1954 Ferrari 500 Mondial
- Motornummer0408MD, internal no.
Ferrari Factory Entry at the 1954 Mille Miglia. Matching-Numbers Rebuilt Original Engine Included. Hall & Hall Built 3 Litre Race Engine Fitted. Incredibly Well-Documented Including Massini Report. Spare DeDion Tube, Among Many Other Important Extras. Turnkey Entry to the Mille Miglia Retrospective!1954 Ferrari Mondial Pinin Farina Spiders/n 0408MD, engine. no. 0408MD (internal no. 5MD)Pinin Farina Body # 12576Red with Blue Cloth InteriorAutomotive historians and enthusiasts alike will most often reference the Ferrari V12 engine and how it propelled this early race car constructor to the celebrated victories that built their reputation. But in the early 1950s Enzo Ferrari began taking notice of smaller, lightweight cars that benefited from four-cylinder engines. These compact engines made great power and were highly competitive even against larger, heavier competitors. Inspired by this, Enzo assigned engineer Aurelio Lampredi to develop a robust, high revving engine leveraging all the traits of the bigger V12, utilizing a compact in-line four-cylinder configuration. The end result would prove to be one of the most successful engine designs, delivering victories in race after race with notable drivers at the wheel including Alberto Ascari who proved the four-cylinder Ferrari was a true contender, achieving consecutive championships in the four-cylinder F2 Monoposto, clinching the 1952 and 1953 title.
Engineered with many of the celebrated features of the V12, the 1,984-cc dual overhead-camshaft Lampredi engine featured twin Weber 42/DCO/3 carburetors paired with a four-speed manual transaxle. The surprising 170hp output was certainly robust, but it was the power to weight ratio that not only proved to be fantastic, in some cases, the performance could outdo the V12. Mounted into the tubular steel chassis, the independent front suspension with transverse leaf springs, de Dion rear axle with parallel trailing arms and semi-elliptic leaf springs, with four-wheel drum brakes, all contributed to making a taut and agile race car that operated at peak torque even at lower rpms. The combined package was not only nimble, but the engine also delivered great acceleration especially on tight racecourses and hill climbs where the power to weight advantage and snappy torque proved over and over, Ferrari had once again built a champion.By 1954, Ferrari offered the four-cylinder sports/racer to customers as a two-liter model, with each cylinder displacing almost 500 cubic centimeters. The car was dubbed the 500 Mondial, in recognition of Ascari’s back-to-back World Championships. Beginning with chassis 0404MD, 18 spiders and two berlinettas were built comprising the first series, all of which were bodied by Pinin Farina. A second series of 10 Scaglietti-bodied cars followed, resulting in the construction of just 30 500 Mondials before yielding to the three-liter 750 Monza. Rare in both number and sequence, each of the coveted Mondial cars offer a unique perspective on the period, the engineering of the era, and the racing history that defines each individually realized provenance.According to the Marcel Massini report and accompanying support documentation specifically referencing the history of chassis #0408, on March 23, 1954, the tipo 501 chassis was completed and the engine and gearbox subsequently prepared in April. The first documented owner of the car was then assigned to Scuderia Ferrari, effectively making its first outing as a Ferrari factory race car. The third of only 22 Series 1 Mondial Spiders constructed, and the third of only 16 bodied by Pinin Farina, the car was fitted with body #12576 by Pinin Farina and dispatched to the 1954 Mille Miglia. With the intention of dominating this event, Ferrari entered an astonishing 24 cars, five of which were Mondials, four being Pinin Farina bodied. The Massini report and supporting letter concludes that through the process of elimination, chassis #0408 was most likely driven by Paolo Pineschi and Mirko Landini in the 1954 Mille Miglia. As was common for the times, the financially challenged Ferrari sold many of their race cars to raise funds to finance the construction of the next models. In May 1954, the car was sold by the Ferrari factory to Swedish importer Tore Bjurstrom, who in turn sold the car shortly thereafter to the first private owner, Valdemar Stener, a resident of Lhusdal, Farila, Sweden. Stener, no stranger to performance cars and a capable racer in his own right, also owned and raced a Ferrari 375MM.On May 9, 1954, Stener enters the car in the Helsinki Grand Prix, Finland, race #2 where he places 5th in category C for all racing cars, further at Ljungsdalbacken finishing 2nd overall, and then May 23, 1954 at Hedemora, Sweden, placing 2nd overall and 1st in class, race #23. Stener continued to race the car successfully throughout the 1955 racing season, then selling it in October 1955 to Bjorn Martensson. Martensson registered the