Ferrari 500 Reunion 2012

EUROPEAN AND AUSTRALIAN HISTORY

Chassis number 5 was the fifth example of six Ferrari 500 F2 racing cars built by the Scuderia Ferrari Racing Team under the guidance of Enzo Ferrari and head of design Aurelio Lampredi to meet the new 1952 design standards as required by the FIA since the merging of Formula One with Formula Two after the with drawl of the Alfa Romeo at the end of the 1951 season.

With  the new design regulations put in place Lampredi set about creating a very straight-forward 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine that was capable of producing 175 bhp. The twin overhead cam engine was fed by four Weber carburetors and was capable of revving to over 7,500 rpms. This simple, and elegantly designed Ferrari didn’t merely look good but proved to be almost unbeatable as it was highly reliable and performed extremely well.

Alberto Ascari and his regular mount chassis number 5 dominated Formula One for the next two seasons winning back to back titles in 1952/53. Ascari won six of the seven1952 races and five of the eight he contested in 1953. Noted historian Doug Nye has described this car as “Possibly the most successful chassis in Grand Prix history.” The car was also piloted by Maurice Trintingant and future World Champion Mike Hawthorn.

In late 1954 Peter Whitehead and Tony Gaze approached Enzo Ferrari seeking suitable race cars to compete in races that were gaining popularity held in the Southern Hemisphere in Australian, New Zealand and South Africa. Tony Gaze acquired the former Ascari car which had been renumbered by the factory with a new plate 0480 and both Whitehead and Gaze had their chosen Ferrari’s upgraded to Type 625 specifications with a larger capacity engines.

Over the next two years Tony raced the famous Ferrari with much success with a third placing behind Bira and Whithead in the 1955 New Zealand Grand Prix and first place in Johannesburg that same year before returning to the Ferrari Factory with Whitehead to have new engines installed this time Type 750 Monza units that had been modified with a much higher compression that would allow them to run on alcohol. Both Gaze and Whitehead returned to New Zealand with Tony having one of his greatest races with a second placing behind the great Sir Stirling Moss after he had led the initial stages of the race. Tony’s last races with the Ferrari saw him finish second in the Lady Wigram Trophy, first in the NZ Championship and second in the Southland Centennial before selling the Ferrari to Lex Davison.

Lex won two of his four Australian Grand Prix’s with the Ferrari a record that has only been matched by the seven times World F1 Champion Michael Schumacher. The combination of  driver and car proved be one of the most successful  teams ever raced in Australia. Results included:

First                 1956  Bathurst 100

Seventh           1956 Australian Grand Prix

First                 1957 QLD Road Racing Championship

First                 1957 Victorian Trophy

First                 1957 Australian Grand Prix

First                 1957 NSW Road Racing Championship

First                 1958 Australian Grand Prix

Lex Davison also recorded an Australian national record at Coonabarabran on the 28th of September in 1957 reaching 155.9 mph (250.9 km/h) to take the Category D record. The car was sold onto a number of Australian owners before it was saved by Jim Harwood from being cut up to be made into a sports coupe by one of its owners and Jim rebuilt it to its former glory and it was later sold towards the end of the 1960s to the owner of the Donington Park Racing Circuit in England the late Tom Wheatcroft. Tom went about a comprehensive restoration of the Ferrari leading to the discovery that the car was in fact Ascari’s former duel World Drivers Championship winning car a fact unknown since it was initially first sold. Today Tom’s son Kevin looks after the car which resides in the world famous Donington Park Collection in Leicestershire, UK.

Engine

  • Type:   front, longitudinal in-line four
  • Maximum power:  136 kW (185 hp) at 7,500 rpm
  • Power per litre:  93 hp/l

Chassis

  • Frame:   tubular steel chassis
  • Fuel tank:   capacity 150 litres
  • Copy  Bodywork facts
  • Type:   F2 single-seater
  • Wheelbase:   2160mm
  • Weight :  560 kg (dry)

Performance

  •   Top speed:   260km/h