Sold for $1,540,000 at 2009 Pebble Beach Auction : Gooding & Company.Sold for $3,520,000 at 2013 RM Auctions - Monterey.
Chassis #: 0418MD
Engine #: 0506MD
Though the company is known for their front-engine V-12 road cars, they also produced several models of four-cylinder sports/racers during the 1950s. Manufacturers such as HWM and Cooper were having success with their lightweight four-cylinder engines in Formula Two races on circuits where twists and turns more abundant than long straightaways. Their four-cylinder engines developed peak torque at a much lower RPM band than the 12-cylinder cars, enabling them to maximize their potential in a far shorter distance. Ferrari's high-revving V-12 cars were only developing a fraction of their power when the next set of turns required braking.
With the four-cylinder race cars beginning to challenge Ferrari's V-12, Enzo Ferrari assigned Aurelio Lampredi to develop a four-cylinder motor, which eventually debuted during the 1951 bari Grand Prix as a 2.5-liter unit developing 200 horsepower.
With Formula One racing essentially being cancelled during the 1952 and 1953 season because Alfa Romeo withdrew from competition, Ferrari found itself in a unique and well prepared position to tackle Formula Two. Formula Two events became the basis of the Driver's Championship during those two years, and the Lampredi engine was poised to be a dominate competitor. Scuderia driver Alberto Ascari had little trouble in securing consecutive championships in the four-cylinder F2 monoposto, bringing Ferrari the title in 1952 and 1953.
Experimentation with sports/racing chassis soon followed, and various combinations involving all three iterations of the new engine, which had been developed in 2-liter, 2.5-liter, and 3-liter forms, were eventually attempted. The four-cylinder sports/racer was finally offered by Ferrari in early 1954 to customers as a two-liter model, with each cylinder displacing almost 500 cubic-centimeters. Thus, the car was dubbed the 500 Mondial, in recognition to Ascari's back-to-back World Championships.
18 spiders and two berlinettas were built, starting with chassis 0404MD, over a run of first series cars. Most of these cars were given bodies by Pinin Farina. These were followed by a second series of 10 Scaglietti-bodied cars with slightly more powerful engines. This means there were just 30 examples of the 500 Mondial constructed before the introduction of the three-liter 750 Monza. Unlike the prototype four-cylinder sports car that placed 2nd at the 12 Hours of Casablanca in late 1953, which had a standard frontally located gearbox, the customer cars featured a rear-mounted transaxle that further optimized weight distribution and handling. Chassis 0418MD
This example is just the sixth 500 Mondial constructed and was completed on April 8th of 1954. It is one of four Mondials entered by the factory at the XXI Mille Miglia on May 1st. It is believed that the car was driven by either Sterzi and Rossi or Pineschi and Landini, suggesting that the car may have finished as high as 15th overall and 5th in class.
The car was imported to Caracas, Venezuela in mid-1955 and purchased by Gustavo Garcia. It was quickly resold to Ramon Lopez, a driver with the Equipo Madunina. The car was also driven in competition for the Venezuelan scuderia by Guido Lollobrigida, the cousin of Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida. Driven by Mr. Lopez, the Mondial placed 10th overall at the 1955 Grand Prix of Venezuela and 2nd overall at Maracay in August of 1956. It sported a new livery of white paint with a dark tri-color stripe when it raced at the Venezuelan Grand Prix in November of 1956. A year later, it finished 14th overall at the 1957 event.
The car was later painted military green for a sponsorship by the Venezuelan Ministry of Defense. It returned to white for its entry in the La Trinidad contest of March 1958, where it took 1st in class and was driven by Mr. Lollobrigida.
In the early 1960s, the car would pass through two more South American owners before being imported to the United States in 1964. It was raced in the Midwest by Fox Valley Sports Car Club of Wisconsin before it was purchased a year later by Ken Hutchinson, of Tower Lake, Illinois.
By 1970, the car was powered by a Chevy V-8 engine and was in the ownership of E. Fox, of Florida. A 500 Mondial engine from 0506MD was later installed into the car. The second-series 500 Mondial motor had larger carburetors and 10 extra horsepower.
A few years later, the car was acquired by David Uihlein, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 1948, it was advertised by Joe Marchetti's International Autos Limited in Chicago through an edition of Cavallino magazine. It was purchased by William Jacobs, of Joliet, Illinois, who campaigned it at the 1984 Mille Miglia and retained possession until 1987, when the car was sold to Paul Tavilla, of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Under Mr. Tavilla's care, 0418MD underwent a complete cosmetic and mechanical restoration, after which it was entered in the Mille Miglia Storica from 1987 through 1989. In February of 1992, the car took part in the inaugural Cavallino Classic Concours d'Elegance in Palm Beach, where it took First Place in the four-cylinder class. On June 11, 1993, it earned a Second in Class at the 29th Annual FCA National Concours at Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. It was shown for a second time by Mr. Tavilla at the 1995 edition of the Cavallino Classic. It was then purchased that December by Dennis Machul, of Oak Brook, Illinois. A full restoration was soon commissioned and the body was refinished in Rosso paint and a new, period-correct interior was fitted. A revised hood with the addition of a 375 MM-styled hood scoop was also added at the time. The original hood is still included with the car.
The restoration was completed in early 1997 and it made its restoration debut at the Meadow Brook Concours d'Elegance in Rochester, Michigan. This was followed with vintage racing in the Ferrari North America Challenge Rally in Colorado in June 1999 and the XI Colorado Grand in September. It earned a Platinum Award at the 2000 Cavallino Classic.
It placed 6th overall in the race for drum-brake cars at the Ferrari-Maserati Historic Challenge at Road America in August 2000, then was campaigned at the Colorado Grand in 2001. Mr. Machul exhibited this Spider at least twice more during his ownership, including at the 2005 Cavallino Classic. In March 2005, the car was purchased by Oscar Davis, of Elizabethtown, New Jersey, who presented the car at Cavallino in 2006 and participated in the Mille Miglia in 2007.
Mr. Tilley purchased the car in 2009. It won the ICON Award for Most Sporting Classic at the Rodeo Drive Concours d'Elegance in June 2010 and appearing at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in August 2012.
The car has two-side draft Weber 40DCOA/3 carburetors that are numbered 106 and 102, respectively. It is believed that the steering box is also original to the car, suggesting that the car has never had any front-end damage. There are modern cooling fans, a current electronic ignition, and full belly pans. The dash features five Veglia gauges which all work properly and there is no cracking or damage. The car rides on four correct Borrani wire wheels which are fitted with period-looking Dunlop Racing tires. The wire wheels are painted grey, and they are all equipped with correct chrome center-locking Borrani knock-offs.By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2014