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Ferrari at Indianapolis


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#51 Frank S

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Posted 13 January 2003 - 20:10

Does AtlasF1 fold its tent every Sunday evening at 8:00 pm PDT (GMT -8) ? It certainly did last night (12 Jan 2003)

Now I notice this thread is a year and some weeks old, not just some weeks. Always late to the party, but . . .

Let me call your attention to these pages:

A "Mystery Car" on Tam's Old Race Car Pages leads to further discussion of the Indy Ferraris.
<http://www.tamsoldra...l#NewMysteryCar>

There is a September, 1952, picture of the white (Parsons reject) car at Torrey Pines, California, where Danny Oakes gave it a short demonstration ride.
<http://home.san.rr.c...pin5.htm#torFer>

Oakes won a midget car race at Riverside International Raceway, California, in 1958. The race was run anti-clockwise, against the usual direction. On the Memorial day weekend later that year there were three 500-mile races at Riverside: stock cars, midgets, big (sprint) cars.
<http://home.san.rr.c...ff/rirmidg2.htm>

A contemporary news blurb in the May, 1952 issue of Speed Age magazine adds some perspective, if few facts, about Parsons' European experience.
<http://home.san.rr.c...pr1b.htm#bottom>

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#52 aldo

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Posted 04 February 2003 - 19:04

Nice and well informed thread: congratulations to everybody.
I can contribute something which I don't think I've read. Of the four 375s for Indy 1952, three were brand new chassis frames built by Gilco: I've to check what the differencies are with 1951 F1 racers. The fourth car was a refurbished 1951 F1 racer and it was shipped to Indy later.
According to my researches, Ascari skid and retirement was due to a sudden hub seizure: wheel "collapse" was the consequence.
There are photos, taken after the skid, showing the wheel still in place, maybe slightly offset. Ascari and some policemen pushed the car to a safer area: a move which is still possible both with a seized hub (still hot and, as such, with some rolling capabilities left) and an offset wheel.
Such a fine driver like Ascari must have noticed since some laps that the wheel was on the verge of collapsing. I never heard of a Borrani wheel giving up so suddenly.
I dare to say that the photo of the collapsed hub with spokes taken away could have been taken on purpose, later. Do not forget that at Ferrari they have always been master in the game of blaming someone/something else for their failures.

#53 Gerr

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 17:27

David Pozzi posted this link a couple of weeks ago...an autobiography by Stu Hilborn...

http://www.nitrogeez...om/hilborn1.htm

A really great read, thanks DP !

Chapter 4......

http://www.nitrogeez...lborn Bio 4.htm

.....has interesting info about the 1952 Indy Ferrari project. One or two errors, but worth a look.

#54 karlcars

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Posted 29 December 2006 - 14:22

Further to thoughts on this interesting thread, I believe it's likely that discussions with Parsons about driving in Europe in 1952 could well have concerned his racing a 375 F1, not a Type 500.

Bear in mid that these negotiations talks would have taken place in the 1951-52 winter when the current GP formula was expected to continue for two more years. That's why Ferrari built updated versions of his big V12s for European racing as well as the cars for Indy.

The watershed was the Formula 1 race at Turin's Valentino Park on April 6 of 1952, for which Parsons was indeed entered in a 375 F1. BRM's failure to show for the race and a finish that had Ferraris in first through sixth was the final straw that convinced organizers to switch to Formula 2 for the championship races of 1952 and '53.

#55 RA Historian

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Posted 29 December 2006 - 15:16

Originally posted by karlcars
BRM's failure to show for the race and a finish that had Ferraris in first through sixth was the final straw that convinced organizers to switch to Formula 2 for the championship races of 1952 and '53.

Yep, that move really led to variety of winning marques in those two years!

#56 Vitesse2

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Posted 29 December 2006 - 15:30

Originally posted by RA Historian
Yep, that move really led to variety of winning marques in those two years!

If we're talking purely non-Indy World Championship races then no more or less than in 1950-51 :p

#57 RA Historian

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Posted 29 December 2006 - 16:15

Originally posted by Vitesse2

If we're talking purely non-Indy World Championship races then no more or less than in 1950-51 :p

Exactly. Except that this time it was almost all Ferrari with, what, one Maserati win in those two years. Not exactly the variety hoped for, which was my point.

