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1950-51-52 Ferrari Tipo 375F1/Indianapolis


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#1 Writer2

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Posted 14 March 2023 - 16:21

Hello.

 

I am currently writing a book about the early Ferrari F1/F2/Formula Libre cars.  It has taken two years so far and will probably take longer to gather all the information needed but I have learned a lot.  Thank you to TNF's posters, in particular Michael Muller, Allen Brown, Doug Nye and "Austria."

 

I have now reached 1950/51/52 and am trying to sort out the various tipo 375s.  Can anyone please help with the individual histories? All comments welcome.  So far, it appears that a total of seven F1 cars were built in 1950/51, two in 1950, they are known as GP50-1 and GP 50-2.

 

There were five more in 1951. I'm presuming, (dangerous, that..!) that they were numbered as GP51-1 through 5.   Louis Rosier bought one, apparently numbered as GP51.02, and Francisco, "Chico" Landi bought another, apparently a 1950 car, GP50.02.

 

In 1952, five cars were modified with extended chassis, modified engines etc, to compete at Indianapolis, plus one to Vandervell for TWS #4.  They were re-numbered. From what, does anyone know? Certainly, Indy Chassis number 4, Howard Keck's car, had been F1 chassis number 3. (New number 4 tag welded over original number 3 stampings).

 

Engines: One 375 engine went into the Thinwall Special #4, after #2 and 3, which had been 1949 125-C-02. This was engine number 10.  GP52/1 numbered engine went into "Arno XII", the Hydroplane. 

 

Another subject but obtaining good photos is also a problem.


Edited by Writer2, 30 March 2023 - 18:07.


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#2 Roger Clark

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Posted 17 March 2023 - 17:07

Is it correct that Thinwall #4 ws originally 125-C-02.   I thought it was a new, 1952 , car and that #3 was the rebuilt #2.



#3 B Squared

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Posted 23 March 2023 - 10:50

I don't know if this car is among those you're researching, this is at the Ferrari Club of America's National meeting in the Detroit area (GM Tech Center and Grosse Pointe Yacht Club) in 1971 or '72. I'm not sure who owned the car at the time, possibly Mr. Merritt. If these are out of place, let me know and I'll delete.

 

B² photos at Dearborn area Holiday Inn parking lot

Ferrari-Indy.jpg

Ferrari-Indy-71-A.jpg


Edited by B Squared, 23 March 2023 - 11:10.


#4 Writer2

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Posted 27 March 2023 - 20:06

Hello Roger and B Squared,

 

Thanks for your replies.Roger, as far as I am aware, chassis number 02C from 1948 was the first ThinWall Special, with 125-C-02 from 1949 being the next.  Both were returned to the factory, 02C then being sold on to Giovanni Bracco, who raced it a few times in period. . 125-C-02, AFAIAA, was returned to the factory also and rebuilt and returned, to make it TWS number 3, with a 375 engine.  It went back once more and was returned with, apparently, a lengthened Indianapolis type chassis and a twin-plug 375 engine, "010". From reading about F1 375 chassis number 3, which was modified to become an Indianapolis type chassis and re-stamped as number 4, it appears that these four "Indy" chassis were the 1951 F1 cars, with additional pieces used to lengthen them.  I'm still looking into this but if this is the case, TWS number 4 was still 125-C-02.

 

B Squared:  Yes, that is the 1952 Indianapolis 375, the Grant Piston Ring Special.  It did belong to Dick Merritt/Carl Bross when you photographed it. Apparently Indycar chassis number 2, according to a long ago article that I found from the 1970s, when Dick Merritt was helping Carl Bross assemble his collection of Ferraris.



#5 Writer2

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Posted 27 March 2023 - 20:43

Roger,

 

The first TWS was 1948 Chassis 02C, returned with complaint to the factory in January 1950 after one unsuccessful race.

 

TWS number 2 was the 1949 4-camshaft, twin supercharged Long wheelbase 125-C-02. You are right. Returned to factory again, after another unsuccessful outing at Silverstone in 1950, where Ascari spun off in practice. Came back to England in 1951 rebuilt as number 3, with single-plug 375 engine. Raced successfully, apparently broken up but chassis recovered in 1973 by Tom Wheatcroft and rebuilt by Hall and Hall and shown in the Donington collection.

 

TWS number 4 was a lengthened Indianapolis type chassis, with a twin plug per cylinder 375 engine, number 010.  I must ask Mr Nye if this was a separate car to TWS number 3. The 1952 Indianapolis cars had, according to Kendall Merritt, who looked after the Howard Keck car, extensions to the original 1951 chassis, to give them a longer wheelbase for Indianapolis.  So was this 125-C-02 again, or a  completely different car? I tend to think that it was the same car, with an uprated engine.


Edited by Writer2, 27 March 2023 - 20:45.


#6 Roger Clark

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Posted 28 March 2023 - 09:05

Vanwall by Jenkinson and Posthumus seems pretty clear that Thin Wall #4 was a completely new car. The new edition has additional photographs and captions by Doug Nye, one of which says “Thin Wall Special Ferrari chassis 125-C-02 was replaced by this fresh long-wheelbase Ferrari 375 Indianapolis chassis, serial 010-375”. 
 

The text says that Vandervell negotiated with Ferrari to buy a 2-litre 4-cylinder engine which he thought of fitting to the old Thin Wall chassis, that is #3. That idea went nowhere. An appendix in the original edition says that #3 was broken up in 1952. This was updated in the new version to say that #3 was saved from scrap by Tom Wheatcroft in the 1980s. In 2021 it was in the Ecclestone collection.   #4 as in the Monbouan Arts and Cars Collection, Brittany, France. 
 

