1954 Ferrari 500 Mondial
- Year of manufacture1954
- Car typeOther
- Lot number033
- Exterior colourOther
Guido Petracchi, Italy (acquired new in 1954)
Colin Crabbe, Stamford, Lincolnshire, UK (acquired in 1970)
John E. Robinson, Penrith, Cumbria, UK (acquired from the above in 1972)
Arnold and Werner Meier, Feldmeilen, Switzerland (acquired from the above in 1988)
Alfred Lienhard, Erlen, Switzerland (acquired from the above in 1990)
Symbolic Motor Car Co., La Jolla, California (acquired from the above in 1996)
Paul Osborn’s Cars International Associated, London, UK (acquired from the above in 1997)
Jon Shirley, Medina, Washington (acquired from the above in 1997)
Current Owner (acquired from the above in 2009)
Ethiopian Grand Prix, Eritrea, Ethiopia, 1955, Petracchi (1st Overall)
Asmara, Ethiopia, 1959, Barone, No. 30
25th Anniversary FOC Meeting, Oulton Park, England, July 1987
Mille Miglia Storica, Italy, May 1989 (No. 201)
Mille Miglia Storica, Italy, May 1990 (No. 236)
Mille Miglia Storica, Italy, May 1991 (No. 297)
AvD-Oldtimer-Grand-Prix, Nürburgring, Nürburg, Germany, August 1991 (No. 95)
Mille Miglia Storica, Italy, May 1992 (No. 317)
Coys International Historic Festival, Silverstone, England, July 1997
Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, Pebble Beach, California, August 1998
Ferrari Maserati Historic Challenge, Lime Rock Park, Connecticut, July 2006 (Class 2A, No. 571)
Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, California, August 2009 (No. 25)
Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, California, August 2010 (Class 2B, No. 25)
Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, California, August 2012 (Class 5B, No. 25)
Concours on the Avenue, Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, August 2013
Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, California, August 2013 (Group 5B, No. 25)
Francesco Scaletti, Ferrari I Quattro Cilindri, pp. 160–169
Hilary A. Raab Jr., Ferrari Serial Numbers Part II, chassis no. listed
Antoine Prunet, Ferrari Sports Racing and Prototype Competition Cars, pp. 110–114
Colin Crabbe, Thrill of the Chase, p. 103
While Ferrari is famous for its sonorous and potent V-12s, a number of the company’s most intriguing models were powered by engines of a different design. Following two world championships for Alberto Ascari in the 500 F2 single-seater in 1952 and 1953, Enzo Ferrari aimed to further capitalize on the broad range of torque and the light weight of the Lampredi-designed four-cylinder powerplant.
A sports racing car, to be named the 500 Mondial, was designed and fitted with a detuned version of the grand prix engine, sharing the same two-liter displacement, but making a rather-more-reliable 155 hp in initial specification. Retaining dry sump lubrication, gear-driven dual overhead camshafts and twin-magneto ignition, the Tipo 110, as it was called internally, shared the basic design as the Grand Prix engine, but was importantly fitted with flat-top pistons to lower the compression ratio, increase longevity, and allow use of lower-grade fuels. Output would rise to 170 hp with the addition of new Weber 40 DCOA/3 carburetors for later cars.
The 500 Mondials were successful immediately, and while racing in the under-two-liter class, competed for overall victories at hill climbs, circuit races, and even achieved a 2nd Overall finish in the 1954 Mille Miglia at the hands of Vittorio Marzotto.
While the majority of the first series of 500 Mondials were bodied by Pinin Farina in a style reminiscent of the larger 375 MM, many received bodywork penned by Dino Ferrari and built by a young Modena coachbuilder, Sergio Scaglietti. Just 30 examples of the 500 Mondial were built in two series before the three-liter 750 Monza supplanted the model as Ferrari’s four-cylinder offering.