While we are discussing 1952-53, time to air a little gripe of mine that I have had for years. Modern journalists are prone to equating Formula 1 with Grand Prix. This has led to numerous occasions in which I have seen Ascari credited as being the 1952-53 Formula 1 champion, etc. Even Motor Sport magazine, which should know better, a few years ago referred to the Ferrari 500 as being one of the greatest F-1 cars of all time. As I see it, those were F-2 years for the World Championship. Yes, there were Grands Prix for F-1 cars those two years, but all the Grande Eprueves (remember that term?) were for F-2 cars.
Tom

#58 Dan Axelsson

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 08:00

Dear friends,

Regarding the picture of Johnny Baldwin's 1956 Bardahl-Ferrari mentioned and visible in post n°5 here earlier.

If possible could someone who may have this picture stored kindly post it here again? Or perhaps send a copy to me through PM or e-mail. I seem to be unable to get in touch with McRonalds who posted it in the first place.

Many many thanks!

#59 Cynic2

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 13:05

"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."

Even though it's been seven years since this statement appeared in this thread it's still worth refuting. The Antonio Ferrari who entered Ferrari 333 SPs in 1994 and various cars at the Indy 500, at least once for Jeff Andretti, is not related to Enzo Ferrari. He is not a relative nor descendant.

I believe he (or others) may have suggested otherwise on occasion, but it is not correct. (For that matter, Ferrari is not that unusual a name in central Italy.)

Cynic

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#60 raceannouncer2003

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Posted 27 June 2008 - 06:30

Originally posted by Dan Axelsson
Dear friends,

Regarding the picture of Johnny Baldwin's 1956 Bardahl-Ferrari mentioned and visible in post n°5 here earlier.

If possible could someone who may have this picture stored kindly post it here again? Or perhaps send a copy to me through PM or e-mail. I seem to be unable to get in touch with McRonalds who posted it in the first place.

Many many thanks!


I posted these on another thread a while ago...from 2007 Monterey Historics:

Posted Image Posted Image

Vince H. (I am not McRonalds)

#61 Arjan de Roos

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Posted 27 June 2008 - 07:16

Originally posted by Cynic2
For that matter, Ferrari is not that unusual a name in central Italy.

Cynic


Indeed. The Ferrari name derrives from Ferro or iron and means iron worker. In Italia there are many other Ferrari families and companies. The famous family though is quite small.

http://www.leferrari.it/
http://www.ferrari-spa.it/
http://www.ferrarigroup.it/
http://www.mobilificioferrari.com/
http://www.ferraridilarcher.com/
http://www.ferrarisrl.it/
http://www.fratelliferrarisnc.it/
http://www.ferrarigroup.net/sitoweb/
http://www.comoliferrari.it/

Some even moved to switzerland:
http://www.ferrari.ch/

#62 Bruno

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 11:43

and :
http://www.materiel-ferrari.com/

#63 fines

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 18:25

Originally posted by raceannouncer2003
Posted Image

Sorry Vince, but this is the wrong car: it's the Kurtis/Ferrari that was intended for (and driven only by, as far as I can determine) Nino Farina, as #9. It is #91 that was entered for and (probably) driven by Johnny Baldwin, and that was shown in the pic in post #5.

#64 Dan Axelsson

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 20:59

Yes correct! That is the picture I am looking for, the #91 car from post 5.
It would be very great if someone please could post it here again! Or send it in an e-mail or PM.

Many big thanks!

#65 B Squared

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Posted 15 March 2009 - 13:18

I'm going to let those more knowledgable than I fill us in on this Indy Ferrari's history. What I can say with certainty, is that I took these photos in, IIRC, 1971 in the parking lot of a Dearborn, MI Holiday Inn. We were at the Ferrari Club of America national meeting that involved a show at the GM Tech Center and dinner at the Grosse Point Yacht Club. I was 13) at the time and what I recall was that this particular car had recently been purchased and it was being seen in public for the first time in years. My apologies in advance for any incorrect info..

Posted Image
photos: B² Design

Posted Image

Brian

#66 David McKinney

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Posted 15 March 2009 - 14:39

The Grant Piston Ring car, which had failed to qualify for the 1952 Indianapolis race was at the time of your picture owned by Ernie Beuttler of Michigan (possibly in partnership with Dick Merritt)

#67 AllTwelve

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Posted 15 March 2009 - 15:28

Originally posted by McRonalds
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.

