The history of the Prancing Horse

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Ferrari’s symbol is the famous Prancing Horse, the emblem of the aviator Francesco Baracca, chosen by Enzo Ferrari as symbol for his first Scuderia (racing team).

Like Moto Guzzi’s eagle with its wings spread out, the Prancing Horse is also from the world of aviation. To be precise, it is originally Francesco Baracca’s personal emblem, a major and pilot during the First World War, shot down in flight in 1918. On the bodywork of his figher there was a little black prancing horse with its tail downwards, a symbol of courage and temerity.

A few years after the passing of the ace Baracca, Enzo Ferrari got to know his mother, the countess Paolina Baracca. It’s the 17th June 1923 and the Grand Prix of Savio, near Ravenna, was about to begin. Enzo Ferrari won this first edition as Alfa Romeo racing driver, and countess Paolina suggested he should adopt her son’s Prancing Horse symbol. She had already allowed him to apply the logo to his cars as a way of good luck.

Six years later, in 1929, Enzo Ferrari founded the “Scuderia Ferrari” (Ferrari racing team) in Modena, affiliated to Alfa Romeo, but only in 1932 he received the go-ahead to use the Prancing Horse symbol. Victory struck again on that day. However, when the Drake separated from Alfa Romeo to start his own carmaking company in 1939, he had to abandon his lucky symbol for a whole 5 years.

It is just a matter of time. Starting from the 1940s, the Prancing Horse returned to the racetrack and became even bolder than before, again fully visible on his Ferrari 125 S, the first one to bear its inventor’s name. The tail was now turned upwards, the silhouette became slimmer, and the unmistakeable yellow background was chosen in honour of the colour of Modena. Underneath it, the Ferrari writing which will become famous with the classic elongated “F”.