Words: Chris Rees
Red may be Ferrari’s signature colour but it has many shades
Enzo Ferrari is, famously, reputed to have said: “Ask a child to draw a car, and certainly he will draw it red.”
To develop that sentiment, when you think of a red sports car, your mind will almost certainly conjure up a Ferrari. After all, not only is red the definitive livery of Ferrari’s Formula One team, but it’s also by far the most popular colour chosen by clients. At its peak in the early 1990s, a remarkable 85 per cent of all Ferraris built were painted red. Even today, the figure is 40 per cent.
There is one shade of red in particular that sears out of Ferrari’s colour swatch catalogue: Rosso Corsa, which translates as ‘Racing Red’. The inference is clear: as the historic international colour of Italian racing cars, red represents the very lifeblood of Ferrari.
Some of the most iconic Ferrari models of all, such as the 288 GTO, were only available in this shade of red. And the vibrant blood-red Rosso Corsa shade was the natural choice when Ferrari came to launch the new Ferrari 488 Pista, the latest in Ferrari’s ‘Special Series’ cars, which seek to bring the emotions of driving a track racing car to a road car. When the covers of the 488 Pista were removed at the Geneva Motor Show public unveiling in March 2018, underneath was a bold Rosso Corsa example. When asked why this colour was selected, Ferrari’s Head of Product Marketing, Nicola Boari, said: “Rosso Corsa is rooted in our DNA. We really believe it interprets the best link with the brand – it’s our most representative colour.”
That’s not to say, of course, that Rosso Corsa is Ferrari’s only shade of red: a huge variety of hues is available. For instance, Rosso Scuderia is lighter than Corsa, while Rosso Mugello is darker. Some Ferrari models are available in ‘Historical’ shades too, drawing on Ferrari’s rich hertitage, such as Rosso Dino and Rosso Fiorano. Then there are special colours such as Rosso Monza, Rosso Formula 1 2007, Rosso Fuoco and Rosso Berlinetta, all viewable on Ferrari’s configurator. New reds are constantly evolving, such as Rosso 70 Anni, created for Ferrari’s 70th birthday year in 2017.
Then there’s Ferrari’s newest shade in the red spectrum, formulated especially for the launch of the Ferrari Portofino. Appropriately enough, this metallic triple-coat paint is called Rosso Portofino. It doesn’t take a great leap of the ingenuity to appreciate that the sumptuous shade could easily evoke a fine red wine from the Italian Riviera.
In fact, there is no limit to how many shades of red can be applied to a Ferrari. Maranello’s Tailor Made personalisation programme means that the client’s imagination calls the tune: literally any colour sample can be used as a basis to create bespoke paintwork.