Posted Image


This is a great article, and true to the many stories told by my Father, John Cuccio. From the stories I've been told, Ascari was indeed having a 'Sunday Drive' before the wheel broke, and had a lot in his hand left to show. It is true the car was qualified in nearly race trim, unlike the others and they were down right gitty with excitement. When I asked my dad why they hadn't listened to Wilber Shaw with his advice to change to the magnesium wheel, I get that look that only a Siciliano can give you!! One story you may never have heard is that during practice, Albert missed a shift and blew the box. He came into the pits coasting, went right by his pit, waving to my father to follow and assist with pushing. They made there way into the garage and quickly closed the barn. Alberto was sitting in oil, and was embarrassed to the point of trying to keep the incident from the public (hope I don't get in trouble now!). My father, incidentally, was the only person Ascari would allow to touch his robins egg blue helmet which he was so, well, superstitious about. My dad was instructed to keep the helmet in a bag or box high up on a shelf in the garage to be out of reach to anyone. Also, Alberto was NOT wearing his precious helmet on that fateful practice day at Monza. My father can barely speak of his unforgettable time with Ascari without crying. He loved him dearly, and regards that special month of May as one of his fondest memories. You can see some great shots from the thread (http://forums.autosp...654#post3513654) near the top of page 91, scroll down. Here is one more photo:
Posted Image
In this photo, my Father had been instucted by track officials to inform Alberto that when he was driving the apron of turn 3 and 4 (to make pit lane) too slowly, and that it was perhaps dangerous regarding the other cars. Must of been a bit awkward having to tell the current World Champion he was doing it 'wrong'!

#68 PRUNET

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Posted 15 March 2009 - 18:25

I knew that posting photos on this forum is the most complicated systeml of all but now it seems as difficult to SEE (the few of) them. Please what do these blue squares with a question mark mean? :

#69 B Squared

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Posted 15 March 2009 - 18:29

PRUNET - Just a guess.. old posts/contributors that no longer have a host for the photos? I don't see all images either.

Brian

#70 fines

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Posted 15 March 2009 - 19:58

Thanks for the nice story and picture, AllTwelve! That, btw, is 1925 Indy winner Pete de Paolo with the hat, standing directly behind Ascari, no doubt rooting for another Italian victory!

PRUNET and B², yes, this is an old thread, and many pictures appear to be no longer hosted on the net. I used to post a number of pictures on a website I "owned", but the host has long since cancelled his side of the deal, typically without prior notice, and I suspect there are many who have suffered a similar fate! :(

#71 Russ Snyder

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 15:08

thanks AllTwelve for the photos & the story. I often wondered if Alberto would have been in a duel at the end with Vuky & eventual 1952 Indy winner Troy Ruttman if he had the proper wheels in place.

#72 pilota

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 18:04

Originally posted by McRonalds
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 : : :

I know this goes back a long time, but just to clarify - McRonalds is correct. Obviously the photo doesn't appear now, but if this post is correct

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.

then this car is a RAM painted up to look like a Ferrari. I have this from Nick Mason himself.
Nathan

#73 Doug Nye

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 23:50

The 'Grant Piston Ring Spl' is now part of the Dutch National Motor Museum collection. We repainted the car here and I personally oversaw - and partially undertook - its restoration to original '52-style livery. We had water-slide transfers made to the pattern of the period Mobil Pegasus and spent ages trying to position them absolutely correctly relative to the engine cover fixtures, fittings and louvring. The elbow-jogging problem here was that the bonnet was almost certainly a replacement panel, following one or more of the unfortunate car's assorted excursions and subsequent repairs/rebuilds. Two things we certainly left unoriginal. One was the aero screen rather than the Indy partial wrap-around plastic affair, and the other was the interior colour of the cockpit since the original 'cream-fudge' primer colour simply looked disgusting, greatly offending not only the enthusiastic owner...but also yrs trly.

DCN

#74 Frank S

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Posted 17 March 2009 - 01:21

Don't know if it is worth reposting ths message from some time back; a few months ago the host changed server addresses, so any specifically-linked URLs from before the change are no longer valid. Links have been corrected in what follows:

There is a September, 1952, picture of the white (Parsons reject) car at Torrey Pines, California, where Danny Oakes gave it a short demonstration ride.
<http://home.roadrunn...pin5.htm#torFer>

Oakes won a midget car race at Riverside International Raceway, California, in 1958. The race was run anti-clockwise, against the usual direction. On the Memorial day weekend later that year there were three 500-mile races at Riverside: stock cars, midgets, big (sprint) cars.
<http://home.roadrunn...ff/rirmidg2.htm>

A contemporary news blurb in the May, 1952 issue of Speed Age magazine adds some perspective, if few facts, about Parsons' European experience.
<http://home.roadrunn...pr1b.htm#bottom>


Edit: inadvertantly left out the link to Tam's "Mystery car" page:
<http://www.tamsoldra...l#NewMysteryCar>

#75 Arjan de Roos

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 15:36

A new book seems on the way. Title would be "Ferrari In Linea" and will deal with 4 and 6 cylinder sports racers of the 1953 – 1957 period. Franco Lombardi and Antoine Prunet writing/researching. It will include the Indy attempts. Looks good to me!