miércoles, 6 de enero de 2010


The machine that became a FERRARI..., the "car" that was a CARTRIX must have; by so many reasons. A friend of mine told me, -can you write an article not saying how beautiful is your new car-, I think so..., pictures talks. The LANCIA FERRARI D50 from CARTRIX is what you can see. The text shared is extracted from originals: "Autocar", "Motorsport", "FERRARISSIMA" and the "Autocourse". For my friend Bruce Thomas, I owed you an answer..., I still.

Without doubt, the D50 Lancia was potentially one of the most successful GP cars of its era, and the most likely challenger in 1954 and 1955 to Mercedes superiority. When Ferrari took the cars he entered them as his own, carefully ignoring their ancestry, and modified them so extensively that they bore little external similarity to the cars raced at Barcelona in 1954. During 1956, with Fangio in the team, and mainly as a result of the argentinien's superb driving, they won four GP's. The following year they were but a shadow of their former selves, and did not win a single GP. They were down on power at most events, difficult to handle, and slower than bot the newer Vanwall and the Maserati 250F, an earlier design. The development of the D50 by Ferrari was a classic example of retrogression. For 1958 they were replaced by the Dino V6 model, also designed by Jano.


It was Vincenzo Lancia, a glowing, hulking mountain of a man who once roared, between sea-draining swigs of champagne, "To win a race you must first stay on the road!" Never daunted and full of cheer, he tested all inferences of this remark, wreaking his ebullient spirit on the then-new F.I.A.T. racing cars -awnvful monsters of machines to ordinary men but pitiful toys in the vast palms of Vincenzo. This facile mind had been at work for FIAT during the decade before 1921 and developed the P2 machine with which Alfa won the '24 French Grand Prix. It streaked on to design the classic yet radical Type B "P3" Alfa-Romeo of 1932 and the other Alfas of that time on which Nuvolari worked some of his greatest wonders. In 1938 Jano joined Lancia, and after the War he presented the company with the imperturbable Aurelia model.


As finally settled, the Jano-Lancia Postwar Plan was very similar to that adopted by Mercedes. A year or two of Sport Car racing just to get the feel of things and build up a cohesive Scuderia, and then the Grand Prix effort, but only when really ready. First manifestation of this came on March of 1953 when the Le Mans entry list was seen to include three 2.9 liter Lancias. Just like the 300SL the year before and the SLR two years later, the new machines were first revealed for the Mille Miglia.


Le Mans, Targa Florio..., and Lancia always brighting, Lancia now had an impressive racing organization that was rolling fast and didn't make the same mistake twice. Over Jano´s head was the threat of Mercedes, too, for Jano knew that Uhlenhaut held a strong lead in facilities and that most valuable commodity, time. The new Lancia would have to be light, simple and compact to a degree never approached before. They would have to build close to a dozen of them. And they would have to be handled by the best racing drivers in Italy.


There was cloudless sun but it was sweater-cool over the concrete of a private ring near Turin. It was early January, and mechanics who had not been told that it was now 1954 stood with weary, flickering smiles as Alberto Ascari aproached, loosely swinging his eggshell blue crash hat. Looking on, young Lancia knew he had his team. Soon - they did not know when - he and Jano would know if they had a race car in the squat, dark machine that waited muttering on the concrete.


The portable gas-operated hot air blower was switched off and wheeled away from the tail, where it had been warming the rear-mounted oil tank with the engine whirring at a steady 2000 rpm. Then a brief shutoff while sixteen cold plugs were twisted into the V-8, followed by a restart with the portable motor and shaft which plugs into the left rear and mates with a driveshaft extension. Now aboard, with only head and collar showing in the compact cockpit, Ascari booted the D50 Lancia down the access road, its deep exhaust note coughing and sputtering in the low starting gear. Clicking in the synchronized second Alberto laid on it hard and all eight came in with a racketing blare that was to become very familiar in the next four years. With the blue hat and red car dwindling down the runway, work had just begun.


Jano had outdone himself with the D50, which was a fine strung violin of a car and as such needed lots of tuning. Its literal heart was and still is a 90 degree V8 of 2,5 liiters capacity to suit the current Formula I. The derivation from the Sports-Racing Lancia is very clear in such matters, as the chain drive to the cams...


Earlydrawings show very special Weber carburetors with throttle bodies angled just right to mate with the Lancia intake ports. The D50's made their debut with the four twin-throat Type 40 PII Solexes fed by a seemingly small fuel line network down the center of the group....


When he started to make marks on this paper, Jano wanted lightness, yet he wanted roadholding of an entirely new order. Each tire was to do as much work as possible -requiring careful studies of cornering and acceleration conditions which affect selection of roll centers weight transfer and distribution, etc. To make a tough job just a little easier the bulk of the fuel was stored in the famous pontoons slung between the wheels, with strut supports and with a third header tank behind the driver's skull. This of course kept front/rear weight distribution roughly the same whether the tanks were full or empty.