Admittedly, the fact that two cars exist today does not mean that they did in 1952.  Even if there was some paper shuffling so that #4 retained the identity of #3, quite possible given what we know of later Vanwalls, it seems to me that the differences between the two make it only sensible to see #4 as a new car. 



#7 Writer2

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Posted 28 March 2023 - 16:23

Roger,

 

Thank you so much for that information, helps a lot. From what I've researched so far, there were two single plug 375 F1 cars from September 1950, at the Italian GP. In 1951, it APPEARS that five more were built and raced.  Of these seven cars, one was sold to Chico Landi, probably 1950/2,  one to Louis Rosier, probably 1951/2, and four more were converted for the Indianapolis 500 of 1952.  That would leave one car, which appears to be the 375/010 that went to Vandervell, (perhaps the one crashed at Valentino Park in early 1952?), although I've long thought, (with no proof!)_, that that was probably the engine number...



#8 Writer2

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Posted 28 March 2023 - 16:37

Looking through all the various car/engine combinations of these early, (1948-52), years, I have never understood the reasoning behind the 212 (2,562cc), engined cars.  This engine capacity was too large for F2, (2 litres unsupercharged limit), and too small for F1, (4.5 litres unsupercharged/1.5 litres supercharged limit).

 

Was Ferrari perhaps looking forward to the next, 2.5 litres capacity limit?



#9 Roger Clark

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Posted 28 March 2023 - 22:44

The 212 engine was used mainly for sports and early touring cars. I believe it was the largest capacity achieved at the time from the Columbo V12.  Since the advent of the 166, extra capacity had been obtained by increasing the bore; the stroke remained the same.  It could be that the 212 was the largest capacity possible without the expense of a new crankshaft. Later Grand Prix V12s, starting at 3.3-litres were by Lampredi who replaced Columbo as chief designer.

 

That is speculation and could be way off.



#10 Writer2

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Posted 29 March 2023 - 14:35

Hi Roger,

 

Thank you, I was aware of the Colombo engine's development and, as you say, by 1950/51, the 212 was the largest size of the Colombo engine, although it was further developed, still with the same stroke, 58.8mm, up to the 275 size, via the 225 and the 250.

 

My real point with this query was to discover the reason that Ferrari used this engine in 1950/51 in the F1/F2 cars, as it was too small for the former, (not enough power), when set against the Alfa 158/159), and too big for the latter.



#11 Roger Clark

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Posted 31 March 2023 - 16:32

Who raced a 212 engine in Formula 1?



#12 Writer2

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Posted 31 March 2023 - 17:57

I thought GP1+2/49 and GP3/50, when sold to Marzotto but am I wrong? Did they use 166 engines only for F2? The situation appears confused.



#13 Roger Clark

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Posted 31 March 2023 - 23:00

I think you're correct and Scuderia Ferrari entered Serafini in a 212 engined car at the 1951 Syracuse and Pau Grands Prix.Old Racing Cars says that this was the car raced by Villoresi in 1950 at Bremgarten as a 125 and at Geneva as a 275.  This would be derived from research by Michael Muller, David McKinney and Adam Ferrington.so I would certainly believe it.

 

Is it possible that Ferrari, having abandoned superchargers, used the relatively plentiful 212 engines as an easy way of building a Formula 1 car for private owners and lesser works drivers while Lampredi engines were in short supply?



#14 Writer2

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Posted 01 April 2023 - 07:31

Roger,

 

Still investigating but that's the only reason that I can see for these 212 engined cars in F1 at present.  As you say, for privateers to join in the F1 races.



#15 Writer2

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Posted 01 April 2023 - 08:17

Can we move on to the 1951 Tipo 375s? I believe there were five cars built, plus the two from 1950, making seven in all.  Allen Brown in ORC says three in 1952? There is also the last Thinwall Special, #4, an Indianapolis spec. car.  This is referred to as "010" but is this the chassis, or engine number? Does anyone know please? One was sold to Landi, one to Rosier and four went to USA as Indianapolis cars. Add in the TWS #4 and there are seven cars.


Edited by Writer2, 01 April 2023 - 20:32.


#16 Roger Clark

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Posted 04 April 2023 - 18:40

My knowledge of these cars comes mainly from published sources so there may be little here that is new, but it may be of some interest. My main sources are oldracingcars.com, Volume 5 of the Black Book (3rd edition) and Denis jenkinson's Racing Car Review, plus photograph in several other books. I believe that the 3rd edition of the Black book has significant updates from the 2nd. The people who produced those pages of ORC are generally beyond reproach but they have been frozen since 2014 as a tribute to David McKinney. the Black Book 3rd edition was published in 2020.

The 375 first appeared at the Italian Grand Prix 1950, driven by Ascari and Serafini. They had been entered for the Pescara race a few weeks earlier but did not appear. Ascari had driven a 340-engined car in the GP des Nations in Geneva but I don't know whether the same car was fitted with a 375 engine at Monza. ORC doesn't identify the Monza cars but the Black Book says 375-1 for Serafini, 375-2 for Ascari. These cars were used in 1951, including Gonzalez' historic win in the British Grand Prix.

