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History Of The Ferrari Logo

This is the story of the Prancing Horse and how it became a global icon

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Ferrari, a name that invokes a feeling of passion, exhilaration, and beauty. In the Automotive world, the Ferrari Brand sits at the top of the food chain and has its value that can be measured in gold. The brand has a rich racing pedigree and a very strong heritage that dates back to over a hundred years, and the heart of every Ferrari that has ever existed lies the prancing horse. The Ferrari badge is by far one of the most recognizable logos in the world, but what is the story behind it? Well, that’s exactly what you’re about to find out.

Meaning and History 

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Well, young Enzo back in the early 1920’s was a racing driver with Alfa Romeo before he ever got to make his own cars

Enzo Ferrari was a race car driver before he ever made his own cars. The speed bug bit him early in life and he was passionate about racing, which eventually landed him a stint with Alfa Romeo. Now his mother was born in Lugo di Romagna, the hometown of Francesco Baracca, a heroic Italian airman, fighter pilot, and First World War ace. The aviator died on the slopes of Montello on June 19, 1918. 

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The Ferrari emblem is one of the most recognizable logo’s in the world. But what is the story behind the prancing hosre?

The prancing horse was of great significance as it dates back to 1692 and was the coat of arms of Victor Amadeus II of Savoy’s "Royal Piedmont" cavalry regiment - a symbol that was destined to remain associated with one of the most formidable cavalries, both in European history as well as one of the oldest regiments in the Italian army. Francesco was inspired by this and had an imprint of the prancing horse on the fuselage of his aircraft. The horse was originally red, but it was then painted black following Baracca’s death.

Origin of the Ferrari Logo

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Enzo Ferrari and Giulio Ramponi won the first Ferrari Savio Circuit in Ravenna in June 1923, driving the Alfa Romeo RL-Targa Florio, and met Count Enrco Baracca, father of the aviator. As the race winner, Enzo Ferrari was "entrusted" with the image of the prancing horse to carry on the memory of his late son. This led to a second encounter with the famed Italian fighter pilot’s mother, about whom Enzo Ferrari wrote in a letter to a friend:

"When I won the inaugural Savio circuit in Ravenna in 1923, I met the hero's father, Count Enrico Baracca; from that meeting came the next with his mother, Countess Paolina Baracca. It was she who told me one day: 'Ferrari, put my son's prancing horse on your cars. It will bring you luck'. I still have the photograph of Baracca, with the dedication of his parents, in which they entrusted me with the emblem. The prancing horse was, and still is, black; I added the canary yellow background, which is the color of Modena” - Enzo Ferrari

Ferrari gratefully welcomed the gift, but he slightly altered the logo, changing it in three aspects. The Ferrari coat of arms, in reality, depicts a horse with its tail turned upwards, with a yellow background, the color of his hometown of Modena, and a tricolor band representing the Italian Flag.

Such a palette represents the brand’s distinction, power, beauty, and strong position in the car world. The font in early versions was done in cursive, with the letters in uppercase that simulate handwriting. Let’s now take a closer look at how the Ferrari logo evolved over time.

Evolution Of The Ferrari Logo


1929 – 1931 

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Ferrari happily accepted this gift but added his own touches like the yellow background, which represents the colors of his hometown of Modena

The early versions immediately provide a link to power, which quantifies the engine power of a car. This is why the logo features a prancing horse: it was restless, physically developed, and eager to race. The earliest version portrays a black horse with white highlights against a yellow backdrop. The traditional shield features a double border (black-yellow), triple red-white-black stripes at the top, and cursive letters "S" and "F" at the bottom.

1931 – 1939

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The very first revision where the colors of the Italian flag were added, along with the S and F initials, that stood for Scuderia Ferrari, the ream that Enzo was heading

The very first revision of the Ferrari logo saw a sun shield with a black horse, with the letters "S" and “F" that once again appear to the left and right. They represent the "Scuderia Ferrari" racing team when written in upper and lower case. Gone was the herringbone red, black and white at the top of the initial logo, and in its place comes a flat tricolor that represents the national colors on the Italian flag. This symbol was first seen on cars competing in the SPA Grand Prix in 1932.

1947 – 2002

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After the war, the Ferrari logo got its first major design change, with the shield making way for a rectangular form and the FERRARI name proudly displayed at the foot of the prancing horse

This is the year when the company makes its formal debut in a modern format. It adopted the picture of an untamed black horse standing on its hind legs as its logo. The focal point is once again set against a bright yellow background. Above it, once again are three thin lines: Green, White, and Red, the colors of the national flag of Italy. With Ferrari’s name spelled out below. The upper half of the capital "F" is stretched into a continuous line that crosses across the word at the flattened dot in “i." It was created using the original serif font. The cursive letters "S" and "F" are no longer present.

