Ferrari is an Italian manufacturer of racing cars and exclusive, expensive sports cars, formed by Enzo Ferrari (in 1946 as an independent brand), now owned by the Fiat group. It is based in Maranello, near Modena, Italy.
The origins of the company go back to the Scuderia Ferrari racing team, which from 1929 to 1938 prepared and raced Alfa Romeo cars very successfully under the leadership of Enzo Ferrari. "Scuderia Ferrari" literally translated in English means "the Ferrari Stable" in keeping with their prancing horse emblem; figuratively, it has come to be known as "Team Ferrari."
In 1940 the Scuderia became the "Auto Avio Costruzioni Ferrari" and in 1943 the factory moved to Maranello, which is still now its see. Here it produced cars and aircraft accessories. The factory was bombed in 1944 and rebuilt in 1946.
The first Ferrari car was the 125 C Sport, with a 1.5-litre V12 engine, of 1947.
Noted for their exquisite styling by design house Pininfarina, the road cars have long been one of the ultimate accessories for the rich and young (or young-at-heart).
Featuring highly-tuned (and, until the introduction of fuel injection in the 1980s, highly temperamental) small V8 and V12 engines, often in a mid-engined configuration, their performance, handling, sound, and shape made them extremely desirable. Their reputation for unreliability and poor-quality engineering (though largely dispelled by the 1990s), was viewed as an example of the car's "character" (though fans of Porsche would argue that their vehicles had similar virtues and were as reliable and tractable as a Toyota; Porsches are referred to Ferrari owners as merely expensive roller skates).
|The famous Scudetto.|
Other design houses that Ferrari used over the years include Scaglietti, Bertone, Vignale.
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|Count Francesco Baracca|
The horse was originally the symbol of Count Francesco Baracca, a legendary "asso" of the Italian air force during WWI, who had it painted on his planes. Baracca died very young on June 19, 1918, shot down after 34 victorious duels and a hundred of team victories, and soon became a national hero, a symbol of the new cultural values of his age (these were the times in which Futurism was developed).
Baracca had wanted the rampant horse on his planes because his squad, the "Battaglione Aviatori", was enrolled in a Cavalry regiment (air forces were at their first years of life and had no separate administration), and also because he himself was reputed to be the best cavaliere of his team. It has been supposed that this was perhaps partly due to the fact that his noble family was known for having plenty of horses in their estates at Lugo di Romagna.
Another, unproven, theory suggests Baracca copied the rampant horse design from a German pilot having the emblem of the city of Stuttgart on his plane. Interestingly, German car manufacturer Porsche, from Stuttgart, borrowed its rampant horse logo from the city's emblem.
In 1923, Enzo Ferrari won a car race in Ravenna, and there he met the Countess Paolina, mother of Baracca. He was granted a permission to use the horse (the Countess wished him that it could grant him good luck), but it wasn't until 1932 that the horse was used on the Alfa Romeo cars of Scuderia Ferrari, at Spa (24 hours). Of course, we should say, Ferrari won.
Enzo Ferrari had added the yellow background because this was the symbolic color of Modena, his town, and the logo was since then connected to the brand.
The rampant horse however does not identify the Ferrari brand only: Fabio Taglioni's Ducati too had it on its motorbikes. Taglioni's father was in fact a companion of Baracca's, and fought in his famous squad, the 91st Air Squad but when Ferrari became famous and the early legend started to accompany it, Ducati abandoned the horse, some suggest because of a private agreement between the two brands.
The rampant horse is however a trademark of Ferrari.