car on Swedish plates and competed in three ice races with additional recorded races including entry in the 1956 Copenhagen Grand Prix, Denmark, and once again in the 1956 Swedish Grand Prix finishing 2nd in class and 10th overall. In 1957 the car returned to the Ferrari factory where it was overhauled, returning once again to Sweden where it competed in the 1957 Swedish Grand Prix. Later that year the car was sold to Olof “Mas-Olle” Persson, who then won the National Ice Racing Championship driving this car.In 1958, the car was sold to Lars Edin, Uppsala, Sweden. Edin raced the car a few times before dismantling the original bodywork and commissioning Ockelbo, manufacturers of snowmobiles, to rebody the car with a GRP fiberglass body in the style of Ulf Norinder’s Ferrari 500 Mondial #0580. Using #0580 as a body template, the mold was cast, a body shell made, and the finished car was painted bright yellow with a broad central black stripe covering the entire length of the car longitudinally. Through the 1960s and 1970s the car appeared in this livery in a range of events as Massini documents the changes in ownership until 1973 when it is sold to Gary D. Schmidt. In 1977, Schmidt drives the car in the Mille Miglia Retrospective and other events until selling the car through Italian dealer Corrado Cupellini to Stefano Arborini, a resident of Ferrara, Italy. Under the care of Arborini, the car participated at the Mille Miglia nearly every year of his ownership until sold in 1986 through Dutch dealer Rudy Pas to Adrien De Ghellinck, Brussels, Belgium. De Ghellinck then participates in two Mille Miglia events before selling the car in 1988 to Italian Alessandro Tonolli who further continues the tradition with his participation in the 1989 and 1991 Mille Miglia spending considerable resources on mechanical work on the car performed by Livo Guarnieri between 1993-1995.
In 1995, Tonolli delivers the car to Carrozzeria Bachelli & Villa, Bastiglia, Modena where it is rebodied back to the original Pinin Farina Spider configuration using hand-formed alloy panels just as had been done for the original body. Further mechanical sorting was then performed by Livo Guarnieri and completed in time to participate in the 1995 Louis Vuitton Italia Classica held in Italy. In 1997 the car was sold to renowned collector Bruce McCaw, Washington, USA via Brooks Europe Auction. McCaw participated in the 1997 Chrysler Classic Speed Festival, San Diego, CA and in 1999 commissioned a ground-up restoration. After the restoration, McCaw continued to race and show the car in various events including the 2004 Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races at Laguna Seca, CA. In 2005, the car was sold to the current owner who, over the past fifteen years has participated in numerous vintage HMSA and CSRG events. Among the more recent achievements, the car finished 1st in class and 2nd at the West Coast 2009 Ferrari Shell Historic Challenge two-day event. The vintage racing logbook included with the car includes the first entry in 1997, multiple Monterey Reunion and Sonoma Historic events in which it won, CSRG David Love Memorial, and concludes with the 2019 Sonoma Festival of Speed in which it won. 2016 Laguna Seca Rolex Monterey Pre-Reunion race results include a 3rd position in Group 1 1947-1955 Sports Racing and GT Cars, 4th position finish in Groupe 1B 1947-1955 Sports Racing and GT Cars, and a 2015 Sonoma Historics 4th position in the Group 2 1946-1955 Sports Racing and Production Cars class.
In 2019, under current ownership the original engine no. 0408MD, internal number 5MD was removed and Hall & Hall were contracted to produce a modern-cast 3 Liter engine (stamped to reflect the original chassis and engine number 0408) which was documented with detailed specifications and dyno tested with specialists ‘Auto Restorations’ in New Zealand, returning 200hp at 4,700 rpm (dyno sheet included in documentation). Additionally, Auto Restorations constructed a hand-made de Dion tube to exact specifications, replacing the original unit so as to preserve it without risk of damage while participating in vintage events. To ensure originality of the package, the original de Dion tube was set aside and a newly-fabricated one installed for event purposes. Further work included a new set of custom-made gears installed in the rebuilt transaxle, and a removable roll bar. Most critically, the impossibly rare original matching numbers engine, rebuilt by West Coast Ferrari guru and Pebble Beach winning Patrick Ottis still remains with the car and is thoughtfully included. Engine dyno results for this engine, recorded in 2008, are also included with the car.
As many vehicles of this stature will have both historic provenance and hold an important position in motorsports history, there is yet another critical distinction among Ferrari enthusiasts who wish to drive their cars in tours, events, or vintage racing - mechanical confidence. Not simply in restoration, rather at a level