As one of the most iconic symbols of the performance car and racing world, we are certain you have seen the Ferrari prancing horse a time or two. But where did it come from?

Enzo Ferrari only spoke of the stallion’s origin once according to the Italian brand.

Before his rise to fame for building some of the world’s most amazing automobiles for both the street and the race track, he himself was a racer. After winning the 1924 Coppa Acerbo race in Italy, Enzo saw much success with Alfa Romeo. In 1929 the Scuderia Ferrari race team was formed racing for Alfa Romeo in many various categories.

The horse was painted on the fuselage of the fighter plane of Francesco Baracca, a heroic airman of the First World War. One day, young Enzo met the hero’s father and mother, Count Enrico Baracca and Countess Paulina. The Countess said “Ferrari, put my son’s prancing horse on your cars. It will bring you good luck.” Enzo, of course, obliged with the black horse adding a canary yellow background symbolizing Modena, his birthplace.

In 1932, a yellow shield featuring the black prancing horse on the Alfa Romeos of Enzo’s Scuderia racing team at the Spa Grand Prix. The luck of Francesco worked with the two cars entered coming in first and second. But when motor racing stopped due to World War II, Enzo left Alfa Romeo for good in order to build his own racing cars. It was agreed that he could not put the Ferrari name on his creations for four years. In the meantime, his business began making machinery but his passion for motorsports never left him during the war years, even after his new headquarters in Maranello had been bombed.

In 1947 the Ferrari built, 12 cylinder Tipo 125S displayed the prancing horse with great pride including the Ferrari name once again. The car made its debut at the 1948 Italian Grand Prix marking the birth of the Ferrari brand as well as the continued greatness that followed and still lives to this day.