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Ferrari at Indianapolis


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#1 McRonalds

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Posted 28 December 2001 - 13:10

I recently found that picture (sorry, without any comment) and I'm curious...

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Is it possible that it is an Indianapolis-Ferrari from '52. It looks like. A little bit confusing are those large side-mounted fuel tanks, which (as far as I remember) were'nt used in Ferraris '52 Indy adventure, used by Johnny Mauro, Bobby Ball, Johnnie Parsons and last but not least Alberto Ascari, the only one who drove it during the race. These tanks seemed taken from a Squalo. Anyone an idea?

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#2 Michael Müller

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Posted 28 December 2001 - 17:02

Hmm, looks really strange. First idea was the Squalo 555 with Lancia-V8 driven by Gendebien at Buenos Aires 1956, looks similar, but not identical. Front suspension surely not 553/555, looks really like 375.
Poster in the background says “Ferrari world champion 1952 & 1953”, so photo can be taken earliest at the end of 1953. Obviously exhibition on Ferrari stand at an auto show, so most probably car still owned by Ferrari. No screen, no mirrors, so possibly no real racing car, but only show model.
Air inlet looks like that of the Grant Piston / Parsons / Oakes car, but the rest of the bonnet is completely different.
My idea is also one of the 4 1952 Indy cars. We can exclude the Johnny Mauro car, which was raced at least up to 1954 with its original bodywork by Mauro. The “Grant Piston Special” was sold still in 1952 to Lindley Bothwell, thereafter I lost its tracks. Don’t know what happened to the Howard Keck Special and the Ascari car. Is it possible that the latter remained in the USA with Luigi Chinetti, who tried to sell it? But why these strange side-mounted fuel tanks?
Sorry, I surrender!

#3 Gerr

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Posted 28 December 2001 - 19:19

That is the 1954 number 47, of Marian Chinetti, entered for Danny Oakes. The only pic in the Clymer yearbook has Freddie Agabashian behind the wheel. Did not qualify.

#4 Gerr

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Posted 28 December 2001 - 19:54

Some info at this site,scroll down to chassis number 0388......
http://www.classicsc...sis/302A400.htm

#5 McRonalds

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Posted 28 December 2001 - 20:01

Thanx

Has it something in common with this car?

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As far as I'm informed, this is Johnny Baldwin's '56 Bardahl-Ferrari. The side-mounted fuel tanks are not actually the same, but there are side-mounted tanks. I wonder whether Nino Farina has tried to qualify this car too, for he ran a Bardahl-Special Ferrari in '56, but as far as I know it was just a Ferrari-enginened Kurtis. So this is the last Ferrari to appear at the brickyard?!

I heard Nino Farina tried again in '57, but he withdrew after Keith Andrews wrecked his car (and was killed!) during practice. But I don't think, it has something to do with Ferrari (at Indy)...

#6 David McKinney

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Posted 28 December 2001 - 20:27

I'm sure I've seen a picture of the side-tank 375 in action off-speedway with either Bob Said or Carroll Shelby at the wheel. Which would make it the Chinetti car? I know the book the picture was in, but don't have it about my person to check. (A Hans Tanner paperback, possibly entitled Great Racing Drivers, if anyone has a copy to hand)

#7 fines

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Posted 28 December 2001 - 22:22

The second pic is definitely the Marion Chinetti car in 1956. Farina was entered in #9, a KK chassis (#387-55), but apparently also drove the sister car #91 (there's also photographic evidence in the Dick Wallen book).

#8 McRonalds

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Posted 28 December 2001 - 23:03

This is the Farina car. Can't see no #9 on it, but what else should it be. Funny to see Ferrari sticker on the sides of a Kurtis. :p

Is it true it had a Ferrari-engine unter it's bonnet - and if it is true: which one?

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#9 fines

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Posted 28 December 2001 - 23:19

The car even went to Maranello to have its engine fitted, it was a semi-works Ferrari entry! :eek:

The trouble is, I have ever only seen it from its right side, so the engine still confuses me: it was entered with a six-cylinder (101.6*90.7 - 4,412 cc), but said to run with a 4-cylinder Tipo 121 LeMans engine. :confused:

#10 McRonalds

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Posted 28 December 2001 - 23:24

Any idea why (with the exception of Ascari) none of these various entries made it to the Indianapolis grid. If this '56 attempt really was a works entry it is a shame for Maranello :mad:

#11 McRonalds

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Posted 28 December 2001 - 23:49

I have to make a final thread before I take an intermission... :o

Let's make a big step... about 30 years, when Ferrari started an attempt at Indy late in the eighties. I must admit that was at a time, when I was not that fan of motorracing I am now - the only thing I knew exactly is, that they withdrew even before it started.

