Ferrari 500 Mondial Berlinetta Pininfarina
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Ferrari Mondial Berlinetta 1954. Original patina for this inline four cylinder

FERRARI 500 MONDIAL BARCHETTA 1954: KIDSTON

Few brands are as attached to an engine as Ferrari to its V12 Colombo. Assembled for more than four decades in a multitude of models, this ingenuity with displacements that ranging from 1 to 5 liters was born in 1947 to power the first Ferrari in history: the 125S. A start of the most emblematic, from which chapters of glory were written such as that of its 3-liter variant, responsible for the entire 250GT saga.

However, beyond the V12 it is impossible to understand the history of Ferrari without the four-cylinder in-line engines. Something that attests to this charming Ferrari 500 Mondial Berlinetta from 1954. Bodybuilt by Pininfarina, this racing pedigree unit is a rarest specimen, with only two closed-bodied Ferrari 500 Mondial ever being built. Signed by Aurelio Lampredi, the inline four that powers it is not one of the most common engines in Manarello. Of course, a priori.

And it is that, during the 50 these engines were really successful in various competitions. A characteristic that contrasts with the imposing V12 since, although these are defining for production cars and drag racing, the lightweight L4 cars like this Ferrari Mondial are key to understanding the Scuderia's record during the 50s. In fact, this very unit attests to that. Something that, for the most seasoned in the history of Ferrari, is announced by the color of the body.

FERRARI 500 MONDIAL BERLINETTA 1954. BLUE FROM FRANCE

Enzo Ferrari always played with an ace up his sleeve. Therefore, and despite the fact that Giocchino Colombo's V12 turned out to be a most successful engine, just one year after its premiere, he commissioned Aurelio Lampredi to develop another engine with similar characteristics. A game of competition between engineers of the same brand that, at times, seemed to replicate the duels between pilots of the Scuderia itself. However, each engineer ended up going down in history for different reasons.

Colombo did it for its 12-cylinder engines, and Lampredi for 4-cylinder engines. Something really curious since, really, the Lampredi engine was also born as a V12. However, the derivations that made this a key device in Maranello came when in 1951 a version of it was used for Formula 2.

ferrari 500 world cup berlinett

A bypass that turned the V12 into an aluminum-forged 4-liter L2. Capable of delivering 165CV in its first versions, This engine would equip the Ferrari F50, 2 Mondial, 500 Testa Rossa or F500 Type 1 during the 500s. A wide range in which the Monza stand out. Responsible for the sports renovation of the brand during the 50s, these sports cars opted for lightness rather than raw power.

ferrari 500 world cup berlinett

For this reason, the L4 Lampredi adapted very well to their small chassis and light weight. Designed for the World Endurance Championship (Sport Prototypes), its many client-drivers forged the Ferrari legend beyond the F1 circuits, standing out in competitive road tests such as the Tour de France. Proof of this is this 1954 Ferrari Mondial, painted in Blue Tour de France precisely for having participated in that race.

FERRARI MONDIAL 0422MD. A FERRARI TO A SPECIFIC ORDER

Unlike Porsche, Ferrari has not been known for supporting subsidiary teams. Far from it, Enzo Ferrari always preferred to manage his sporting successes within the monopoly exercised by the Scuderia both in F1 and in the World Championship of Sport Prototypes. However, this was not entirely the case during the 50s, as it lasted this time. those from Maranello supported a multitude of pilot-clients for your participation in endurance races.

Witness of this is the entire development of the Monza saga from 1953 to 1957, within which is this Ferrari Mondial. Commissioned directly from the factory in 1954, this 0422MD chassis berlinetta went to Mario Dustaritz with the purpose of participating in the Tour de France that same year.

Held in September throughout France, exposure to the elements was a constant in the race. Which is why, contrary to what was common in the 500 Mondial, this unit and another like it were bodied in the form of a berlinetta and not a small boat or spyder. Yes indeed, Before the gala race this Ferrari Mondial was premiered at the 1954 Tangier GP. There he was second, while participation in the Tour de France was not nearly as successful.

From that moment on, our protagonist passed from hand to hand through prestigious private collections such as that of Jon shirley to end up recently in the hands of Kidston specialist. Of course, always with a very special feature: not have been repainted at any time. Something that gives it an extra charm to be one of the few Ferrari 500 Mondial respectful with its original patina.

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Written by Miguel Sánchez

Through the news from La Escudería, we will travel the winding roads of Maranello listening to the roar of the Italian V12; We will travel Route66 in search of the power of the great American engines; we will get lost in the narrow English lanes tracking the elegance of their sports cars; We will speed up the braking in the curves of the Monte Carlo Rally and we will even get dusty in a garage while rescuing lost jewels.

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