Enzo Ferrari once said, “Ask a child to draw a car, certainly he will draw it red.” Our new exclusive look inside the factory explores just how a Prancing Horse gets its colour
Words: Ross Brown
Film Editor: Rowan Jacobs

After 75 years of innovation, the Maranello factory is designed to deliver some of the most technologically advanced driving machines the world has to offer. But despite the software complexities entwined within every new Prancing Horse, one thing has remained constant for three quarters of a century: Ferrari come in red. 


Actually, in truth you can order your Ferrari in almost any colour you desire. Innovation hasn’t escaped water-based paint and clients now can choose from almost limitless external options. And that’s before you factor in matt or gloss, and that an individual car can also be several colours.


There are 21 stages to a Ferrari’s progress through the paint shop, from initial delivery through to a fully painted car, although that process is slightly longer if a client chooses a special livery). 

Take an exclusive look inside Maranello's Paint Shop

The chassis begins with a thorough de-greasing to clean the surfaces, before being prepared for a plunge into a bath of electro coating materials to future-proof it from corrosion. After the cataphoresis dip, the team get to work, with robots and humans working side-by-side on 62 car bodies per day. 


The robots have an invaluable role to play but the human touch is an integral part of the production line. The internal base coat application, for example, is applied manually in areas that are impossible for the robots to access - the human eye can see things that the robot cannot. 


It's this teamwork that ensures a chassis can pass through two automatic stations and emerge fully painted in 22 minutes (11 minutes per station). A single red Ferrari will require 4 kilos of paint although the volume varies with colour: metallic colours use slightly less, while black uses slightly more. Once painted, a computer collects data from ten to twelve separate locations on the car to ensure that the colour is correct across the entire chassis. 


The personalisation process is still very much based on artisan principles. There are no stickers on the body work; masking tape is applied to protect the paint, and then the paint is applied by hand. It’s complicated work: The livery will cover the entire car, often across several colours and materials such as carbon fibre, taking the team around six hours to complete.


Once finished, the cars are taken to the warehouse, completing a unique process within the factory that – in principle at least – has remained constant for 75 years.