Could this be the Indy-Ferrari?! It looks like a mixture between the 156/85 and the 186, but these winglets are probably from the'84 season. I saw this picture in the Nick Mason Gallery and could not date it. On the other hand - this car did not look like it was made to run a Indy in the mid-eighties.

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#12 Don Capps

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Posted 29 December 2001 - 05:13

Gerr, When I saw this I immediately thought of Shelby at the Giant's D. hilclimb having just seen a picture in R&T of Shelby in action in the past few weeks while working on a project.

#13 Vitesse2

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Posted 29 December 2001 - 12:36

McRonalds: the Ferrari Indy Car -

http://www.atlasf1.c...review/faq.html

Your photo looks like a 640 to me ... numbered 27 it would be "Our Nige"

#14 McRonalds

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Posted 29 December 2001 - 13:23

But what the hell are those winglets for, which were used only in 1983 and 1984 before they were banned. A really strange mongrel! Take a closer look and you will discover it is an 12-cylinder-car. Must be some kind of prototype, eh?! :confused:

#15 Vitesse2

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Posted 29 December 2001 - 14:04

Try as I might, I can't see any "winglets" - still pretty sure it's a 640 series - 641, 642, 643? They were all 12-cylinder.

#16 McRonalds

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Posted 29 December 2001 - 14:23

Take a close look to the rear wing where the starting number #27 is placed. Aren't these winglets? :

#17 Roger Clark

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Posted 29 December 2001 - 22:41

I'm fairly sure that the first picture of this thread is the special that Chinetti had built, orginally for the 1953 Indianapolis race. It was based on the 1952 cars but had a shorter wheelbase and a 2-sped gearbox. It failed to qualify. It was later used for some record braking at Daytona Beach (Bob Said and Gill Holland, among others). As Don says, Carroll Shelby drove it in two hill climbs which he won. Farina used it for his driver tests at indianapolis in 1956. probably because the Bardahl Special was not ready in time. That is the car with number 91.

After Harry Schell drove it in the 1958 Monza 500, Chinetti had it rebodied by Scaglietti with much smoother lines. He exhibited it in his show room in New York for some time. I guess that this is where the first picture was taken.

The Bardahl Special derfinitely had a six-cylinder engine; I can't imagine what the 4-cylinder Type 121 that fines refers to might be. However, Ferrari by Tanner/Nye does refer to the 4.4 litre 6-cylinder sports car engine as the Type 121. The car was originally assembled by Ferrari but they lost interest when it became apparant that the 6-cylinder engine was not very good. The work was handed over to OSCA for completion. When the car arrived in America , it was found that OSCA had set it up wrongly for Indianapolis and it had to be reworked. THe car sufferred from engine reliability problems, caused in part by a hurried change from gasoline and Webers to methanol and Hillborn fuel injection. Farina did not even attempt qualification.

#18 fines

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Posted 30 December 2001 - 10:53

Thanks Roger for the clarification about the six or four. The info about the four came from Gordon White's Kurtis book, which is quite well researched, although it still contains some of these niggling pitfalls... :(

#19 fines

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Posted 30 December 2001 - 10:56

Originally posted by Vitesse2
McRonalds: the Ferrari Indy Car -

http://www.atlasf1.c...review/faq.html

Your photo looks like a 640 to me ... numbered 27 it would be "Our Nige"

Richard, I think you need a break... :lol:

Two grave mistakes within one or two days, that's pretty unusual for you! How about switching your PC off for a couple of days?;) :D

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#20 McRonalds

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Posted 30 December 2001 - 11:14

Originally posted by fines
Thanks Roger for the clarification about the six or four. The info about the four came from Gordon White's Kurtis book, which is quite well researched, although it still contains some of these niggling pitfalls... :(


Hallo Fines, any idea who I can get such an Gordon White Kurtis book in Germany? I'm really keen on it, but - there's no chance I can get such a book in a German bookstore... :mad:

The question remains: which type is the pictured Ferrari #27?

#21 fines

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Posted 30 December 2001 - 12:26

I bought it at http://www.amzon.com. Try their search engine.

About the #27 Ferrari, it looks to me like a very CHEAP reproduction of a Tipo F1.86.

#22 McRonalds

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Posted 30 December 2001 - 12:55

Originally posted by fines
I bought it at http://www.amzon.com. Try their search engine.

About the #27 Ferrari, it looks to me like a very CHEAP reproduction of a Tipo F1.86.


Maybe we should ask Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason - this picture is taken at his exposition. But (of course) this is no Indy-Ferrari; so we should close this file. :down:

#23 Vitesse2

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Posted 30 December 2001 - 13:23

Originally posted by fines
I bought it at http://www.amzon.com. Try their search engine.

