This week Bob Melhado sent me some pictures from last weekend’s vintage racing event at Thompson Speedway in Connecticut. Bob was the Chief Steward at this event. I was surprised to see in Bob’s pictures that a Lancia-Ferrari D50 was there. These are rare and interesting cars.
Lancia-Ferrari D50 At Thompson Speedway
The Lancia D50 had a normally aspirated 2.5 litre V8 engine that put out about 285 horsepower. This car was a rear-wheel drive car, as was still common place at that time, driven through a Lancia 5-speed manual transaxle. The car had an unusual feature of side-mounted fuel cells which helped the streamline the car. Race cars of that era were not particularly designed to withstand accidents, but placing the exposed fuel cells between the wheels seems quite risky to me.
Those Side Fuel Tanks Are A Little Scary
These cars have an interesting history. In the mid-1950s Lancia was in financial difficulty. Eventually the Lancia family had to sell their controlling share in the Lancia company, and the assets of Lancia racing team, including all of their Lancia D50 Formula 1 cars were given to Ferrari. The car was rebadged as the “Lancia-Ferrari D50” and later the Lancia name was dropped completely and the car became known as the Ferrari D50. Subsequently, Juan Manuel Fangio won the 1956 World Drivers Championship with a Ferrari D50. I prefer to refer to these cars as Lancia-Ferrari D50 cars as I think that it better reflects what they actually are.
Fangio In A Lancia-Ferrari D50 During The 1956 French Grand Prix
Despite having won the 1956 World Driver’s Championship with Ferrari, Fangio left the Ferrari team for Maserati in 1957. There Fangio won his fifth World Drivers Championship in 1957 driving a Maserati 250F.
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