Italian automaker Ferrari is known for its high-end performance cars, sports cars, and supercars. Given that Ferrari’s roots are in racing, this is no surprise. Just like the automaker’s magnificent cars, the Ferrari logo meaning embodies elegance and class and has quite a bit of history behind it. Each and every element in the Ferrari emblem is well-thought-out and is deeply connected with the company, its founder Enzo Ferrari and the lives of people directly or indirectly associated.
|Ferrari NV Information|
|Founded||13 September 1939|
|Headquarters||Amsterdam, Netherlands (Corporate)Maranello, Italy (Racing division)|
Enzo Ferarri’s early years and the Ferrari logo
Ferrari started his career with as a race driver for a small car company in 1919 but moved to Alfa Romeo in 1920. A few years later, he met the parents of Italian fighter pilot Francesco Baracca who died as a hero in World War I after a record 34 exploits. It was in this meeting that Ferrari came across the prancing horse which was painted on the fuselage of Baracca’s fighter plane. Baracca’s mother Countess Paulina suggested that Ferrari use the horse on his cars to bring good luck.
In Enzo Ferrari’s own words:
“In ‘23, I met count Enrico Baracca, the hero’s father, and then his mother, Countess Paulina, who said to me one day, ‘Ferrari, put my son’s prancing horse on your cars. It will bring you good luck’. The horse was, and still is, black, and I added the canary yellow background which is the colour of Modena [Enzo Ferrari’s birthplace].”
So Ferrari took the advice and added some bits himself. Most notable was the change to the tail of the prancing horse which he made to point upwards. While Baracca’s horse was painted red, Ferrari changed the color to black as an indication of grief and mourning, in inference to Baracca’s untimely demise. Ferrari logo also added the yellow background as a tribute to Modena – his birthplace. He included all these elements in a shield which had Italy’s national colors at the top. Below the horse, he added two words “S” and “F”, meaning “Scuderia Ferrari” which literally translates to Ferrari Stable.
However, Ferrari wasn’t able to use the prancing horse for the next some years. The now well-known Ferrari emblem first appeared at the 1932 Spa 24 Hours race in Belgium on a two-car team of Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Spiders. Scuderia Ferrari took the podium at this race and taking it as a sign of good luck, Ferrari kept using the prancing horse logo.
Is the Ferrari emblem too similar to the Porsche logo?
The similarities between the Ferrari emblem and the Porsche logo are striking and there is a theory that Baracca himself copied the prancing horse from a shot-down German plane and had the horse depicted on it as the coat of arms of Stuttgart. Another theory claims that Baracca chose the horse since he was initially enrolled in a horse regiment and was a distinguished cavalier. It is also known that the Baracca family was a wealthy one and maintained a number of horses in their stables and thus came the prancing horse on his plane. However, these versions are not substantiated.
Ferrari went on to become the most successful racing team following the introduction of Formula One in 1950. The prancing horse team has 16 constructors’ championships and 15 driver’s championship wins under its belt. It is worth highlighting that it is the oldest surviving Formula One team and has participated in every world championship. The Scuderia Ferrari team has a special connection with Michael Schumacher who won five drivers’ titles between 2000 and 2004.
Success with road cars
Since Enzo Ferrari started out as a racer, he was not particularly interested in producing road cars. However, he also understood that selling road versions of his race cars would bring in the money required to fund Scuderia Ferrari. In due course of time, this business line grew rapidly and eventually became much larger than the racing division. Ferrari maintains a corporate logo which is slightly different from that of the tracing team. Most notably, Ferrari corporate logo does away with the shield and introduces a rectangle as a container for the horse and other elements. The logo also removes the letters “S” and “F” to distinguish itself from the Scuderia. Instead of Scuderia Ferrari initials, the corporate logo uses “Ferrari” written in a handwritten typeface. Nevertheless, it retains other important elements like the prancing horse, yellow background, and Italian colors.
Over the decades, the company has been through several ups and downs in its business, and in early 1969, it sold a 50% equity stake to Fiat. However, Enzo Ferrari retained full control of the racing activities. Fiat eventually increased its shareholding to 90% in 1988. However, Fiat itself underwent radical changes in these years, having merged with Chrysler. The combined entity, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), announced to spin-off Ferrari in October 2014. This was executed through an IPO in October 2015.
Today, the Ferrari logo is one of the biggest names in luxury cars. It posted revenue of EUR 3.42 billion and earned EUR 537 million in 2017, marking one of the most profitable shows in the automotive world. It is also among the world’s most powerful brands.