Once again it was the Scuderia Ferrari who provided the main mechanical interest at Naples, for, as last year, they brought along some very interesting experimental cars. Carried in one of their brand new transporters, which has two floor levels, with a mechanical lift operated from the main engine, Ferrari lined up two Formula 1 Lancia/Ferrari cars and his brand new Formula II car. This new 1,500-c.c. V6 Ferrari is described in full in another part of this issue of Motor Sport so consequently can be omitted from this review. The two Formula 1 cars were for Collins and Hawthorn, and the former had a 1956 “Syracuse” model, with the full-width body, but with a new rear suspension. This was fully independent on the low-pivot swing-axle principle, and it will be remembered by regular readers that Ferrari tried a car with this rear suspension last year during practice for the Naples race. This second attempt at swing-axle design was much more successful and although the general principles were the same, using the ends of the de Dion tube each joined to a long arm running across the rear of the car and downwards to a ball joint, with the two arms crossed over and the ball joints about 12 inches apart, the suspension medium was now coil springs in place of the normal transverse leaf-spring. These crossed arms ran from the hub carrier across to the opposite side of the chassis, thus, in effect, giving a long radius and a low roll-centre. In addition to the coil-springs an anti-roll bar was used, while the drive from the normal gearbox/transmission used the standard type of universally-jointed half-shaft.
The other car, driven by Hawthorn, was first of all a special one with a lengthened chassis frame, though the wheelbase was unaltered from standard, and the engine was mounted further forward, in order that the cockpit could contain the large bulk of this oversize driver. Secondly, this car has an experimental front end, consisting of the complete suspension, steering and brakes from a 1955 Super Squalo Ferrari attached to the Lancia/Ferrari chassis frame. The rest of Hawthorn’s car was standard, it too having the full-width body. These two cars, together with their “little brother” the V6 Ferrari, formed the main opposition for the race, as Maserati had not entered any official cars.
The Modena Trident was being carried by Gregory, with the car Schell drove into second place at Pau the previous week-end, Gould and Halford with their cars and Volonterio with the ex-Scuderia Guastalla Maserati, now rebuilt and fitted with the latest type of long-nose body. Godia and Piottii should also have been running but there was insufficent time after Pau to repair their cars.
The rest of the Formula 1 entry was made up of a lone factory Connaught, being the one that Bueb drove into third place at Pau, and now driven by Lewis-Evans, fresh from his Goodwood win and making his first Grand Prix appearance; the ex-Whiteaway H.W.M. with 2½-litre Alta engine, in the hands of its new owner, A. G. Mann; a six-cylinder Gordini driven by da Silva Ramos; an Italian driver, Brandolio, with a home-built “special” utilising Lancia Aurelia mechanical components; and local driver Bellucci with an A6G sports Maserati.
As the race was for Formula 1 and Formula II, combined but with separate prizes, there was a miscellaneous collection of 1½-litre machinery to form a field behind the works Ferrari driven by Musso. The much-publicised Lotus and Cooper onslaught of the Formula II field provided no entries at all, on this circuit which would have been ideal for them. There was an old long-chassis monoposto Ferrari fitted with a 12-cylinder 1½-litre engine, one of the old supercharged cars suitably modified, and driven by Taraschi; another local man, Natella, with a new 1,100-c.c. sports Osca; Maglioli with the works Porsche Spyder he drove in Sicily; and Fiordelisi with a home-built sports car using a 1,900 Alfa-Romeo engine linered down to 1,500 c.c.
As a Formula II race the entry was a bit of a farce, so that the Formula II Ferrari was viewed as competition for the bigger cars, and the assorted 1½-litre machinery purely as make-weight. D.S.J.