The 1951 cars first appeared at San Remo. Racing Car Review says that the main differences were the twin plug engine, easily identifiable by the irregularly spaced exhausts and improved brakes. ORC and the Black Book both say that there were five cars, numbered 375-3 to -7. The cars received some bodywork modifications during the year; at Reims the windshield was blended into the scuttle replacing the flat aero screen. At Monza some of the cars had a high tail providing a headrest for the driver. ORC and the Black Book agree on who drove what except in the Geman Grand Prix where ORC says that Ascari drove one of the 1950 cars but the Black Book says that it was 375-4. Ascari's Nurburgring car was fitted with splash guards behind the front wheels. hiding the exhausts so I can't tell whether it had a twin plug engine. It certainly had the flat aero screen.

Also during 1951, Vandervell ran a 375 Thinwall Special but this was a 1949 car re-engined.

In 1952, Ferrari built four cars with longer wheelbase for Indianapolis. The longer wheelbase was required by local rules. Scuderia Ferrari entered three cars for the Valentino Park race. Ascari and Farina had long wheelbase cars and Villoresi had an earlier car. ORC doesn't have any identifies but the Black Book says that Ascari had 375-8, Farina 375-9 and Villoresi 375-10. We know that 375-10 was the Thinwall so the information for Villoresi is unlikely. The only other Scuderia Ferrari entries of a 375 that year were when the sent a car for Villoresi in the British Grand Prix support race and a meeting at Boreham Wood. ORC doesn't give an identity but the Black Book says that it was 375-4. The bodywork looks the same as Ascari's Indianapolis car to me.

There were three privately entered 375s during 1952. The 4th Thinwall special is listed 375-10. This car remained the property of Vandervell Products for many years and was later in the Donington Collection so I think we can be confident that it did cary that identification. Louis Rosier ran a car which the Black Book says was 375-5. Chico Landi raced a car under the Escuderia Bandeirantes; the Black Book says this was 375-2.

In 1953, Ferrari sent a 375 to Argentina for Ascari to drive in a Formule Libre race but I have no information about which car it was. The only Scuderia Ferrari entry in Europe that I can find was for Ascari at Albi. The Black Book says it was 375-4, Photographs show that it had a low tail and locked the large bonnet top air scoop of the 1952 works cars. The Thinwall and Rosier cars continued to race, mainly in Formula Libre.

#17 Writer2

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Posted 04 April 2023 - 21:24

Roger,

 

Thank you so much for this, very helpful.  Personally, from all that I have read, I don't think, (notice: "think!"), that there was a /8,/9 built.  Numbers /6 and /7 were built in July/August 1951.  At present, I think /10 was possibly /01 renumbered, it "disappears" from the records after May, 1951. Yes, Landi bought /2 and Rosier /5. I know that/3 was re-numbered as /4 to be an Indianapolis spec car for 1952.  This leaves the other three Indycars as re-numbered 4, 6 and 7, which accounts for the seven cars. The Valentino Park cars can, I'm sure, can be worked out, particularly as Farina crashed his, which was supposed to go to Indianapolis as a "spare" works car for Ascari. I think /8,/9 would have  been built  too late for that race.

 

Incidentally, Keith Bluemel wrote a very good article about F1 #3/Indycar #4 in "Cavallino."  That clearly shows that the Indycar lengthened chassis were the original chassis from 1950/51, with pieces welded on/in to give the longer wheelbase.


Edited by Writer2, 04 April 2023 - 21:25.


#18 Dutchy

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Posted 05 April 2023 - 11:26

May I make a tiny correction which isn't really germaine to the thread but Roger Clark referred to Boreham Wood? The circuit in question was Boreham, near Chelmsford in Essex while Borehamwood is a town in Hertfordshire with connections to the film industry rather than motor sport. Strangely, Duncan Hamilton referred to it as  Borehamwood in his autobiography 'Touch Wood'.


Edited by Dutchy, 06 April 2023 - 11:43.


#19 Writer2

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Posted 05 April 2023 - 12:10

Thank you Dutchy!



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#20 Roger Clark

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Posted 05 April 2023 - 15:38

May I make a tiny correction which isn't really germaine to the thread but Roger Clark referred to Boreham Wood. The circuit in question was Boreham, near Chelmsford in Essex while Borehamwood is a town in Hertfordshire with connections to the film industry rather than motor sport. Strangely, Duncan Hamilton referred to itas  Borehamwood in his autobiography 'Touch Wood'.

Oh dear!



#21 Roger Clark

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Posted 07 April 2023 - 12:47

Returning briefly to the 212 powered cars, Rudi Fischer drove one in 1951, entered by his Team Swordfish.


Edited by Roger Clark, 07 April 2023 - 12:47.


#22 Writer2

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Posted 10 April 2023 - 16:32

I thought Fischer's car, Private sale number 110, the old 125-C-03/04, (no one's quite sure which), was run by Ecurie Espadon, or is that Italian for "Swordfish?"



#23 Roger Clark

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Posted 11 April 2023 - 11:21

French.  Sorry if it was a failed attempt at humour.



#24 Writer2

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Posted 05 May 2023 - 20:24

Another Ferrari mystery: Count Bruno Sterzi, 1949:

 

According to all that I read, Sterzi had an F2 car, 01F, which Enzo Ferrari sold to the Automobile Club of Argentina in June, 1949.  It was re-numbered as 011F and Fangio won the F2 race at Monza with it on June 26th, after it had been at the factory being repaired after Sterzi had a gearbox failure with it at Aix-les-Bains on June 21st.