These things done..., Ascari, carried the team to wins at Turin and Naples and led most of the way at Pau. At Monaco, though, he couldn't catch Fangio and Moss in the short-chassis Mercedes and went flying off course into the bay in the attempt! On the following wednesday Ascari was up and practicing for the Monza 1000 kilometers race. As he hurted over a back straight in a Monza Ferrari borrowed from his friend Castellotti, a workman ambled out into the road. In trying to avoid him Ascari overturned the car and was killed.


This was what Gianni Lancia's apponents needed. The Lancia family had 49 percent of the company stock, and Gianni only a part of that. Lancia was not prospering so the racing activities were ruled out by a majority of the directors. While feelers were extended to seek out possible purchasers for the equipment, Castellotti took one car to Belgium as a private entry; he also took Vittorio Jano, a squad of mechanics and a spare car. After setting , fastest lap in practice the D50 ran a controlled third spot until it spun and stalled on a patch of oil.


About a month later, after checking with British and American firms, Lancia turned every shred of the racing department (except the sports cars) over to Enzo Ferrari. Jano went along with the deal, so development of the snarling V8's could continue as planned. The cars turned up at Monza in September, but had to be scratched. Tire temperatures were running half again as high as on the Super Squalo Ferraris, which was too much for the Englebert casings to which Ferrari was bound by contract. They later tried Dunlops in practice at Oulton Park in. England, returning to Monza for winter testing.


The 1956 season and Fangio's World Championship are recent history, telling of the success of the Lancia Ferrari D50 as modified by Ferrari's crew. The refurbishments advanced in two stages: for Argentina and for Syracuse, and similar stages apply for 1957 too. Let's look at the refinement of that furry V8 first, and then see how the cars were made driveable by ordinary mortals.


Early power figures quoted for the V8 ranged between 230 and 260 bhp, a reasonable figure being 250 horses: Lancia had experimented a lot with direct fuel Injection but were discouraged by a tendency for fuel droplets to find their way down the walls into the oil supply. Solexes were the answer. They also tried two bore/stroke combinations: 76 by 68.5 mm and 73.6 by 73.1 mm, finally settling on the latter. First set at 8100, the rev limit crept up to 8400 and Hawthorn took it to 8900 at the end of '55...., to be continued...


And the race... ¿What about the race with Fangio's back after he made history with his W196 Mercedes-Benz in 1954?. On the first evening the complete Vanwall team were out and Ferrari had five Lancia/ Ferraris in the paddock, while there was no sign as yet of any Maseratis. As the B.R.M. team had not entered Hawthorn was loaned to the Vanwall team, and with Trintignant due to drive the new Bugatti 251 his place was taken by Colin Chapman, making his first serious entry in Grand Prix racing; the third Vanwall was naturally in the hands of Schell. The advances that have been made in Grand Prix cars since the beginning of the current Formula was shown when Schell got the Vanwall round in 2 min. 29.5 sec, a speed of 199.908 k.p.h., and almost immediately afterwards Hawthorn did 2 min. 29.0 sec, which gave him 200.579 k.p.h. There was no question of doubt that the Vanwalls were really motoring, and during the evening both drivers improved on their times.


The five Lancia/Ferraris in the paddock, one was fitted with an all-enveloping nose-piece and mudguards over the rear wheels which attached to the main body structure and formed a completely enclosed rear end. However, this car was not used during the first practice period, and Collins was trying three of the normal cars, one of which had the front anti-roll bar uncoupled, but which proved to be horrible on the fast bend after the pits. When it was beginning to look as though the Vanwall team had got the better of Ferraris, Collins went out again and suddenly produced a 2 min. 27.6 sec. lap and then his pit signalled him to use all he had got and, by letting t h e V8 engine go t o 8,900 r.p.m., he turned a lap in 2 min. 25.6 sec, at the incredible speed of 205.263 k.p.h. (127 m.p.h.).


As expected, Fangio went straight off into a hot pace, starting with 2 min. 26 sec, and finishing with 2 min. 25.2 sec. Nobody else approached this time, Collins being content with a few relatively slow laps in 2 min. 30 sec, while the Maserati team were very unhappy, Moss and Behra being unable to get below 2 min. 34.4 sec, the factory Maserati being slow, having the wrong ratios in the gearbox and erratic brakes. Schell was doing his beat, and improved on his previous time with a lap in 2 min. 26.1 sec, and then Fangio went out again, and a time of 2 min. 24.8 sec showed that he was now trying. As he went past the pits at nearly 160 m.p.h. everyone listened for him to lift his foot off the accelerator as he approached the long right-hand curve; the scream of the eight megaphones remained constant until it died away in the distance, and everyone, drivers included, paid tribute to the World Champion.


The third and last practice period saw the Ferrari team taking things comparatively quietly, merely checking t h a t gear ratios and tyre sizes were right, and taking readings on tyre wear and fuel consumption. As a half-hearted experiment (or leg-pull) all five cars were fitted with extensions to the radiator cowling that were exact copies of the Vanwall nose. Maserati were out in full force, with an air of desperation about them, having two injection cars, the Spa model with high cockpit sides and last y ear's all-embracing streamlined car, this one also being fitted with Dunlop disc brakes especially for Moss. In addition there were three normal factory cars and the private ones of Godia and Villoresi, while not far away were the two blue ones of Rosier and Simon.


