Italian icons: the Ferrari history

People can’t take their eyes off it. When they see one, they just stop and stare.

Some take pictures, other silently worship it. In any case, it doesn’t go unnoticed. It’s red. It growls. And it runs fast. Yes, it’s the Ferrari we are talking about.


The number one Italian car, a true symbol of the Bel Paese values, like passion and modernity. We’re used to see it running on TV or, every now and then, parading on the cities’ streets. But, when was its first motor forged? And who was the forger?

Slow down and read on: your curiosity will soon be pleased.

Enzo Ferrari: the man behind the icon

The outskirts of Modena were frozen on February 18th, 1898. There had been a huge snowfall and nobody had dared to get away from their warm fireplace.

Not even to register a baby’s birth. Enzo Anselmo Ferrari was born on that snowy day, but his identity was registered only a couple of days later. His family was quite wealthy: his father owned a factory, which built roads and bridges for trains.

Since his early years, Enzo’s path was already marked. First, due to his father’s work, he was continuously in contact with people dealing with wheels and tar: this helped him into gaining knowledge about streets architecture, mechanisms and dynamics.


Then, he soon started to appreciate speed’s charm when, at the age of 10, his father brought him to watch a car race in Bologna. Enzo left the competition both amused and amazed by the cars performances. After War World II, Ferrari decided it was time to start a career in his dream field: he applied for a job at Turin’s Fiat, but he was unsuccessful.

Then, he found a job in Milan, first as test driver, then as pilot. His skills and knowledge of the road were soon appreciated and Alfa hired him as its official pilot. He won several races, awards and national recognitions, but his luckiest day had nothing to do with wheels. It concerned wings.


In 1923, Enzo met Francesco Baracca, renowned Italian aviator, who suggested him to use a small horse as a talisman, as he had done during the war. Years later, when he founded his own stable, the former pilot followed the aviator’s advice. The Scuderia Ferrari made cars easy to spot and to recognize: they all had a racing small horse as their icon. In 1947 the first Ferrari was born and conquered the podium for the first time. Since then, neither the car, nor the horse, has stopped running, collecting over 5.000 victories.

Roaring and racing: when motors have a soul

“My motors have a soul”. Indeed, they do. Since post World War II, Ferrari built increasingly powerful, yet elegant cars, with modern lines and often eccentric shapes.

He studied the motor’s details and worked alongside with technicians. His genius and dedication were awarded with several recognitions, both national and international. Enzo died at the age of 90 soon after he was given an honorary degree in Physics.


His car and his bright red have never stopped to shine during the years. “Think and act as a winner. It’s the only way you’ll win”.

This was Enzo’s mantra. Something his pilots still believe in.

A final curiosity: the origins of the color red

One cannot think of the Ferrari without picturing in mind the color red. In the ‘20s, red was chosen as the traditional Italian racing color by a federation known as FIA, which also dictated other nationalities’ cars: France went along with blue, England with green and Germany with white.

The red shade gradually changed over the years: from a dark red, it evolved into a bright one, today internationally known as racing red.

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Giulia Scuffietti

Fierce fan of photography, literature and Risiko. Particularly when my tanks match with my nail polish. I lost all my friends after a lifetime of past tense corrections and mobile protective films eradications. It doesn't matter though, I am not afraid of solitude: when I grow up, I want to be a cat lady.

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