 

But then we have Sterzi racing at Lake Garda on July 10th, 1949, in a F2 monoposto car with race number 20; there are several photos of it.  According to one account that I have read, Sterzi had a bad accident in the car and went to hospital with a broken leg.

 

The only cars that this could have been were 08C, (a works car for Ascari), or 10C, Peter Whitehead's car.  Both were maintained by the Factory. But both were racing the very next weekend... as was 01F/011F.


Edited by Writer2, 05 May 2023 - 20:25.


#25 Henk Vasmel

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Posted 06 May 2023 - 16:31

I have 166F2-GP-02C, for Sterzi and Fangio since 19th of June 1949. That doesn't help much, because Fangio used the same car one week after Garda in Reims. Possibly the damage to the car was not too much?

In the field alternative cars, I have 166 C-01F or 159 C-001S. For Fangio in Reims, I only have 166F2-011F, which is the same as 166C-01F.

So the most likely scenario is that the car was repaired.



#26 Writer2

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Posted 07 May 2023 - 18:55

Fangio drove 01F, the F2 car that the Automobile Club of Argentina had bought from Sterzi, via  Enzo Ferrari. This took place during the week of 21-27 June 1949.

 

The F2 car that Sterzi raced at Lake Garda on 10 July 1949 appears to be a 125C and the only difference that I can see from it and the other 5 cars then extant is that, on the engine cover, there are only 4 louvres in the first row from the front, whereas I count 6 louvres on the other cars, with the exception of 08C, which had 5. So it's not 08C, it's not 01F, it's not 12C, all of which I've been able to look at photographs of. 02C was in England as the first Thinwall Special, 06C was at Rheims with Mario Tadini.  10C was at Rheims also. Bonetto  was supposed to be at Garda for the race but he did not arrive, so I think it must have been this car, 04C. It did not race again for another 40 days.... Probably being repaired at the factory.



#27 Writer2

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Posted 14 May 2023 - 15:48

Yet another Ferrari mystery from this period surfaces!  On 11th March, 1951, Rudolf Fischer drove a long wheelbase, swing axle car that he had bought from the factory with, apparently, chassis number 0110. He ran it for the rest of the 1951 season. Hans Tanner was at five of the 1951 races and reported these features.  So which car was this?  As far as I am aware, there were only three Ferraris that fitted this description; 125-C-01, 125-C-02, and the second FL car that was sold to Argentina, 013F, originally marked as 014.  All of these are accounted for in 1951. Originally, I had thought this a re-numbered 125-C-04 that Ascari had driven at the GP des Nations, at Geneva on 30th July 1950 but that was not a Long wheelbase car, and it had de  Dion rear suspension, not the old swing axle type.  Anyone?


Edited by Writer2, 17 May 2023 - 02:37.


#28 Arjan de Roos

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Posted 17 May 2023 - 08:04

At Siracusa two 212's were present: one with the De Dion axle (a 166 F2 chassis) and the new engine. Fischer drove a "conventional" chassis. Is this not the 212 that resides in the Mulhouse museum? 



#29 Writer2

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Posted 17 May 2023 - 09:45

Hello Arjan. Thank you. Yes, this is apparently chassis number 0110, Rudi Fischer's long wheelbase, swing axle car from 1951.



#30 Writer2

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Posted 17 January 2024 - 20:48

1950-52 Tipo 375 F1s.

 

Help! I have been researching these 4.5 litre F1 Ferraris and what happened to them after their initial racing years.  I am now fairly certain that Chassis number 1 became the last Thinwall Special, chassis and engine number 010.  It stops being raced by the Scuderia aa #1 and then starts up as #010.

 

What really concerns me is 1950 chassis number 2.  This is the car  that was apparently driven by Juan Froilan Gonzales, to win the British Grand Prix in 1951. William Boddy, the then Editor of "Motor Sport" recorded it as "chassis Number 2."  It was driven by  Francisco "Chico" Landi at the 1951 Italian Grand Prix. By all the accounts that I read, he then bought it and sent it back to South America, where it languished for many years until being bought by Colin Crabbe in the mid-1970s and sent back to England. He sold the parts to Dries van der Loff of the Netherlands, who said that the car bore chassis number 5 (!). From what I read, the car has been restored as 125-C-04, which was PROBABLY driven by Ascari, on 30/7/1950 at the Swiss GP, with a Tipo 340 engine installed.

 

Then we have chassis number 5. Today, this belongs to Bernie Ecclestone and also claims to be the British GP winner. It was restored by Ferrari Classische in 2019-2021. (See excerpts from my database below).  Can anyone please help me with discovering the real histories here? I suspect the identities may have become mixed up whilst in South America.

 

Finally, it is recorded that Gonzales British GP winning car had a single plug per cylinder car at that race, whilst the other team cars of Ascari and Villoresi had twin plug per cylinder engines. Why was this? Could it have been that Gonzales' car, being a 1950 build, had always kept the same type of engine, whereas the cars built in 1951 had the later, more powerful engine?

 

Tipo: 375 GP.

Chassis number: GP/50(2).

Factory team.

 

The second Ferrari 375 F1 to be introduced at the 1950 Italian GP and this one was stamped as 'GP/50/2'. Almost certainly,  Ascari's car at Monza and then used by him for the first two races of 1951. After this, it became the team's "T" (practice), car and it may have been driven by Froilan Gonzales to win the British GP. After this, the same car was driven  by Ascari to claim victory at the German Grand Prix on the Nürburgring. It was last seen in 1951 when it was raced by Chico Landi at the Italian GP. 