About the #27 Ferrari, it looks to me like a very CHEAP reproduction of a Tipo F1.86.


www.amazon.com, I think! :lol:

And sorry michael, I can't agree it looks like a 186 at all - side pods are all wrong, as is the rollover bar ...

Maybe you're the one who needs a rest!!! :lol: :lol:

#24 fines

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Posted 30 December 2001 - 17:19

Originally posted by Vitesse2

www.amazon.com, I think! :lol:

:blush:

Originally posted by Vitesse2
And sorry michael, I can't agree it looks like a 186 at all - side pods are all wrong, as is the rollover bar ...

...that's why I said "poor reproduction"...

Originally posted by Vitesse2
Maybe you're the one who needs a rest!!! :lol: :lol:

Ahem, do you accept a tie?;) :D

#25 Vitesse2

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Posted 30 December 2001 - 21:41

Originally posted by fines

Ahem, do you accept a tie?;) :D


:up: :lol:

#26 McRonalds

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Posted 30 December 2001 - 22:01

CRAZY THEORY... but what would both of you think about a red painted RAM-Hart from '84?!?! Don't know why, but the visual similarities are striking : : :

#27 Vitesse2

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Posted 30 December 2001 - 22:19

Nope! Front wing completely different profile and cockpit design of the RAM is nowhere near this one - and a different rollover bar!

#28 cabianca

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Posted 31 December 2001 - 00:16

The car in the first picture is Ferrari 375 GP "Indianapolis" Chassis No 1. It was qualified at the 1952 Indianapolis 500 by Ascari and retired in the race. Chinetti retained the car and leased it to John Edgar in 1956 for Shelby to drive in hillclimbs. As mentioned, Chinetti also entered it in the Race of Two Worlds at Monza. He had the bodywork modified, but the wheelbase remained the same. It also ran on the beach at Daytona in a top speed run. Like many Ferrari Grand Prix cars that were sold to privateers, the car was renumbered into the even-numbered sports car series (usually competition cars) as 0388. It exists today in the form of the first picture.

Info presented about the Kurtis is basically correct. The engine was a 6-cylinder 4.4 liter from a 1955 121 LM sports car. The car was prepared for Indy by the Maserati Brothers at OSCA.

To comment on the earlier question about Ferrari's failure at Indy in 1952, it's fairly straightforward. Immediately after WWII, Indy had been stifled for many years by rules which stagnated technical development. This allowed pre-war Grand Prix cars like the Maserati 8CTF to show well there. However, by the time Ferrari got there in 1952, there had been some technical progress on the part of the Indy boys in the form of refinement and reliability. Indy paid so much that it was worth building cars just for that race and Indy was on its way to becoming a very specialized nut to crack. The Ferraris were grossly overweight because of their huge drum brakes and their transaxles. At that time there was still a difference between straightaway speed and cornering speed so acceleration off the corners was important. The 12 cylinder Ferrari couldn't equal the Offenhauser-powered 4C Indy cars in this part of the performance equation (both were 4.5 liters), and the Ferraris' extra weight added to the problem. Of the four Ferraris entered, only Ascari in the works car qualified - barely. In the race, Ascari was running near the top third of the field when a wire wheel broke, ending his race. The exact same thing had happened to a wire wheel on Wilbur Shaw's Maserati when he was leading the race in 1940, but somehow, none of the Italians involved in the project remembered to do anything to prevent the same thing from happening. Some of the other Ferraris entered used Halibrand wheels, but when Ted Halibrand had a third party ask the Ferrari team if he could assist by providing them with mag wheels, the Italians didn't want to hear about it. One thing was for sure. In a town where suspicion of foreigners was extremely high, everyone was impressed with Ascari's driving. He set a record in qualifying for putting together four laps that had less variance than any four before him.

#29 rdrcr

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Posted 31 December 2001 - 13:23

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There was this stillborn effort in 87 (I think). There are other pictures of this car out there. I'll take another look in a bit.

on the '52 entry, I found this :

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Forty-one laps into the 1952 Indianapolis 500, the great Italian driver Alberto Ascari spun his Ferrari-powered car. That was the only appearance of the racing team from Maranello, Italy, at Indy although Antonio Ferrari, grand nephew of Ferrari's founder, Enzo Ferrari, entered several cars in the early 1990s with conventional Ilmor engines.



#30 Don Capps

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Posted 31 December 2001 - 15:38

I think Michael (Cabianca) sets the scene quite well for the challenge that the Ferrari effort ran into at Indy. It was a challenge of a bit more difficult nature than they realized and their results reflect that. As mentioned, there was near universal acclaim for Ascari and his driving abilities. A very interesting story that has an enduring quality about it.

