After 75 years, Ferrari has painted the town red. But how?
If you think about a red car, you likely picture a Ferrari, and if you think about a Ferrari, you likely picture a red car. The Italian marque has become synonymous with the color red over decades, and the hue has been central to its history for just as long — even before Ferrari was a company. The story of Rosso Corsa, Ferrari’s legendary red, started over a century ago, when Italy’s official motorsport color was formally deemed red after the 1907 Italian Peking to Paris–winning car flaunted red paintwork. From then on, Italian racing adopted red as its official color, in the same way that France has used blue and Britain green.
Ferrari’s time under the Alfa Romeo umbrella saw the creation of a great many red racing cars, and when Ferrari finally emerged as its own brand with the release of the 125S, Rosso Corsa remained the most readily visible color in its portfolio. Eventually, other automakers found other colors to use in motorsport and to represent their brands; but because Ferrari’s roots run deep in Italian motorsport, the Prancing Horse elected to continue showing its true colors and carry on the heritage of Rosso Corsa. Along with it, Ferrari became synonymous with the history and glory of Italian racing and the performance and style of the country’s best cars.
Today, Rosso Corsa (Italian for “racing red”) remains Ferrari’s most popular red, although other shades like Rosso Dino, Rosso Fiorano, and Rosso Scuderia are available. The entire palette of reds echoes the legacy of Rosso Corsa and tells the story of how the company’s red cars captured the hearts of the entire automo- tive world to make everlasting history. By the early 1990s, Ferrari says that 85 percent of cars built were finished in red, and while that’s changed with things like Ferrari’s Tailor Made program and the simple addition of more colors and models for more varied driving situations and customer bases, red still accounts for around half of Ferrari’s orders, according to the brand. At the very beginning of that all is Rosso Corsa.
Seventy-five years into Ferrari’s history, Rosso Corsa is still one of the most important shades of red — let alone colors — to the Ferrari brand. Whether it’s Ferrari’s iconic racing machines, incredible bespoke projects, or any car from its road-going lineup, from the flagship SF90 Stradale to the gentleman’s Roma to the radically new Purosangue, if you look, you’ll find Rosso Corsa very near the top of the list of colors with which a Cavallino Rampante car can be beautifully adorned.
While a Ferrari doesn’t necessarily have to be painted in Rosso Corsa — or even red — a very long and important history tells us that it’s hard to go wrong with this honorable hue.
This article appeared in our February 2023 issue.
Image Source: Ferrari