Lancia/Ferrari was fastest each day, and each time with a different driver, Collins, Fangio and Castellotti thus reserving the front row of the starting grid. Saturday was a complete day of rest for the drivers, while the mechanics had plenty of time to prepare the cars for the actual race, and Sunday afternoon saw the track dry, but the sky overcast, as the cars were lined up on the grid for the start.


...As the three Maranello cars started their 40th lap they were given the slow signal, for all danger had now passed, but next time round there was consternation for Fangio drew into his pit. A fuel line had split and in no time mechanics were making a repair with rubber tubing and wire, but before he could rejoin the race Behra had gone by and Castellotti and Collins were approaching from Thillois. Yet again a certain victory for Fangio was taken from his grasp, for he could not hope to make up nearly a whole lap. Barring any further untoward incidents the race was now run, and it just remained to be seen which of the leading pair was going to settle into the lead. Castellotti led until the end of lap 46, then Collins led for two laps, then Castellotti once more, and on lap 50 Collins went back into the lead, where he stayed until the total of 61 laps had been completed. The Ferrari pit was not telling its drivers how many more laps they had to complete.


However, Collins had some friends in other pits keeping him informed so that he made sure he was in the lead at the right time and was thus able to tour home the winner. Behra was running very regularly in third place, 70 seconds behind the leaders, but in fourth place Fangio was piling on all he had in an attempt to catch Behra.


Some laps behind the leaders was Schell, whose Vanwall was gradually burning out its valves due to the weak mixture and getting slower and slower, being overtaken first by Rosier and then by Godia, while right at the back came the three Gordinis, in the order Silva Ramos, Manzon and Pilette. Having no hope of catching anyone, or being caught, Moss made a brief stop for more oil, as most of the tankful was in the cockpit, and in complete command of the race the two Lancia/ Ferraris of Collins and Castellotti were flagged home. Behra arrived in third place, but only five seconds behind thundered Fangio, never relaxing for a moment and his 61st and last lap was a new record, in 2 min. 25.8 sec, another example of his tenacity and fight against ill-fortune, just as he had demonstrated at Monte Carlo. Of the 19 starters, only four finished on the same lap, the other seven finishers being laps behind.


To be continued...


5 comentarios:

Waskalas dijo...

Buen artículo compañero, y además en inglés, ya no te podrán decir que llamas a los coches en femenino jejeje. Me ha encantado. La historia del coche y de la carrera muy completita, aunque ya estoy esperando la segunda parte del artículo.

Las fotos, como siempre, de 10.

Daniel Diedrich dijo...


Dear Luis:
I was really taken your post in English...!
The next chapter could be an interactive and intensive english course like "Follow me" or "How you will learn English in two post".

Best Regards
Clutch (Embrague)

( Bueno que eso..., que con este post no puedo evitar reirme de la que se ha montado en el "foro bueno" con los acentos, la ortografía y demás "causus belli" en relación a la revista en la que escribes... (no sin razón de fondo, la verdad sea dicha). Creo que cambiando de idioma sería una manera muy clara de reconducir la discusión ... más que nada por vacilar JAJAJA ;-DDDDDDD )

El texto muy bien contado, sobre todo la paliza de recopilarlo. Tu amigo Bruce tiene un buen amigo contigo y nosotros también. Por cierto ya "ato" la muerte de Ascari, con el coche y con Ferrari. Gracias.
Espero impaciente la segunda parte.

Abrazos y felices Reyes (Three Wise Men) a todos.


Joan-er-cunyao dijo...

Wenas!!! Desgraciadamente mi inglés es muy de "ballecas" (con cariño eh ajejaie ) y me he enterado a "medias" siempre y cuando mi traducción, que es muy liberal sea la correcta. Así que al artículo te pondré buena nota, cuando lo "entienda todo" ya la mejoraremos aiejaijeiajeij aije iaje Pero de las fotos, el idioma es indiferente, son una auténtica delicia para vista y más las últimas en BYN..... im-precionantes!
Adeu y gassssssss

Guilllem dijo...

Saludos a todos,
el articulo como siempre sera muy bueno y digo supongo porque mi ingles es basico.Ya puestos y por pedir, algun dia un articulo sobre esa tecnica fotografica, esos dioramas y muñequitos fantasticos de tus recreaciones y...quien sabe escrito en catalan....

Jorge Luis dijo...

I've found this article as interesting as ever, full of nice photographs, as this racer deserves, but I don't see why it is written in English.

Anyway, this is another piece of History in 1/32 scale, with a whole story behind. (You got it, didn't you?)

Finally, I do agree with "Clutch" (embrague): Let's learn some English, folks! LOL (wich means Laugh out loud, just in case you didn't know)

Best regards


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