 

1950: 

1950-09-03: Italian GP, Monza F1, GP50/2 Ferrari 375F1, #16 Alberto Ascari, engine, DNF.

1950-10-29: GP de Penya Rhin, Pedralbes F1, GP/50/2, Ferrari 375F1, #2 Alberto Ascari, 1st.

 

1951:

1951-03-11: GP de Syracusa: A. Ascari, SF#12;  DNF.  Ferrari 375/50/2. Transmission, DNF. Tanner: Overheating when leading 1950 4.5 model.

1951-03-26: GP de Pau: A. Ascari, SF#12;  DNF. Ferrari 375/50/2: DNF. Tanner: Transmission after leading. 1950 4.5 model.

1951-04-22: GP di San Remo: A. Ascari, "T" car/Muletto?

D. Serafini, SF#30; 2nd. Tanner: 1950 model 4.5

1951-05-27: GP of Switzerland, Bremgarten: P. Taruffi, SF#44; 2nd. Tanner: 24-plug GP/50/2.

 

1951-07-14: British GP, Silverstone: J-F. Gonzales, SF#12: 1st. ORC: 1st.  Tanner: 12-plug. Why go back to a 12-plug engine after Swiss GP, 05/27? William Boddy, the then Editor of "Motor Sport" recorded it as "chassis Number 2." 

1951-07-29: German GP, Nurburgring: A. Ascari, SF#71  1st. 

ORC: 1st. Tanner: No note.

1951-08-05: Albi: F. Landi, #32; DNF. Engine.

1951-08-15: Pescara GP: DNF. ORC: Oil pressure. Tanner: Engine-1st lap. 12 plug.

1951-09-16: Italian GP, Monza: F. Landi, #12, DNF. 375/50-2. Tanner: Transmission, 12-plug 1950.

 

Sold to Brazilian driver Chico Landi. (375/50/2-ORC). He raced it in Uruguay in Formula libre races in 1951/2. After this, the car went back to Europe, and Landi drove it for the few races in which it could be used. 

 

Napoleao Ribeiro records that the ex-Landi car had the customer monoposto car number 104 (This would be 1948 125 F1/F2 car 04C when sold from the factory to Landi, so the number was perhaps used on the 375 for tax purposes?)

 

1952:

1952-01-20: XI GP da Cidada de Rio de Janeiro: F. Landi; 2nd.

1952-03-16: Gran Premio Extraordinario de Eva Duarte Perón: F. Landi; 3rd.

1952-06-01: Gran Prix d'Albi: F. Landi, #6; 2ndOA.

1952-07-19: Silverstone: F. Landi; 3rd.

1952-08-02: Daily Mail Trophy, Boreham: F. Landi, #29; 2nd.

1952-12-14: XII GP da Cidada de Rio de Janeiro: F. Landi; DNF. (Acc.)

 

1953:

1953-02-01: Buenos Aires Grand Prix: A. Ascari; DNF. Engine.

(Broken con-rod).

1953-05-31: Albi GP: Heat 2: A. Ascari, #1; DNF. Gearbox.

 

1954:

1954-10-17: Buenos Aires Grand Prix: F. Landi, #38; DNF.

 

The car was then re-bodied by Scaglietti, as a central seater racer, similar to Louis Rosier's car. Ir was re-numbered as 0566.  Sold to Barberis, in Brazil.  The 375 was used in the 1956 Buenos Aires 1000km race, being driven by Celso Lara Barberis and Godofredo Vianna.

 

1956:

1956-01-29: Buenos Aires 1000 Kms: Barberis/Vianna; DNF Engine. Later, the engine was replaced with a Corvette V8 engine. 

 

1957: 

Raced by "Siri"?

 

1958: Now Chevrolet V8 engined.

Interlagos 500km: Fritz d'Orey; 1st.

Body further modified.

1964: Interlagos: RU.

 

Colin Crabbe bought it out of South/Central America in 1976. 

Restored by Tony Merrick.

 

1977: Colin Crabbe then sold the parts to Mr. Dries van der Lof of Holland.  Apparently, the chassis bears the number: #5 in the cockpit area? (Ferrari Classische-2019). 

 

2015: Dries Van de Lof has had the car restored as 125-C-04?

 

 

375-5:

 

375F1-5 Ascari's 1951 Works car. -Built early 1951. This is the car that is today owned by Bernie Ecclestone (came from Albert Obrist).  

 

1951: 

1951-05-27: Swiss GP, Bremgarten: L. Villoresi, Spare, not used.

1951-06-17: Belgian GP, Spa-Francorchamps: P. Taruffi, SF#12: DNF. (Transmission).

1951-07-01: French GP, Rheims: J-F Gonzales/A. Ascari, SF#14; 2nd. Tanner: 24 plugs, re-shaped body.

1951-07-14: British GP, Silverstone: A. Ascari, SF#12. Gearbox. DNF. Tanner: Gearbox. 24 plug.

1951-07-29: German G.P.: P. Taruffi, SF#73; 5th. ORC: 5th.

1951-09-16: GP Italy: A. Ascari, #2; 1stOA. Tanner: 24-plug, re-designed high tail and headrest.

1951-10-28: Spanish GP: Pedralbes: A. Ascari, SF#2:  4th.  375-5 Ferrari. Tanner: Held up with tyre trouble.

 

1952?

