Fueled by his desire to stand out from the crowd of plain white helmets, Ayrton Senna experimented with a number of helmet designs before settling on the bright yellow one with the green and blue tripes that became his signature. The winning combination came from Sid Mosca, founder of Sid Special Paint, in 1979. He had entered the airbrushing business six years earlier, and ended up painting helmets for Nelson Piquet and Emerson Fittipaldi as well. Today, Sid Special is run by the founder’s son, Alan Sidney Mosca.
Representing youth, movement and aggression with Brazil’s national colors, Senna kept his helmet design nearly the same for 15 years, until his untimely death. Starting out with Arai helmets, Senna eventually used Bell, Rheos and Shoei lids, with minor changes to the shade of the yellow background and the occasional black stripe replacing the dark blue.
Today, Sid Special Paint continues to produce replica Senna helmets, mostly to benefit the Ayrton Senna Institute, an education initiative in Brazil.