2002 – Today

 

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The last changes were seen around the turn of the century in 2002

 
Apart from some subtle and minor touches, the trademark Ferrari logo remained mostly untouched, for several decades. It wasn’t until 1994 that it was consolidated with Pierluigi Cerri’s Manual of Visual Identity, which established the principal aspects of the logo for good. This official codification was followed by the Seidlcluss agency’s restyling of the logo in 2002, which gave it its definitive touch by optically correcting the outline of the horse, the position of its legs, and even the rectangular dot on the I of Ferrari - probably the most distinctly different detail from the original form of the logo. This was the second most crucial time in the brand’s logo.

The redesign was completed at that time. Essentially, it dealt with tiny aspects such as color and lines. As a result, the sunny yellow field took on an intense tone, and the colors at the top merged and the separating line between them was erased. The horse’s appearance was also slightly changed as it now appears considerably stronger. Also, the designers painted the horse’s right front foot a little higher than the original, so it is no longer obscured by the left.
 

The First Ferrari to Wear the Logo

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The very first cars to wear the Ferrari shield were in fact a pair of Alfa Romeo 8C Monza’s that we’re competing at SPA at in 1932

Enzo Ferrari was both a racing driver and an Alfa Romeo salesman in Emilia Romagna and Marche at the time, hence he was not permitted to print his own symbol on the cars. The Scuderia Ferrari, a sort of racing branch of Alfa Romeo dedicated to racing cars, was founded in 1929, but it wasn’t until 1932 that the prancing horse first appeared on the bodies of two Alfa Romeo 8C Monzas lined up by the Scuderia team at the 24 Hours of Spa in Belgium, implanted in a yellow shield with the initials S. F., an acronym for Scuderia Ferrari.

The team relocated to Maranello in 1943, where a facility was built on the site owned by Ferrari himself. In 1945, Ferrari commissioned Milanese engraver Eligio Gerosa to produce a new design for the prancing horse, which had an upward-pointing tail and a more slender body shape.

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The 1947 1.5 liter V-12 Ferrari 125 S was the very first road-going model to ever wear a Ferrari badge and the rest is history

In 1947, Enzo Ferrari began to develop his own cars, independent of Alfa Romeo, and a secondary rectangular logo with his surname was established, with the "F" extending to span the entire span of the logo being touched by the horse’s leg. The 1.5-liter V-12 engine-powered Ferrari 125 S was the first road-going model to wear the Ferrari badge, which saw the use of a rectangular version instead of the shield-shaped badge seen on Ferrari’s racing cars.

Conclusion

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So that pretty much sums up the story and evolution of one of the most influential and aspiring brands that the world has ever seen. The prancing horse has appeared on both racings as well as road-going exotics. While the red cars dominated racing circuits and motorsports for decades to come, the road-going cars, which Ferrari made purely to fund his racing efforts, tore up the streets and won the hearts of everyone from the glitzy folk of Hollywood to aristocrats, hence turning the brand and the badge into an automotive icon. In the end, as Countess Baracca, once said, the black prancing horse really did bring a lot of luck for Ferrari.

You can also watch a short film by Ferrari themselves, giving a brief about the brands’ iconic logo


 

FAQ

 
What is the meaning of the Ferrari logo?
The origin of the Ferrari Logo can be traced back to Francesco Baracca, a celebrated Italian Airman who had a prancing horse displayed on the fuselage of his aircraft

How much does a new 2021 Ferrari cost?
Well, it depends. 2021 models start north of $200,000 and limited edition models that cost a lot more.

How much is a Ferrari cheapest?
The cheapest or entry-level Ferrari is the Portofino coming in a $215,000

How much does a Ferrari cost now?
Depending on the model and the mileage, you can see the cost of a Ferrari fluctuate. Some rare limited or special edition examples can see values go up over time.

What is the emblem on the front of a Ferrari?
The Ferrari emblem comprises a black prancing horse, set against a yellow background along with the colors of the Italian National flag.

What does the Ferrari logo symbolize?
The Ferrari logo with its prancing horse has always stood to for a relentless pursuit of speed and excellence.

How much does a brand new Ferrari cost?
A brand new Ferrari starts at $215,000 and could go up into the millions, depending on the model.

Is Ferrari owned by Ford?
No, Ferrari is not owned by Ford, however, there was a time back in the 60s when Ford offered to buy Ferrari, but Enzo Ferrari turned it down, which in turn led to their fierce rivalry at Le Mans with Ford’s GT40 leading the charge.

Which is the fastest Ferrari? 
The Ferrari 812 Superfast is currently the fastest and most powerful road-going Ferrari ever made.
 
                  

Khris Bharath
Khris Bharath
Khris is a classic car aficionado and adores his Jags and Alfas, although he keeps tabs on everything from super exotics like an old EB 110 to the latest from Lucid. Formula One is very close to his heart, and he diligently makes time to tune in for the Grand Prix on Sundays. Khris also loves his road trips and he prefers stick shift over an Auto any day.  Read full bio
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