The report comes from Autocar, which claims to have dug up the application to patent the design for an "internal combustion engine having two cylinders, which are arranged in a 'V' configuration." In other words, a motorcycle engine. The application reportedly goes on to describe a balancing shafts to reduce vibration. Our own research did not lead us to find the application in question, so we'll have to take it with a grain of salt for the moment. But supposing it's all on the up and up, and that Ferrari was actually developing a motorcycle engine. Would that be so out of the ordinary?
Well, yes and no. Parent company Fiat, which is taking increased direct control of Ferrari, is undoubtedly looking at rival Volkswagen and its recent acquisition of Ducati (putting it in close proximity to Lamborghini) and would be keen to get in on that action. However tenuous the relationship, Lotus has also recently authorized a motorcycle bearing its name. And of course automakers like BMW and Honda, with which Ferrari has competed on and off the race track, also make motorcycles.
While Ferrari itself has never made motorcycles, there have been many tributes, including one made by David Kay Engineering in 1995 that was even authorized by the factory. But a scenario at least as likely would see Ferrari developing a motorcycle engine on a consulting basis for a paying customer. Porsche did just that with Harley-Davidson on the water-cooleed Revolution engine, and Ferrari's new chairman Sergio Marchionne has made no secret of his desire to cash in on Maranello's potential earnings. Whether the project would be carried out for a brand (new or existing) under the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles umbrella, we don't know, but there have been rumors linking Fiat to the purchase of MV Agusta and of Aprilia and Moto Guzzi parent company Piaggio.
Along with the engine design, Ferrari has also reportedly applied to trademark the name Cavallino - as in "cavallino rampante," Italian for the "prancing horse" by which the company is known. The handle is touted as a potential name for the rumored Ferrari motorcycle, but it is unclear whether the two applications are related.