#31 McRonalds

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Posted 31 December 2001 - 16:53

Here is was Karl Ludvigsen wrote about Ferraris '52 Indy attempt:

Alberto Ascari raced this big Ferrari once more in 1952 and at an unfamiliar venue: Indianapolis. With its 4 1/2-litre engine just right for Indy, the shrewd Enzo Ferrari succeeded in selling several cars to American racers. His cars' success in Mexico contributed strongly to their interest in buying a Ferrari. At the urging of his American agent Luigi Chinetti he also prepared a single entry to compete as a 'Ferrari Special' in the 500-mile race. Alberto Ascari underscored the exploratory nature of this Expedition in May 1952:

'The veni, vidl, vici of imperial memory is not part of my spiritual baggage,' he joked. 'lt seems to me I'm Christopher Columbus in miniature. I too am going to discover America. I'm going gladly, because I think that Indianapolis is an essential test for a good driver. lf my experience there gives favourable results, the next year we'II return with a real team; only then could we conjure with dreams of victory. For the moment I'm a pioneer, going to learn.'

At Ferrari the driving force behind the project was Aurelio Lampredi. He had much greater confidence in the effort than he would allow his driver to reveal. Reliability was not expected to be a problem; the car had easily coped with 300 hard testing miles at Monza. Nor was the driver considered a liability. Enthusiast John Cuccio was among those who interpreted for Alberto, whose English was limited to 'fine, fine'. Ascari easily passed his mandatory 'driver's test' and afterward pasted his three rookie-stripe tapes across the back of mechanic Stefano Meazza. 'When, at the conclusion of his tests, he was permitied some fast laps, wrote Speedway expert Russ Catlin, 'American onlookers, in general, declared him a polished driver. There is no doubt that had his own car failed he could have had his choice of at least a dozen top-flight American cars to drive.'

Speed turned out to be the challenge. The Ferraris were lapping the 2 1/2-mile track at no better than 132mph when the betting was that 135mph was needed to secure one of the 33 starting places. Testing was hampered by heavy rains during the week before the first qualifying weekend. More power was needed, and Lampredi thought he had the answer in Maranello. When he flew back from a quick visit his luggage contained a new inlet manifold with three four-barrel Weber carburettors. A bigger hood bulge was hammered out on the spot to make room for it.

'There were some truly great scenes to watch that year,' wrote Indy mechanic Clint Brawner. 'There was an Italian driver, Alberto Ascari, in a big ltalian car, a screaming 12-cylinder Ferrari, who was downshifting for the corners four times per lap, yet turning identical lap times in spite of it.' This was amazing to the Indy regulars, who shifted only when they left the pits. Ascari went down a gear going into the pair of turns at each end of the lozenge-shaped track. Even so, the Ferrari seemed to lack the propulsive thrust out of the turns that ihe American cars enjoyed.

Finally, late on the last qualifying Saturday, the red number 12 Ferrari attempted to lap fast enough to make the grid. 'There has never been a four-lap qualifying run quite like Ascari's,' wrote Russ Catlin. 'The phenomenal thing was that in spite of shifting on each turn, Ascari turned in four laps that differed only eight hundredths of a second between the fastest and slowest. The third and fourth laps were made in identical time: one minute seven seconds flat! A Ferrari was in the race!' The speed was nothing special - 134.31 mph in a field that averaged 135.50 - but it was süfficient. And Ascari's uncanny consistency created another legend of the Speedway. His successful qualification, with all the attendant Indy hoopla, 'was a very moving, unforgettable experience,' said Lampredi.

Ascari had reasons to hope for success. Unlike the Indy regulars, his crew had not used exotic fuels for qualifying, so his qualifying speed was also his potential race speed. Fuel economy was also an advantage. Before leaving Italy Ascari said he thought he could get through the 500 miles with only one stop for fuel. Instead tyre life was the limiting factor, so three stops were scheduled at 50-lap intervals to refuel and change tyres. 'The Americans were taking almost two minutes to refuel while we were taking 18 seconds,' said Lampredi. This would allow them to gain laps on the leaders.

'Alberto was to do the first section at 6,500 revs, then 6,500 again, then into the final offensive,' Lampredi added. 'So we thought we could win, with Alberto driving with his hands in his pockets. We were in for a surprise.' 'In the race I made the first laps at a reduced speed, wanting to study my opponents and the behaviour of our engine,' Ascari related. In Mexico he had competed against many of the leading American drivers, of whom he said, 'They are courageous and skilled, but they follow the theory "win or bust".' This could work in his favour at Indy.

