Lot 488: 1952 Ferrari Tipo 500 Formula 2
Just a few short years after its foundation in 1946, Scuderia Ferrari had succeeded in establishing itself as a major force on the Grand Prix scene. The fledgling marque secured its first major international win in 1949 when Alberto Ascari took the chequered flag in the Swiss Grand Prix at Bremgarten behind the wheel of a Tipo 125, though in the absence of the all-conquering Alfa Romeos it was a somewhat hollow victory. Recognising that his supercharged 1.5-liter V12 was never going to seriously challenge the Alfas, Enzo Ferrari elected to go down the normally aspirated route in building his next engine, which was limited to a maximum of 4.5 liters under the then current Grand Prix formula.
Ferrari�s new V12 �big banger� showed promise during 1950, the first year of the Formula 1 World Championship, before really coming into its own in 1951, Argentinian Froilan Gonzales securing the team�s first F1 victory in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone that year. But with the World Drivers� Championship switching to Formula 2 rules for 1952, Ferrari had no choice but to start afresh with an entirely new design.
The Italian firm were in a stronger position than most of their rivals, having been active in Formula 2 since 1948. Chief engineer Aurelio Lampredi drew up a new four-cylinder 2.0-liter engine that would prove a useful starting point for the new Formula 1 regulations, to be adopted from 1954. First tested in the summer of 1951, the Tipo 500�s new engine produced 165bhp and was installed in a tubular steel ladder frame featuring independent front and De Dion rear suspension, around which was wrapped a scaled down version of the 4.5-liter car�s body. Maximum output was increased to 180bhp for the 1952 season and the 500 F2 would turn out to be the class of the field, Alberto Ascari securing six Grand Prix victories on his way to the World Championship, Ferrari�s first. It was much the same story in 1953, Ascari securing back-to-back Championships for the Maranello team. Although the Tipo 500 F2 did not win its last race, the Italian Grand Prix at Monza in 1953, victory going to Juan Manuel Fangio�s Maserati, it retired having won 30 out of 33 races, making it just about the most successful Ferrari single-seater of all time.
Campaigned by some of the world�s greatest drivers � Ascari, Villoresi, Taruffi, Farina and Hawthorn - the works Tipo 500 F2s are now worth a king�s ransom and thus ownership is restricted to only a handful of the most wealthy Ferraristi. Those wishing to experience the thrills of Tipo 500 ownership without the associated expense have no other recourse but to resort to a replica, such as that offered here. We are advised that the body and chassis of this car were constructed in New Zealand by one M. Paton. The replica is fitted with a 2.0-liter Alfa Romeo engine of similar power output to the Ferrari unit (approximately 170bhp) while the suspension is described as a close copy of the original�s and the car is said to handle in the same manner. The car was purchased in 1994 by Jim Short and first ran at Whenuapai in 1995 and at the Domain hill climb in 1997. Previously part of the Jan McLaren Museum Collection, it was purchased by the vendor from Jan McLaren/Jim Short.
Collectors' Motorcars and Automobilia|
Bonhams & Butterfields, Quail Lodge Resort & Golf Club, Carmel, California
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