari » in Modena.

The company is then the sports branch of Alfa Romeo. The black horse standing on one hind leg was superimposed on canary yellow, the color of the city of Modena, and edged at the top with the colors of the Italian flag.

In 1947, when Ferrari began building its own cars, the logo became rectangular and incorporated the founder’s surname.

An almost unchanged logo

The logo will hardly evolve anymore. In its early days, the horse’s tail was oriented differently and the horse’s leg touched the Ferrari letters.

But in 1994, the visual identity manual created by Pierluigi Cerri consolidated and set in stone the distinctive signs of the Ferrari brand.

The logo will undergo a very slight restyling in 2002 under the impetus of the Seidlcluss agency.

The horse’s legs and eye change position very slightly as a rectangular dot appears over the letter “i”.

Red or yellow?

For a long time, the debate has raged among enthusiasts. What is Ferrari’s official color?

The answer is however simple and told by Enzo himself: “When the Countess Paolina gave me the photo of Baccara, she told me to put the Cavallino Rampante on my machines, that would bring me luck. The Cavallino remained black, I just added a canary yellow background to it, which is the color of the city of Modena.”

But that does not mean, contrary to an old legend, that the first Ferrari was yellow. Indeed, the first road Ferrari, a 166 MM Barchetta, presented in September 1948 was well painted in Rosso Corsa red.

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