1952-04-06: Turin GP: A, Ascari; DNF. Tanner: Split fuel tank on last few laps when leading. Indianapolis type lengthened chassis.

 

And then?



#31 Michael Ferner

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Posted 18 January 2024 - 09:50

I admire your tenacity, but I'm convinced that this can't be done without meticulously studying as many period photographs as possible, and being prepared to disregard anything that's been written about these cars. I have often looked into this particular formicary over the past twenty, maybe thirty years without getting any wiser - clearly, there's something missing in all the erudite writings about the subject, and I think I know what it is: insight into the day-by-day dealings of the Scuderia as well as the Ferrari works. As no detailed factory or team records appear to have survived (IF they existed in the first place!), there's no way of knowing what went where, and which became which other by means of swapping engines, chassis parts, bodywork and, yes, tags! Keep in mind that each and every car is just a conglomerate of parts, which often interchange between 'entities' (and sometimes don't), which will make tracking those entities a challenge in even the best of circumstances. Unless you can establish a 'library' of preferably multiple 'birthmarks' for each chassis, and follow that through a substantial number of period photographs, all your efforts will amount to is clouding the picture with just another patchwork of guesses.



#32 nexfast

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Posted 18 January 2024 - 13:40

Can't help with Ferrari chassis numbers, sorry. However noticed a typo in your database:

 

1952-01-20: XI GP da Cidada de Rio de Janeiro: F. Landi; 2nd. It is "cidade" (city in portuguese)

 

 

2015: Dries Van de Lof has had the car restored as 125-C-04?

 

Is this the former F1 driver Dries van der Lof? If yes, he could not have the car restored in 2015 since he died in 1990



#33 Writer2

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Posted 18 January 2024 - 15:04

Hello Michael.  Yes, I think you are quite right and I have looked at many photos over the last 25 years myself.  I also think that you are right about knowing the "inside" details of how the Ferrari factory worked internally, particularly the race department.

 

I am quite certain that the factory kept details of all of these cars and that that information is in their archives.  Unfortunately for us authors, they don't want to let such information be seen....

 

I believe that I have tracked the cars from 1948-1952 quite accurately , (except for the car that poor Villoresi had his accident in at Geneva, 30th July 1950).  I do agree with Michael Muller, that car was repaired as GP3-50.  There is also mystery over the 1950-1952 Tipo 375s although I can see that numbers 1,2 and 7 were sold privately outside the USA. Four went there, modified, as Indycars.



#34 Writer2

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Posted 18 January 2024 - 15:07

Hello Nextfast.  Thank you for your correction. Appreciated.

 

I believe the van der Lof family today owns that "125-C-04". Certainly the parts for it were sold from Colin Crabbe to Dries van der Lof many years ago.



#35 DCapps

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Posted 18 January 2024 - 15:12

Roger and several of the others have provided what is probably about as good a level of feedback as someone could ever expect.

 

As I have looked through this thread, I have wondered about your historiographical material. 

I sense that it is probably those items that Roger, Michael, and others have pored through as well.

I also suspect that I have much of those materials sitting on my bookshelves or in my filing cabinets.

Personally, I have come to much the same conclusions as Michael: this is something that would stymie even the mission Impossible Force.

I long ago came to the conclusion that much of this sort of information was, if not bogus in many respects, at least highly suspect.

One reason is the referring to a car as "chassis 5" or whatever rather as its number assigned by the racing shop.

Helpful in some instances, but it also indicates an issue Michael (and others) raise regarding the paperwork for these cars.

Carnets de Passage du Douane, Bills of Sale, and worksheets from this era are, alas, scarce.

Also, there is the issue of nomenclature that Nye (and perhaps Tanner, for that matter) and a few others note when it comes to referring to engines, for example.

The anglophone writers from whence much of all this is usually derived tended to simplify things for their audiences.

Once again, I refer to Michael and the idea that the Italian companies did not think like those in, say, the UK.

They were literally foreign in every sense of the word.

Not to mention that is not until years later that anyone cared about any of this sort of thing.

All this said, good luck and I wish you well on this project. At the very least it should enlighten us on these cars and their era.



#36 Writer2

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Posted 18 January 2024 - 15:47

DCapps: Thank you so much for your accurate observations!  Yes, discovering this history of early Ferrari Monopostos is difficult but, by gathering up all the knowledge out there, I believe that it is possible to arrive at an accurate picture.  It would help if the Ferrari archives would release what they have on these cars but so far, I've received no reply from them...

 

One thing I found enlightening. If you note the date/time when the early cars were sold, the picture becomes clearer.  A sort of, "Can't be this one, could be this one, let's look further." Rather like solving a difficult sudoku!



#37 DCapps

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Posted 18 January 2024 - 16:35

That is assuming that the Ferrari archives has all that much to release in the first place...

 

As in the case of Michael, I looked into this very thing some many years ago and decided that it was a mess, but there might be a way to sort it out...

Your approach of looking at whenever a car changed hands is one of those that was used.

Had I the inclination and resources, I thought that rivet-counting and bodywork differences might work, but unlike Barrie Hobkirk I wasn't that dedicated to the mystery and moved on.



#38 Michael Ferner

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Posted 18 January 2024 - 21:50

Hello Michael.  Yes, I think you are quite right and I have looked at many photos over the last 25 years myself. 

 

 

Ah, good to hear :up: Can you tell me which visual reference you used to identify Taruffi's car at '51 Bremgarten as the later British and German GP winner?