Ascari: 'When I was persuaded I could throw myself forward, I accelerated from 21st up to seventh place.' Russ Catlin saw him make this move: 'The field was still bunched but, low and on the inside, came Ascari. He maneuvered past the field with a perfect exhibition of dirt-tracking. Some eyebrows were raised.' 'l now began to feel more at ease,' said the Ferrari driver, and to think that if bad luck did not pursue me, I might be able to arrive third or perhaps even second. I had already decided to wait for refuelling to make my offensive, when on lap 41 disaster struck.' After three-quarters of an hour of racing the hub of Alberto's right rear wire wheel fractured. lt broke partway between the splines that attach it and the rings of holes retaining the spokes. Feeling the wheel collapse in the fourth turn, he kept the red car under control as it swerved, veered into the infield and chuntered to a stop in the grass. Like Mauri Rose the year before, wire-wheel failure had stopped a contender, which was why most of the Indy regulars had already switched to magnesium wheels. 'He was out of the race,' wrote Catlin, 'but not until serving notice that he and his Ferrari are to be reckoned with, come another year. His performance, to this point, had been flawless.'

'He returned to the pits,' Lampredi related. 'He did not say a word for the rest of the race. Both our heads hung low that day, because we had had an easy victory in sight and we had lost our chance.' When he retired, before commencing his charge, Ascari had been averaging 128.71 mph; the race winner averaged 128.92 mph. Said American racing driver Sam Hanks, 'Ascari showed me enought in the 100 miles he lasted at the Indianapolis 500 to let me know he was equally at home on our speedway as on the road circuits of Europe. lf he hadn't broken that wheel I firmly believe he would have had a lot to say at the finish.'

He might well have been in with a chance. His precise, decisive and consistent style was made to order for the Speedway. Thus the dark-suited Alberto commanded respect at the prizegiving dinner out of all Proportion to the cheque for $1,983.19 with which he was presented for 31st place. That respect was underlined by the inscription on the back of an armband he was given by track officials: 'To Alberto Ascari - A Grand Guy'.

The picture below shows one of the three Ferraris handed to American drivers. This one is Johnnie Parsons'. The main visible difference are different wheels, an other windshield.

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#32 fines

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Posted 31 December 2001 - 19:00

Although that is Johnnie Parsons' car, the Grant Piston Ring Special, this is not Parsons behind the wheel. I would guess it's Danny Oakes instead.

#33 cabianca

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Posted 01 January 2002 - 03:27

In the interest of the historic record, I would have the following comments on the quotes from Ludvigsen's book.

Ferrari did not sell "several" Ferraris to Indy teams. He sold three and interest in the first of them actually came from Road & Track writer Bill Quinn, who introduced Gerry Grant of Grant Piston Rings to Chinetti and the Ferrari people. Quinn was also somewhat involved in the other two sales as well.

As far as Lampredi being the driving force behind the project, my guess would be that an equal driving force was Ferrari's wish to sell his obsolete 1951 Formula 1 cars. Remember, this was 1952 and the formula was now for 2.0 liter cars. The Ferrari 500 was dominating GP racing, but Ferrari still had several 4.5 liter GP cars from the 1951 formula that he wanted to get some money out of.

Lampredi did not come to Indy and then go back to Italy and then return to Indy as stated in Ludvigsen's book. No one had high hopes and Canestrini, the top motoring journalist of Italy, was not planning on going to Indy at all. He spent the first qualifying weekend at a convention in London. Nor was Lampredi in Indy when Ascari first arrived. He only went when it was obvious that the Ferraris were in deep trouble. When Canestrini arrived at Malpensa from London, his wife handed him a new suitcase full of clean clothes and he found Lampredi and Ugolini in a panic at the airport. Ferrari's considerable pride was on the line, and he was mad as hell that none of the cars were going to qualify. He told his boys to do something about it and the only plan they could come up with was larger Webers and a manifold to hold them. Canestrini joined Lampredi and Ugolini on their flight to America. Considering these circumstances, I don't think the confidence in Modena was as Lampredi describes it. He may have done all the sums mentioned, but when the rubber hit the road, all Lampredi's theories went out the window. They did not bring the manifold and larger carburators in their hand luggage as stated in the book. The equipment was in a box, but it was on their plane. They made sure it got in the hold when they changed planes in New York. Unfortunately, when they got off at Indy, the box continued on to St. Louis. The airline got it back to Indy the next day, costing the team even more time.

Considering other things Russ Catlin has written and how he rewrote the history of American National Championships by creating titles that didn't really exist, I would not rely on his accounts of anything as gospel truth. The matter of Ascari shifting down has been endlessly discussed. There is no doubt that he experimented with shifting down. However, this was in practice and when he found no advantage in lap times, it was decided not to strain the engine and transmission by doing this. He may have done it in qualifying, but I doubt it very much. For sure, he didn't do it in the race.

