Alberto Ascari drove this Ferrari 275S in the Mille Miglia

The motorsport chapter of this Barchetta’s history began in the marque’s early years of racing – 1950, to be exact. Works driver Alberto Ascari hoped to be first across the line in that year’s Mille Miglia… but it was not to be.

First Lampredi-engined Ferrari sports-racer

As the first Ferrari sports-racer with the Aurelio Lampredi V12 under the bonnet, this 275S is today, 65 years later, a real landmark in the history of Ferrari. As is the case with every one of these early racing cars from Maranello, there is a fascinating history behind this car. Chassis 0030 MT, the 275S shown here, was entered for the 1950 Mille Miglia but, despite that 12-cylinder Lampredi engine in the bow and the renowned Alberto Ascari at the wheel – with Senesio Nicolini navigating – it failed to finish the race, let alone claim victory. Ferrari refused to be deterred, however, and back in Maranello, the racing car was rebuilt to 340 America 4.1-litre V12 specifications. The black and white photograph below shows how it emerged from the factory in November 1950 – the picture taken immediately after completion of the works, and before it was exhibited at the Salon de l'Automobile in Paris. 

A little later, Scuderia Marzotto acquired the Ferrari 275S/340 America Barchetta and raced it in the Mille Miglia in both 1951 and 1952 – as well as at the Targa Florio. Up until 1957, the Barchetta competed in a great many more races, with the likes of Ascari, Giovanni Bracco and Gianni Marzotto at the wheel. However, there is no record of any notable victories.

In more recent times, the Ferrari has competed in the Mille Miglia retrospective – and at other high-calibre events such as the Ferrari Maserati Historic Challenge. Chassis 0030 MT has Ferrari Classiche certification and was recently announced as a highlight of the RM Sotheby's sale at Monterey in August.

Photos: Archivi Farabola, RM Sotheby's

Other Ferraris with Mille Miglia provenance can be found in the Classic Driver Market.