The 500 Mondial offered here is one of the rare Series I cars originally bodied by Scaglietti. According to a report on file by Ferrari historian Marcel Massini, 0468 MD was sold new to Guido Petracchi of Italy in September 1954. Petracchi took the car to the then-Italian colony of Eritrea, Ethiopia, where the Ferrari was registered ER 22289. The first competitive outing for 0468 MD was at the Ethiopian Grand Prix in 1955, where Petracchi finished 1st Overall. The Ferrari was later placed on display in the Italian pavilion at the Silver Jubilee Fair of Addis Ababa, a scene that was captured in a photo that would grace the pages of Ferrari’s 1955 yearbook. Chassis 0468 MD would race one more time in 1959, this time in Asmara, Ethiopia, driven by Gaetano Barone, before being put into long-term storage.
In 1970, a young English collector and dealer named Colin Crabbe would travel to Ethiopia for vacation, finally ending up in Asmara. Mr. Crabbe relates his experience in his book Thrill of the Chase: “I made some useful contacts, even an ancient local who claimed to have been a mechanic with the Alfa Romeo racing team. This I doubted, but he then led me to a lock-up where a completely original 1954 Ferrari Mondial (0468 MD) was garaged. It was bought immediately…” A lovely photo of Mr. Crabbe’s discovery is also found in the book, showing the complete nature of the car when discovered.
Mr. Crabbe sold 0468 MD to John Robinson, a resident of Cumbria, England, in 1972. Mr. Robinson drove the Ferrari at Oulton Park and the Prescott Speed Hill Climb before hiring noted Ferrari specialists DK Engineering to restore the car in 1982. Invoices and photographs on file chronicle the comprehensive work completed, which included the replacement of the aluminum body panels, done by the experts at Motor Classic. In a recent conversation with a Gooding & Company Specialist, David Cottingham of DK noted that the car was an otherwise very original and sound example.
By 1989, 0468 MD had been purchased by Arnold and Werner Meier of Switzerland, who drove the lovely Ferrari in the 1989 and 1990 editions of the Mille Miglia retrospective before selling the Mondial in June 1990 to racing team owner Alfred Lienhard. He continued the string of Mille Miglia entries in 1991 and 1992 before selling the car through Symbolic Motor Car Co. to Paul Osborn’s Cars International Associated in London.
Esteemed and selective Ferrari collector Jon Shirley would acquire 0468 MD in 1997, adding it to his extraordinary collection of Italian machinery. The 500 Mondial was shown at the 1998 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, then used extensively in the top vintage racing events in the US.
In 2007, 0468 MD would make its way to the Ferrari Classiche facilities in Maranello for certification and restoration. Small changes were made to the shape of the nose of the car to satisfy Ferrari’s stringent standards of “as delivered” specifications, and the Ferrari was re-trimmed and repainted. The accompanying Ferrari Classiche Red Book certifies that the drivetrain in the Mondial is original to the chassis, an important and desirable declaration.
In 2009, 0468 MD was sold to today’s consignor, who continued to campaign the Ferrari in vintage racing events such as the Sonoma Historics and Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. Searching for more outright performance, a reproduction three-liter, 750 Monza-spec engine was sourced from the experts at Hall & Hall in the UK. This amazing powerplant is complete from its Weber 58 mm carburetors down to its hand-bent exhaust headers. It has been used successfully in two race meetings, seeing less than two hours of on track use. This powerful, event-proven engine, which is easily installed, accompanies the Mondial at auction. Additional items such as a hand-riveted fuel cell, roll bar, and fire system also accompany the car, as do numerous spare parts and documents, including a rare and valuable 500 Mondial sales brochure.
During the ownership of its last two stewards, 0468 MD has been in the care of the experts at Dennison International in Washington state. This award-winning shop has spared no expense in the care of the Mondial over the course of the last 20 years, and the car presents incredibly well. The comprehensive nature of this care is documented by receipts totaling over $300,000.
Possessing qualities hard to replicate with another vintage Ferrari, this incredible 500 Mondial finds itself in the rare company of some of the marque’s most desirable offerings. Giving competitive performance in both two- and threeliter guises, along with alluring styling and outstanding cosmetic condition, there are few events that this machine would not only qualify for, but excel in. Whether it’s road use in the Mille Miglia or Colorado Grand, or racing on the world’s greatest circuits, the flexible and dynamic attributes of 0468 MD are sure to bring incomparable thrills to its next owner.
Indeed an opportunity not to be missed, this Ferrari 500 Mondial deserves inclusion in any of the world’s great collections, and your unwavering attention.