Finally, I think Lampredi was a genius, as he proved at Ferrari and, later, FIAT. Secondly, I do think if Ascari had lasted he could have seen a top five finish. I doubt that he could have won, although anything is possible at Indy. I think the quotes from Lampredi's memoirs, written many years on, do gloss over what was an extremely poor performance compared to what was expected from Ferrari on both sides of the Atlantic.

#34 McRonalds

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Posted 01 January 2002 - 11:37

Cabianca, don't judge too hard - the excerpt was taken from an Ascari biography - maybe they want to flatter a little bit in retrospect.

A thing that really would be of interest: does anybody know what happened to the four Ferrari Indys and where they are now?

#35 cabianca

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Posted 01 January 2002 - 18:49

For McRonalds. All the Ferrari Indy cars survive. The Ascari car, Chassis No 1, is in Hong Kong. No 2, the Grant Piston Ring car, was with Carlos Montverde, he may have sold it. No 3, the Mauro car is in the Indy Museum at the Speedway, painted in the incorrect colors of the Ascari car. No 4, the Howard Keck car, is with a New York collector. There are other 375 survivors, but none had anything to do with the Indy program, and at least one is questionable.

Not to beat this to death, but there was an interesting historical snippet to this that hasn't been mentioned. American ace, Johnnie Parsons, an Indy 500 winner, went to Maranello while the Ferrari Indy cars were being built. When I say being built, I should say being modified for Indy, since they were modified 1951 F1 cars. In a typical Italian cock-up, when Parsons and Gerry Grant, of Grant Piston Rings, arrived, no car was in a condition for Parsons to test, so they threw him a bone by arranging a drive in a 2.0 166 Barchetta sports car.

Then it gets interesting. Grant, Parsons and Ferrari personnel reached a deal where Grant would put up some money and Ferrari would provide entries for Parsons in at least 8 Grands Prix. Whether these would be Scuderia Ferrari or Grant privateer entries, I do not know. The races were not specified, but one has to assume that they included at least some WC events. This deal was obviously based on money. Grant was paying at least double the going rate for his car and Ferrari knew a sucker when he saw one. On also has to wonder how much of the inflated price Chinetti was peeling off, since he had a deal where he got a piece of every Ferrari sale to America, whether Chinetti was part of the transaction or not. Chinetti was involved in this transaction and the other three as well.

During the Indy debacle, Ferrari was so preoccupied with their own problems in trying to get the team car qualified, that they provided very little support for their customers. In fact, they tried to blame the Grant crew for changing their car's handling by fitting mag wheels (they did change the track slightly) which was a smokescreen and insulting to boot. Early in the practice/qualifying sequence, Parsons bailed on the Grant car to drive an Offy as did Bobby Ball in the Howard Keck car. Grant perservered with other drivers, with what he felt was inadequate help from Ferrari. This finally led to a split that was aired in the press. The upshot was that the Parsons/Grant Grand Prix deal was cancelled during the build-up to the 500. Another great what-might-have-been of GP racing. Parsons was one of the few American roundy-round drivers of the day who had any interest in road racing (Troy Ruttman was another). It would have been interesting to see what he could have done.

#36 McRonalds

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Posted 01 January 2002 - 20:28

Cabianca, this is interesting story, at any rate. Read some years ago (don't know where) that Ferrari made an entry for Parsons at Valentino Park, early in '52. I first thought this was a mistake, but when I discovered more about Ferraris Indy adventure my thoughts went right in the direction you just told me. But if Grant/Parsons/Ferrari would have entered one of these 375s, it only could have been minor events, for F1-races were no longer WC events. Or was that doubtful at that time? Or is it possible, Parsons should drive a 500 F2 Ferrari?

I heard Johnny Mauro entered his Ferrari not only at Indy '52, but at Pikes Peak '52 & '54 (I think we had this one before?!) and at Denver on a dirt oval(!) too. I wonder what was the result. But it's hard to get information about such events in Europa (Germany).

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Speaking of Ferrari at Indy: Here's a little theme that does not actual belong here, but another Italian manufacturer, Maserati, entered a car (or rather just the engine) in Indy '65: Team Arciero, chassis Weisman(?). Anyone an idea why? Was is supported by the Maserati-factory...and what engine was it?

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#37 Ray Bell

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Posted 01 January 2002 - 21:52

I don't know what relationships there were between them, but I would suspect that many components were the same... Maserati had their 4.5-litre Sports Car engine from the late fifties through the early sixties, and they marketed a road car with a 4.5 V8.

