How Ferrari became one of the world’s best-known car brands
A potted history of the Italian motorsport icon
Ask any car enthusiast to name their favorite car and, chances are, at least one Ferrari model will feature top – or near the top – of their list. From the Daytona to the Dino, the Testarossa to the Enzo, Ferrari has produced some of the most iconic and recognizable cars in history.
The Prancing Horse brand has become synonymous with driving through a mastery of design and manufacture. Ferrari is now one of the most famous companies in the world – to the point its fans even have their own name, the Tifosi.
A brand becomes an icon
Ferrari has transcended mere branding – it has become part of the public conscience, part of culture. No matter your background, color, race or creed – say the word ‘Ferrari’ and people will immediately know what you’re talking about.
Ferrari cars have a reputation for excellence and often an eye-watering price tag to match but if you want to buy into the brand, there are various used ferrari options which come in much cheaper.
But just how did a small family company based in Mugello, northern Italy become the global behemoth the world knows and loves today? Read on for a short history of one of the world’s greatest and most recognizable businesses.
The meaning of the word ‘Ferrari’
In English, the word ‘Ferrari’ literally means ‘blacksmith’. It is derived from the Latin word ‘ferrum’ – i.e. related to iron. ‘Ferrari’ comes from the Italian word ‘Ferraro’ and, today, is one of the most common surnames in Italy.
The company’s Formula One racing team is known as Scuderia Ferrari – with ‘Scuderia’ meaning ‘Stable’. Ferrari has a proud racing history and has featured some of the greatest drivers in history, including the likes of Juan Manuel Fangio, Niki Lauda and the mighty Michael Schumacher.
Say ‘Ferrari’ and most people will think of the iconic Prancing Horse
Ferrari’s iconic horse logo has roots tracing back to 1692 and the Royal Piedmont Regiment established by Vittorio Amadeo II – at the time the Duke of Savoy. The horse logo now sits proudly in black on a canary yellow background and adorns every Ferrari motorcar. It is, undoubtedly, one of the world’s most identifiable and recognizable brands.
Enzo Ferrari – the father of the Ferrari brand
The father of Ferrari, Enzo Ferrari, was born in Modena on 18th February 1898. After spending time at the Alfa Corse car manufacturer, Enzo would first turn his hand to car manufacturing in 1947 with the production of the 125 S – a 12-cylinder 1500cc sports model. The car would later be driven by Franco Cortese and win its first victory at the Rome Grand Prix later that year. A legend was born.
Building on success
The 1950s saw Ferrari solidify its initial success – particularly in the world of Formula One. Through the decade, the company would have a string of notable victories including the Mille Miglia, the 24 hour Le Mans endurance test and the Formula One world title in both 1952 and 1953 – won by Alberto Ascari. Ferrari would continue this pedigree of success through the following years with multiple successes in car events around the world.
The glory years of a new millennium
Without doubt, Ferrari is most associated with one sport more than any other – Formula One. Between the years of 2000 and 2008, the master of F1 – Michael Schumacher – accompanied by another leading exponent (Kim Raikkonen) earned the company a total of 13 world titles – five driver championships with Schumacher, one with Raikkonen and an impressive seven constructor championships.
Through a combination of design excellence, clever marketing and driver excellence, the Ferrari brand has since grown to become one of the world’s most successful companies. While its F1 performance might currently be in the doldrums, the company remains at the forefront of motorsport and continues to develop some of the world’s best cars. With such a proud history, Ferrari’s best days are surely yet to come.