 

Also, do you have an ID for the swing-axle spare car Ascari drove in practice at Reims?



#39 Writer2

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Posted 19 January 2024 - 15:09

DCapps: I gave up looking for bodywork differences when, some time ago, I released that the Ferrari factory were continuallyupdating/changing the bodywork on a lot of these F1/F2/FL cars in those early years especially. So I am still looking for information as to whether it was Tipo 375/2 or /5 that won the British GP in 1951. At this time I lean towards #2, as William Boddy, the editor of "Motor Sport", and a most particular man, said that it was numbered as number 2, and that used a single plug engine at Silverstone but that competes against Hans Tanner's evidence that, at Bremgarten earlier, Taruffi's car, 375/2, according to ORC, (Michael Ferner), that car had a 24 plug engine.  Why go back to a less powerful engine for the British GP?

 

Michael Ferner: I did not know that Ascari had driven a swing axle car in practice for the French GP in 1951. As far as I can see, all the swing axle cars had been sold by this time.

 

I'm still trying to find the identity of "125-C-03" or whatever it was called, Villoresi's car at the F1 race at Geneva on 30th July 1951; this was the car that Villoresi had his bad crash in. It was a Lampredi engined, de Dion rear suspension car and Michael Muller probably has it right that this became GP3/50, which Serafini drove in the first few F2 races of 1951.  Incidentally, I suspect that this car had a Tipo 340 engine as both Villoresi and Ascari lapped in identical times in qualifying, 1.48.7.



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#40 Michael Ferner

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Posted 19 January 2024 - 16:11

The swing axle car can be seen on page 84 of Karl Ludvigsen's Ascari biography. It had most peculiar bodywork features, and evidently a single-plug engine.

 

Too bad you have given up on studying bodywork differences. There's a photograph in Automobil Revue of May 30, 1951, showing very clearly that the Taruffi car at Bremgarten (#44) had only nine horizontal bars in the grille, like all the other 1951 cars, and not ten like the 1950 cars. It also shows the two big bulges* fore and aft of the (shorter) row of louvres under the scuttle section that are so typical for the 1951 cars, and absent on the earlier ones. It would have answered your question about going back to the single-plug engine for the British Grand Prix.

 

* Those bulges are too big to be welding spots or rivets - I suspect they were necessary to clear big screw heads on the sides of the chassis rails, maybe to do with the new De Dion arrangement that was introduced at the same time, but I can't really make sense of them.



#41 Writer2

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Posted 19 January 2024 - 19:25

Thank you Michael, That info is appreciated and I will look for those photos.  

The de Dion rear suspension had been introduced a year earlier, mid 1950 off the top of my head. It was certainly on Villoresi's crashed car at Geneva, 30th Ju ly 1950.



#42 Michael Ferner

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Posted 19 January 2024 - 20:49

Having looked into the "Reims spare car" again, I think Ludvigsen was mistaken, and the picture is from 1950 (which would make it one of the late 1949 Italian GP cars, now fitted with the 275 engine - by the looks of it, it was the one used by Ascari in the Argentine that wnter).


Edited by Michael Ferner, 19 January 2024 - 20:49.


#43 DCapps

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Posted 19 January 2024 - 21:01

After having looked at no end of Maserati 250Fs over the years, ANY inclination to ever go rivet-counting again is a non-starter.

 

Michael is/was far more dedicated and devoted to this than I ever was, but he is correct about having to pay very close attention to the artifact as a whole -- including the context of any photos or documents -- to have any real idea as just Who-was-Who in the Ferrari jumble. 

 

I remember that the updates to the cars were one way to sense something was afoot at the factory.

 

Not to put too fine a point to all this, but I realized early on that the Ferrari team's default setting on certain things was Creative Truths... known to today as Alternate Facts.

 

More than a few anglophone publications (I will not mention Hans Tanner by name, by the way...) got the Alternate Facts treatment and tended to take it as gospel. Just saying...



#44 Writer2

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Posted 19 January 2024 - 21:26

Hello Michael, having a swing axle car in practice in 1950 makes perfect sense, not 1951.

 

There was a very good cut away drawing by Harold Bubb, that appeared in the "Motor Magazine on December 15th, 1951. I've looked at both the side view of the car and the view from above of the de Dion rear suspension.  I am no engineer but I don't see anything that would require "big bulges" under the scuttle, only perhaps where the pairs of radius Armes come out from the chassis to the rear suspension. Is this what you are referring to, one above the other?

 

DCapps: I take your point about creative truths/alternate facts, which is why, with the passage of time, it is so important to try to sort the wheat from the chaff.  What really surprised me was finding out that at war's end, Ferrari had 160 plus people working for him and that, by 1950, there were over 250 staff.  This was not a "garagiste" operation.....



#45 DCapps

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Posted 19 January 2024 - 22:13

"This was not a "garagiste" operation..." Perhaps not, but simply more of a large scale Italian hot rod enterprise constantly seeking often creative ways to pay the overhead and keep the creditors at bay. 

 

Thanks to the gullible folks that were willing fork over the money for products being cobbled together Ferrari was able to usually get by hand-to-mouth most of the time, but there was a reason Ferrari did not back away from the handout from FIAT... he really, really needed the money.

 

Keep in mind that Ferrari did not have a foundry on-site until, what, 1955 to 1956?

 

Remember also that so much of the operation was actually farmed/contracted out to little "garagiste" operations around the area at this time.

