Ferrari’s 553 ‘Squalo’ of 1954, its first spaceframe car, should have been a significant improvement over the stopgap 625, which was essentially a 2.5-litre version of the all-conquering ’53 F2 car. It had a more powerful, though still four-cylinder, engine, a lower centre of gravity, and designer Lampredi had attempted to endow it with quicker responses through a more centralised mass.
The drivers hated it. Twitchy on fast circuits, understeery on slow ones, it was little wonder the drivers usually insisted on the faithful 625. A switch to coil-spring front suspension improved it and Hawthorn won the Spanish GP.
‘Supersqualo’ (right) was meant to build on this in 1955, thanks to revised weight distribution. The drivers hated it — and usually insisted on the 625.
Paul Frère recalled in Alan Henry’s Ferrari, the Grand Prix Cars: “It was a real beast around Monaco, it just wanted to plough straight on at the hairpins.”
Ferrari was lucky that Lancia then had to cast its D50 ‘pearls’ before it. MH