1955 Ferrari 121 LM

The Ferrari 121 LM was powered by a Lampredi designed, six-cylinder engine. The engine had been created by utilizing the successful four-cylinder engine and adding two-cylinder to the 2-liter four. The result was called the 306 and was used during the close of the 1954 season. The '306' was really just a developmental version of what would come in the years that followed. The results of testing and experimentation were the Type 118 and Type 121. The Type 118 was a 3.7-liter engine and fitted into what became known as the 376 S. The Type 121 was a larger 4.4-liter unit, officially known as the 446 S, and it too powered Ferraris constructed by Scaglietti. The names of the 376 S and the 446 S were later changed to the 118 LM and the 121 LM. There were three versions of both constructed. One of the 118 LM was later modified to the 121 LM specifications.

A single 118 LM was entered by the factory into the Buenos Aires 1000 km race and was joined by several privateers. The was the first major race for the 118 LM and expectations were high. Sadly, the car was disqualified and unable to finish the race. It had taken a wrong route into the pits and as a result it was forced to end the race prematurely. Two privateers were able to finished in the top two positions for Ferrari.

The next major race was the Mille Miglia where Ferrari fielded one 118 LM and three 121 LMs. The Ferraris were met with strong competition from other prominent marques such as Mercedes-Benz and their 300 SLRs. To make things worse for the Ferrari team, a Mercedes-Benz was driven by Stirling Moss. From the start, the 300 SLR took an early lead. This would be short lived, as the powerful Ferraris soon overtook the underpowered Moss. The lead would not last for Ferrari, as the tires were unable to keep pace. The rubber was not adequate for the large, six-cylinder engines, and by the close of the race, all of the 121 LMs had crashed. The 118 LM managed to stay in competition and finsihed the race in a respectable third place. Stirling Moss went on to capture the checkered flag.

The Ferrari team set their sites on the 24 Hours of LeMans. During practice, Eugenio Castellotti drove his 121 LM the fastest in the field and earned an excellent position on the grid. The 121 LM's were poised to take the checkered flag as long as they could remain in the race. During a 24 hour race, a lot can happen. Sadly, this was one of the most devastating races in history as a SLR went out of control and flew into a grandstand killing 80 spectators and causing injury to many more. The driver was also killed. The race was allowed to continue which gave authorities easier access to and from the track. A Jaguar D-Type went on to win the race. Mercedes-Benz withdrew from the race and from motorsports. A Ferrari 121 LM was in third position before it was forced to retire. Ferrari ended the season just one point away from winning the World Championship.

At the close of the season, Ferrari sold their six-cylinder works cars and began preparations for the 12-cylinder unit.


by Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2007

Vehicle Profiles

1955 Ferrari 121 LM vehicle information

Designer: Scaglietti

Chassis Num: 0546 LM

The four-cylinder engine designed by Aurelio Lampredi and Enzo Ferrari was proved quite successful in the early 1950s and later evolved into a straight-six, starting with the Type 114. This eventually led to the 121 LM. With its 4412cc displacement s....[continue reading]

1955 Ferrari 121 LM vehicle information

Chassis Num: 0532 LM

The Ferrari 121 LM displayed carries chassis number 0532 LM. It was a works car that was entered into the LeMans and Mille Miglia race. It set a fastest lap time at LeMans. At the close of the season it was sold to a privateer from the United State....[continue reading]

Chassis #: 0546 LM 
Chassis #: 0532 LM 

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