On June 17, 1923 the racing pilot Enzo Ferrari had the first of his few victories: in total there would be nine, over a racing career that lasted until 1931. That day, June 17, 1923, is linked to an episode that would play a decisive role in Ferrari’s passage from story to legend.
Because Ferrari, behind the apparent exclusive focus on 'doing', was in fact a master of appreciation the value of symbols, and their ability to generate enthusiasm, becoming a reference point for passions of ordinary people.
Meanwhile, Giulio Ramponi, his mechanic who had accompanied him in the car, hurried him: "Come on, we must go back home...".
That distinguished gentleman was none other but Enrico Baracca. A Count whom the First World War firstly gave the glory and then inflicted the most cruel pain.
His son Francesco, had become, in rural Italy at the turn of the century, a myth: an aviation pilot, the hero of the skies, the flying symbol of a patriotism which Enzo, an ardent interventionist in 1915, fully identified with. The activities of Baracca had a tragic outcome: he was shot down by the enemy in the clouds above Montello.
It was she who gave Ferrari the symbol which would forever be associated with the activity of the entrepreneur from Modena: The Cavalllino Rampante, which would affectionately be know by tifosi as the "Prancing Stallion". One day Mrs. Baracca told Enzo “Ferrari, put on your cars the prancing stallion of my son. It will bring you luck." Surely, even more than the mother of Francesco Baracca could imagine.
"The Horse" Ferrari wrote in his memoirs, "was and has remained black. I added the canary yellow background, which is the color of Modena."
Interestingly, only nine years after the chance meeting at the victory of the Circuit of Savio, the prancing horse would make his first appearance on the Enzo’s cars. The "debut" took place in Belgium, more precisely in Spa, where on July 10, 1932 was a 24 Hour race. The emblem was stuck on the hood of the 8-cylinder Alfa Romeo 2300 MM. And the rest, as they say, is history. But alas, there's more...
The cavallino rampante ties to PorsChe & Stuttgart
There is still a bit more backstory that establishes prancing stallion's origins in Germany. The prancing stallion is the symbol of the city of Stuttgart.
During the First World War, in an aerial duel, Francesco Baracca shot down an aircraft manufactured in Germany. Upon winning the aerial duel, Baracca landed near the wreckage and recover a piece of the enemy aircraft. The planes where all covered in canvas to cutting a piece off was rather simple. Baracca would keep the badge attached to his plane’s fuselage, made in a factory in Stuttgart.
This was quite commonplace behavior for fighter pilots of the era: It was a practice among aviators to recover, if possible, something that would confirm the results of their dogfight battle in the skies. Baracca would make it his own good-luck token. And after his death the prancing horse would be sent to his parents. From them it passed into the hands of Enzo.
Portions of this article originally posted at: http://www.webalice.it/g.sivocci/biografia-it-en.html
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