Ferrari is among the world’s most-recognized luxury car brands. Founded in 1939 by Enzo Ferrari, this Italian sports car manufacturer built its first car back in 1940. However, the company became famous as a car manufacturer in 1947, when the first Ferrari-badged car was built.
Today, Ferrari cars are usually seen as a symbol of luxury, speed and wealth. Ferrari has one of the most famous car logos out there. The logo consists of a black prancing horse on a yellow shield, with the letters S F (for Scuderia Ferrari) and three stripes of white, green, and red (the Italian national colors). Ferrari road cars have a rectangular emblem on the hood, while the more popular shield-shaped logo is usually placed on the sides of both front wings.
The iconic symbol used by the Italian car maker has heroic origins. The Ferrari logo was initially the symbol of Count Francesco Baracca, Italy’s legendary fighter ace of World War I. He painted the prancing horse on the fuselage of his aircraft. Baracca died at a very young age on June 19, 1918. He was credited with 34 aerial victories and soon after his death, he became a national hero.
At the end of the World War I, Enzo Ferrari met Baracca’s parents who allowed him to use the prancing horse symbol on his cars. Baracca’s mother Countess Paolina said that this symbol would bring him good luck. However, the first race at which Alfa would let Ferrari use the horse on his cars was 11 years later, at the SPA 24 Hours racing event in 1932. Ferrari has won the race and adopted the Cavallino Rampante (Prancing Horse) symbol as the logo for his racing cars.
Enzo placed the black symbol on his cars and enhanced it with a canary yellow background in honor of his hometown of Modena and the three colors of the Italian flag on the top of the logo. However, the prancing horse was not always associated with the Ferrari car brand only. The prancing black horse is a very old motif that can be found on some ancient coins. A similar horse on a yellow background is also the Coat of Arms of the German city of Stuttgart, the home of Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, two of the biggest competitors of Ferrari ever since the 1930s.
Fabio Taglioni also used this symbol on his Ducati motorbikes. His father was also a military pilot who fought with Baracca in the 91st Air Squad. When Ferrari became a renowned car manufacturer, Ducati abandoned the prancing horse, which now became a trademark of Ferrari.
Even though the prancing horse is a recognizable symbol of Ferrari, there are many other companies in the world who use similar logos. Avanti is an Austrian company which operates over 100 filling stations and uses a prancing black horse logo which is identical to Ferrari’s logo. However, that doesn’t make the legendary Ferrari symbol any less popular.