Surely their Indy entry would be a destroked or smallbore version of this engine?

#38 cabianca

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Posted 02 January 2002 - 02:05

Perhaps my previous post was unclear. My understanding of the stillborn Grant/Parsons/Ferrari deal was that Parsons would drive a Ferrari 500 in Europe in 1952. The 375 would remain in America. The Grant Piston Ring press release specifically mentions 8 events, and I don't think there were eight Formula Libre events in Europe that year.

Mauro did enter the 375 at Pike's Peak in 1952. In fact, that's why he bought the car. Many people thought he wasn't really serious about qualifying at Indy, but merely wanted to show his new toy off to his buddies in the grandest venue possible. His 1952 Pike's Peak run was ruined by the fact that by the time his start came around, the course was fogged in and it was impossible for him to post a decent time. He then entered a AAA National Championship race in Denver (Centennial Park) in 1952, but caught a rut and rolled the car, damaging it badly. He sent it back to the factory for refurbishment and it came back blue, something he hadn't requested! Don't know results or if he did, in fact, enter Pike's Peak in 54. He was a Pike's Peak specialist and finished 2nd there twice.

Tony Parravano commisioned Maserati to build him two 4.2 V-8s that he could use in an Indy program. They finished these in late 1956. Parravano also order a 450S. This infusion of money allowed Maserati to build their 450S sports cars which had sat stagnant on the drawing board for some time. Parravano ordered, and probably paid for, a Kurtis chassis, but never took delivery as his assets were seized by the US Government in a tax dispute. The 4.2 engines passed to Frankie Arciero who, like Parravano, was a contractor who had moved to Southern California from Detroit. Arciero used one of the engines in an ex-Parravano Ferrari 375 MM which had an English Mistral fiberglas body. It was driven by Skip Hudson among others. The second Maserati 4.2 was put into a Kurtis chassis and went to Indy in 1959, but couldn't qualify. In 1965, Arciero entered Bobby Unser in a rear-engine car with a Maserati. My guess is that it used the same engine as the 1959 car. The result was the same - a non-qualifier.

#39 Ray Bell

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Posted 02 January 2002 - 03:54

Originally posted by cabianca
Mauro did enter the 375 at Pike's Peak in 1952. In fact, that's why he bought the car....


Sounds smart to me... the change in altitude on the climb would have affected the V12 less, I think, than the big Offy four. Shame it didn't work out...

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#40 McRonalds

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Posted 02 January 2002 - 11:32

Originally posted by McRonalds


The picture below shows one of the three Ferraris handed to American drivers. This one is Johnnie Parsons'. The main visible difference are different wheels, an other windshield.

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Checked this one again - and I think it shows Johnny Mauro. It seems they swoped the cars now and then.

#41 McRonalds

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Posted 02 January 2002 - 12:07

Found another interesting story about the history of the Indy-Ferrari - maybe some of you haven't heard that story before:

"I was Kirk Douglas the first time I drive a Ferrari Grand Prix car. We were filming the final scenes for the movie, The Racers, and I was standing-in for Douglas by driving a 1951 4.5 liter Ferrari that had once run in the Indianapolis 500 as the Grant Piston Ring Special. I recall thinking what a brute the car was, and how you’d have to race it on a huge circuit to ever appreciate that it was the type of Ferrari that gave the company its first Grand Prix victory against the all-conquering Alfa Romeo Alfettas.
Through the years, I’ve had the chance to drive many of the early Ferrari Grand Prix machines, either in vintage car races or for Road & Track magazine assignments."

from "Memories of a champion: Death & Victory" by Phil Hill

#42 Hitch

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Posted 02 January 2002 - 19:54

Originally posted by cabianca

He sent it back to the factory for refurbishment and it came back blue, something he hadn't requested! Don't know results or if he did, in fact, enter Pike's Peak in 54. He was a Pike's Peak specialist and finished 2nd there twice.


Cabianca, maybe this is the reason why Ferrari painted Mauro's car blue! Found this one while searcing for miniatures on the www - the light blue Ferrari of Howard Keck! I'm surpised to see it that colour. I read that the great Bill Vukovich tried one of these Ferraris (don't know which) that year too.

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#43 McRonalds

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Posted 02 January 2002 - 21:36

Originally posted by cabianca
Perhaps my previous post was unclear. My understanding of the stillborn Grant/Parsons/Ferrari deal was that Parsons would drive a Ferrari 500 in Europe in 1952. The 375 would remain in America. The Grant Piston Ring press release specifically mentions 8 events, and I don't think there were eight Formula Libre events in Europe that year.


Found this interesting little article on Speedvision online, confirming that Johnny Parsons was offered a Ferrari factory ride in '52.

