Lancia-Ferrari D50 At Thompson Speedway Vintage Event

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 D50 at Thompson 2016 (1)

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.

Lancia D50 at Thompson 2016 (2)

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 Lancia-Ferrari D50 1956

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.

If you have any questions or comments about this post then leave a comment below or you can send me a private email at the following address:  shanna12 at comcast dot net

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3 Responses to Lancia-Ferrari D50 At Thompson Speedway Vintage Event

  1. johnwreed3 says:

    Hi Steve,

    Really nice write-up. The owner/driver is Peter Greenfield who also owns-and races- a 1935 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300, a Formula 1 car with a supercharged straight eight. He also had that car on the track for the Third Annual VMF at TSMP. The car has an awesome and unique exhaust note.

    With regards to his Lancia Ferrari D50, as the attached photo shows, the Ferrari V8 is angled slightly off the centerline. Why? It is so the the driveshaft is to the side of the driver, allowing him to sit lower in the car resulting in a lower center of gravity. And, oh, its sound! It bellowed with a very exotic note!

    Sent from my iPad


    • J.R.Mitchell says:

      By way of correction, the owner is Peter Giddings and Peter Greenfield graciously consented to test the car for him as Mr. Giddings was otherwise occupied. The car has since run at Mt Tremblant with HMSA successfully and is entered at Lime Rock for the Fall Festival. It has been updated and has fuel cells in the pannier tanks for those who worry about such things. Restored by Jim Stokes shops in England, the car is a joy to watch and hear. J.R.

      • Thanks very much for that information! I am planning on attending the Lime Rock Historic Festival again this year and I look forward to seeing and maybe hearing this car.
        Steve McKelvie

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