Ferrari's Brickyard special

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

Current page

125

Current page

126

Current page

127

Current page

128

Current page

129

Current page

130

Current page

131

Current page

132

Current page

133

Current page

134

Current page

135

Current page

136

Current page

137

Current page

138

Current page

139

Current page

140

Current page

141

Current page

142

Current page

143

Current page

144

Current page

145

Current page

146

Current page

147

Current page

148

Current page

149

Current page

150

Current page

151

Current page

152

Current page

153

Current page

154

Current page

155

Current page

156

Current page

157

Current page

158

Current page

159

Current page

160

Current page

161

Current page

162

Current page

163

Current page

164

Current page

165

Current page

166

Current page

167

Current page

168

Current page

169

Current page

170

Current page

171

Current page

172

Current page

173

Current page

174

Current page

175

Current page

176

Current page

177

Current page

178

Current page

179

Current page

180

Current page

181

Current page

182

Current page

183

Indy 500, Monzanapolis and an F1 makeover – this car has a multiple history. Now the factory invites a GP driver to try it round Fiorano…
By Damien Smith

Alook of wonder has spread over the face of Marc Gené. He’s never sat in anything like this before, and the sound, a throaty 12-bore roar – that’s new, too. The oldest car he’s driven is a Jaguar E-type at the Goodwood Revival in September. And sadly, so it will remain. The Ferrari Formula 1 test driver flew in from Spain this morning especially for this, but Fiorano’s gloss-black asphalt glistens under a sheen of water. Rain stops play today.

Inside the test track’s famous Shell garage, Gené must be content to blip the single-seater’s throttle. It’s as close as he’ll get to discovering what it meant to race without seat belts, rollbars or any other form of cockpit protection. A different world, just 60 years out of arm’s reach.

Still, it was worth coming for the rest of us, to see a unique curio restored to perfection in the heart of Maranello. This is chassis number 0388, based on a 375 Grand Prix car, but intended instead for America’s greatest race. This is the grandly-titled Monoposto Corsa Indianapolis.

In March 1953 plans for a special project called ‘250 Indianapolis’ were under way. Ferrari’s Indy 500 bid in 1952 with a quartet of 375s had ended in failure, only Alberto Ascari qualifying for the race. He started 19th, but retired when a hub seized. Now, a specially modified car would be built for the new World Champion.

But 0388 never made it to the race, a cablegram from Modena informing the Indy officials that “unforeseen circumstances” had forced Ferrari to scratch its entry. Less than two months to build, test and ship the car to the US at the start of a busy racing season might have had something to do with it.

Efforts were made to save Ascari’s bid, even if it couldn’t be in a Ferrari. Ernie Ruiz offered his Travelon Trailer Special, originally meant for an injured Troy Ruttman. The reply followed 24 hours later: “Please accept my heartfelt thanks but a previous engagement with Ferrari prevents my taking part in the race. Thanks very much for your friendly and courteous offer and all consideration. Am looking forward to 1954, at Indianapolis. ASCARI”

He would never make it back to the Brickyard, although 0388 would get there – albeit briefly.

The car doesn’t exactly have a golden competition record. It was sold to North American importer Luigi Chinetti in January 1954 and subsequently featured at the New York Auto Show. In February ’55 Bob Said took it to the Daytona Speed Week, while Carroll Shelby tackled a pair of SCCA hillclimbs with the car in July 1956. It was earlier that year when 0388 made its only appearance at Indianapolis, tested by Giuseppe Farina during his ill-starred attempt to make the race.

In 1958 this curio was returned to Maranello to be modified for the curio race of the decade: the 500 Miglia di Monza – aka the Race of Two Worlds, aka ‘Monzanapolis’ – which pitched Indy and F1 stars against each other on Monza’s fearsome banked circuit. Harry Schell drove the car, now sporting the blue and white of Chinetti’s nascent North American Racing Team.

Schell and the old V12 hardly shone at Monza, Jenks dismissing the car in Motor Sport as ‘very old and scruffy’. Schell managed to finish 12th in the first heat, but failed to finish the second – ‘mechanical boredom’, reckons Jenks – and didn’t start the third. DSJ had a final barb for Schell, who didn’t seem to enjoy the experience: ‘The Indianapolis crowd have a sense of humour that’s different which makes a change. Harry Schell was bleating about the race being “stupid and silly” and a voice was heard to say: “how’d he know, he was so far behind he didn’t even see it”.’ Ouch…

The car was returned to the factory and was later rebodied by Carrozzeria Fantuzzi – in a style resembling a 1960 Dino F1 car, Ferrari’s last front-engined GP racer. Records show it was tested at Modena by Cliff Allison before departing for its new owner.

Today, it is far from scruffy, thanks to Ferrari’s Classiche division which has surely restored the car way beyond anything that can be described as its former glory. But sadly not in blue and white. The current owner ordered it in traditional red, and in the spec it left Maranello in 1960.

Recognised by Classiche and awarded Ferrari’s trademark ‘certificate of authenticity’, we can be assured this car is what it claims to be. And as an official restoration it has benefited from Ferrari’s exhaustive archive of drawings and parts records. But even with the support of the archive, there is still room for speculation: is this one of the four cars sent to Indy in 1952, then subsequently modified for Ascari’s aborted assault in ’53? There’s no proof, just the knowledge that only three of the four Indy 375s are currently accounted for.

What the records do tell us is that the car featured double Houdaille shock absorbers, unique among Ferrari single-seaters of the era. Its tubular chassis featured extra braces for the rigours of Indy, while dual pannier fuel tanks are visible on photos from the New York show in ’54, only one of which (the left) was retained for the Race of Two Worlds. Neither feature on the restored car, in keeping with its rebuild in 1960.

Records also show the car was originally supposed to feature an experimental engine that never ran in this, or any other, chassis. A V12 designated as Tipo 250 I with a displacement of 2963cc was intended, although the motor was only bench-tested in September ’53. Whatever the results of those tests, the car was sold to Chinetti with a standard 375 engine, as it has today. Thanks to the authority only Classiche can command, the engine in the restored car is stamped with a new, official number. That’s what you pay for if you go back to the factory for restoration.

Jenks showed little interest, but this extraordinary hybrid has gained in fascination with the passing of time. For Marc Gené at Fiorano, it promises an experience totally alien to his modern, high-downforce sensitivities. What a shame, then, about the rain. But perhaps it’s fitting that a new life for the Monoposto Corsa Indianapolis should get off to a non-starter, just as it did back in 1953.

You may also like

Related products