"Speaking of Ferrari, did you know that Johnny Parsons was offered a factory ride in '52 after testing at Modena prior to taking delivery of the Grant Piston Ring Tipo 375 Indianapolis car? Parsons turned down the offer when told he would have to run third behind Alberto Ascari and Luigi Villoresi. 'I race to win,' said Parsons. We often think of Phil Hill as being the first American to run for Ferrari, but recall that Rex Mays turned down a Scuderia Ferrari offer after running third in the '37 Vanderbilt Cup race and Phil Walters was already signed for the '56 season (probably in place of Peter Collins), but retired completely in reaction to the carnage at Le Mans in June '55. A little historical trivia there." — Brock Yates (Speedvision online)

#44 Paul Medici

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Posted 02 January 2002 - 22:09

McRonalds,

Thanks for the very fine topic, and I think it deserves an equally fine triva question :
We know that Ferrari replaced the carbs on Ascari's car with 4-barrel Webers before the race.

QUESTION: What engine did they come from?

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Also, and this is not part of the trivia question, I don't think your original photo on your topic was taken in Luigi's showroom. So questions still remain, were and when was the photo taken??

#45 cabianca

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Posted 02 January 2002 - 22:40

Paul, Interesting thought about Pike's Peak. The Maserati 8CLTs did well at Pike's Peak, probably because a blown engine had less trouble with the altitude than the normally aspirated cars.

#46 McRonalds

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Posted 02 January 2002 - 22:42

Originally posted by Paul Medici
McRonalds,

Also, and this is not part of the trivia question, I don't think your original photo on your topic was taken in Luigi's showroom. So questions still remain, were and when was the photo taken??


Paul, I think the man in the Ferrari is Bill Devin, a car builder from Oklahoma who modified FERRARIS, Panhards, Triumphs and later built his own cars. I don't know much about him. Maybe this is a little hint and somebody can help. Here's one of his own cars; a Devin bodied Ford Special, captured at Pikes Peak '62.

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#47 cabianca

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Posted 03 January 2002 - 04:35

From looking at the quickly rigged, cheapo curtains, the other cars and the signs, I would say the original picture was taken at an auto show. Which one is open to question. Certainly doesn't look grand enough to be the New York Auto Show.

#48 karlcars

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Posted 08 January 2002 - 21:52

Well, I guess I have to say something in response to Cabianca's attack on my writings in my book on Ascari.

I think "several" cars would include two or three.

I am not about to question Russ Catlin's writings in this instance, because they were written at that time in the Clymer Yearbook and not later. I believe they were an honest journalist's comments on what he saw.

I certainly was not trying to gloss anything over or make the Indy effort seem better than it was. I tried hard with the information available to me to tell the story as best I could, and I think I wasn't too far off the truth as it related to Ascari, who was the subject of my writings.

I warmly welcome the insights provided by Cabianca, and hope that he will contact me privately to authenticate the sources of his information on the Ferrari '52 campaign at Indy.

#49 Gerr

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Posted 09 January 2002 - 08:18

Re: the the 1956 Bardahl/Kurtis/Ferrari,there is a "salon' article by Chuck Queener in the May 1981 Road&Track. The car was owned by Luigi Chinetti at the time. He had found it in Switzerland and brought it back to the US to be restored by Francois Sicard,who started work on the car in 1969.
I'm curious to know why this car ended up in Switzerland.....any guesses?

Also in the article is a reference to the 1954 Indy/Ferrari entry(the initial subject of this thread).
"In 1954 Chinetti managed to put together yet another type of 375 4.5-liter V-12 car for the sole purpose of running 500 miles at Indianapolis. Entered in his wife's name,Marion A. Chinetti,the car was backed by Ferrari enthusiasts.When the car arrived at the Speedway,Villoresi was absent. Several drivers attempted to qualify the car,but it simply wasn't designed for this type of motor racing".
New 375? Old 375? New/old 375?

R&T August 1959 issue has an article and chart of Ferrari engines since 1947. There is a 1955 "250 INDY Supercharged V12 " engine on the chart with some odd specs:
2963.4 cc, 68mm X 68mm bore and stroke(a "square" Ferrari?), 6:1 compression ratio, dual ignition, twin magneto, 4 camshafts..............510 horsepower at 7000 rpm
I'm really curious about this engine, can anyone shed any light?

Thanks

#50 McRonalds

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Posted 21 January 2002 - 13:36

...here's a further interesting picture I found from the Indy 'Hall of Fame' recently... the car in the background seems the #35 Ferrari of 1952. A red one! So we have pictures of all 4 Indy-Ferraris from '52. I wonder if this is the original 'Kennedy Tank' Ferrari?!

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