On October 5, 1919, a young Italian car mechanic and engineer named Enzo Ferrari takes part in his first car race, a hill climb in Parma, Italy. He finished fourth. Ferrari was a good driver, but not a great one: In all, he won just 13 of the 47 races he entered. Many people say that this is because he cared too much for the sports cars he drove: He could never bring himself to ruin an engine in order to win a race.
In the mid-1920s, Ferrari retired from racing cars in order to pursue his first love: building them. He took over the Alfa Romeo racing department in 1929 and began to turn out cars under his own name. Annoyed with Ferrari's heavy-handed management style, Alfa Romeo fired him in 1939. After that, he started his own manufacturing firm, but he spent the war years building machine tools, not race cars.
In 1947, the first real Ferraris appeared on the market at last. That same year, Ferrari won the Rome Grand Prix, his first race as an independent carmaker. In 1949, a Ferrari won the Le Mans road race for the first time and in 1952 one of the team's drivers, Alberto Ascari, became the world racing champion: He won every race he entered that year.
That decade was Ferrari's most triumphant: Year after year, his cars dominated the field, winning eight world championships and five Grand Prix championships. Ferrari won so much because his cars were ruthless. They were bigger and stronger than everyone else's and (in part to compensate for their excess weight) they had much more powerful engines. He also ensured success by flooding races with his cars and by hiring the boldest, most daredevil drivers he could find. Unfortunately, this combination of reckless drivers and heavy, superpowered cars was a recipe for tragedy: Between 1955 and 1965, six of Ferrari's 20 drivers were killed in crashes and on five different occasions his cars careened into crowds of spectators, killing 50 bystanders in all. (In 1957, Ferrari was even tried for manslaughter after one of these bloody wrecks, but he was acquitted.)
Ferrari tended to scorn technological advances that he did not come up with himself, so he was slow to accept things like disc brakes, rear-mounted engines and fuel-injection systems. As a result, the stranglehold his cars had on races around the world began to loosen. Still, by the time he died in 1988, Ferrari cars had won more than 4,000 races.
the Ferrari Identity
The famous symbol of the Ferrari race team is the Cavallino Rampante ("prancing horse") black prancing stallion on a yellow shield, usually with the letters S F (for Scuderia Ferrari), with three stripes of green, white and red (the Italian national colors) at the top. The road cars have a rectangular badge on the hood (see picture at top of page), and, optionally, the shield-shaped race logo on the sides of both front wings, close to the door.
On 17 June 1923, Enzo Ferrari won a race at the Savio track in Ravenna where he met the Countess Paolina, mother of Count Francesco Baracca, an ace of the Italian air force and national hero of World War I, who used to paint a horse on the side of his planes. The Countess asked Enzo to use this horse on his cars, suggesting that it would bring him good luck. The original "prancing horse" on Baracca's airplane was painted in red on a white cloud-like shape, but Ferrari chose to have the horse in black (as it had been painted as a sign of grief on Baracca's squadron planes after the pilot was killed in action) and he added a canary yellow background as this is the color of the city of Modena, his birthplace. The Ferrari horse was, from the very beginning, markedly different from the Baracca horse in most details, the most noticeable being the tail that in the original Baracca version was pointing downward.
Ferrari has used the cavallino rampante on official company stationery since 1929. Since the Spa 24 Hours of 9 July 1932, the cavallino rampante has been used on Alfa Romeos raced by Scuderia Ferrari.
The motif of a prancing horse is old, it can be found on ancient coins. A similar black horse on a yellow shield is the Coat of Arms of the German city of Stuttgart, home of Mercedes-Benz and the design bureau of Porsche, both being main competitors of Alfa and Ferrari in the 1930s. The city's name derives from Stutengarten, an ancient form of the German word Gestüt, which translates into English as stud farm and into Italian as scuderia. Porsche also includes the Stuttgart sign in its corporate logo, centred in the emblem of the state of Württemberg. Stuttgart's Rössle has both rear legs firmly planted on the soil, like Baracca's horse, but unlike Ferrari's cavallino.
Fabio Taglioni used the cavallino rampante on his Ducati motorbikes, as Taglioni was born at Lugo di Romagna like Baracca, and his father too was a military pilot during WWI (although not part of Baracca's squadron, as is sometimes mistakenly reported). As Ferrari's fame grew, Ducati abandoned the horse- perhaps the result of a private agreement between the two companies.
Austrian Fuel Stations
The cavallino rampante is the visual symbol of Ferrari. Cavallino Magazine uses the name, but not the logo. However, other companies use similar logos: Avanti, an Austrian company operating over 100 filling stations, uses a prancing horse logo which is nearly identical to Ferrari's, as did Iron Horse Bicycles.
Taken from: http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/enzo-ferrari-makes-his-debut-as-a-race-car-driver [05.10.2012]