 

There are probably gazillions of bookshelves groaning with books about Ferrari and most of them it makes you very sad that so many trees died so that they could be produced.

 

At any rate, back to the 375/F1 cars: I think that cockpit photos were very helpful when I was crazy enough to consider this puzzle. Along with those of the firewall area, front and back. 

​I simply ran out of interest and had other far more interesting projects to research. 

By the way, I also had some real reservations about much of the information I was dealing with and the hogwash I was often being fed.



#46 Roger Clark

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Posted 19 January 2024 - 23:28

Having looked into the "Reims spare car" again, I think Ludvigsen was mistaken, and the picture is from 1950 (which would make it one of the late 1949 Italian GP cars, now fitted with the 275 engine - by the looks of it, it was the one used by Ascari in the Argentine that wnter).

I wondered that but Ludvigsen attributes the photo to Geoffrey Goddard and he says in Ferrari in Camera that Silverstone August 1950 was the first time he saw works Ferraris. I suppose that if Ludvigsen could get the year wrong he could get the attribution wrong too...

 

Should we include, in examining the history of the 375s, the special that they built for the 1958 Monza 500?  It was said to have a 375 chassis but was it new or one they found in a dusty corner of the factory?



#47 Roger Clark

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Posted 19 January 2024 - 23:33

 

 

More than a few anglophone publications (I will not mention Hans Tanner by name, by the way...) got the Alternate Facts treatment and tended to take it as gospel. Just saying...

I hope we all know that anything with Hans Tanner's name on it should be handled with great care.



#48 Michael Ferner

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Posted 20 January 2024 - 09:04

There was a very good cut away drawing by Harold Bubb, that appeared in the "Motor Magazine on December 15th, 1951. I've looked at both the side view of the car and the view from above of the de Dion rear suspension.  I am no engineer but I don't see anything that would require "big bulges" under the scuttle, only perhaps where the pairs of radius Armes come out from the chassis to the rear suspension. Is this what you are referring to, one above the other?


No, nothing to do with the radius rods, I'm sure. To my surprise I found them also on the car Villoresi crashed at Geneve in 1950 (so, busting my own theory that they were a '51 feature). If you look at the pictures on this page, CPdB, View record [ID:890] (the-fastlane.co.uk), particularly the second from top with the clear side view, you can see the first one right next to the exhaust aperture, followed by only ten louvres (there were thirteen on the Silverstone and Nürburgring winner, I think, and also on the car Villoresi crashed at Bremgtarten CPdB, View record [ID:882] (the-fastlane.co.uk)) and then the second 'bulge'. Meanwhile, I have been thinking they had to do with the new gearbox introduced with the '51 cars, and maybe this was already on Villoresi's car in Geneve, but really I don't know.

 

I'm getting sucked into this, which is not a good thing. I have too much on my plate to spend any more time on a subject I know I can't do justice.



#49 DCapps

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Posted 20 January 2024 - 14:39

"I'm getting sucked into this, which is not a good thing. I have too much on my plate to spend any more time on a subject I know I can't do justice."

 

Ditto and double ditto..... aargh!



#50 Writer2

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Posted 20 January 2024 - 15:28

DCapps: Ferrari's foundry was installed at the factory in 1950. Your comments on the firewall/bulkhead are interesting, thank you. I shall take a look..

 

Roger Clark: That 1958 "Race of Two Worlds" 375 was Ascari's 1952 Indianapolis car, Indycar 375/01.  Following changes, it had been renumbered to 0388, whilst in Chinetti's hands.  There is a very good post by Cabianca on this forum on 13th December, 2015 on this subject.

 

Michael Werner: I have a good cutaway drawing of the "new" gearbox and its mounting points; they are all internal to the chassis so nothing to cover up with bodywork there.  Thank you for that link.  There are a couple more photos of Villoresi's crashed car at Geneva, on 30th July 1950 there that I had not seen before.  That is the car that I should dearly like to identify what it had been before this iteration, if it was not new, which I don't know. It's commonly referred to as "EX" but was that a factory/team designation? It certainly had a lot of new features, de Dion rear axle, 340 engine, gearbox. More "GP49" than "125-C" type. 

 

Theory: If Taruffi's 1951 Bremgarten car was a new for 1951 car, (labelled by ORC as "4"), perhaps his previous "Tipo 340-Pedralbes 1950" car was kept back as a test car in 1951?  Perhaps that had been the Villoresi car at Geneva? We have chassis numbers 1, 2 and 7 being sold at the end of the season, 1 became 010 Thinwall Special, (I reason this due to the dates of that "Works" car disappearing from ORC results and then reappearing as the "Thinwall Special"number 010, but could be wrong! 2, was sold to Landi after the 1951 Italian GP and 7 went to Rosier end of 1951.  That leaves 3,4,5 and 6 as being modified and going to Indianapolis for 1952. We know, from Keith Blumel's piece in "Cavallino", (Sorry, there is no date on the pages that I have read), that this was originally, in 1951, chassis number 3. What the other three were numbered in Indycar form, I don't know and am not sure if it's important here.

 

The point here is a "number 4" Tipo 375 was used in the 1952 British GP support race  and at Boreham, driven by Villoresi.  In 1953, Ascari drove a 375 at Albi on 31st May.  Could this have been the 125-C-04 that was left in Argentina, and not 375/4?

 

And... Still trying to work out whether 375/50/2 or 375/51/5 won the 1951 British GP...


Edited by Writer2, 21 January 2024 - 19:32.