18th December 2009
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
On 18th December 2009, the restored car used by Ferrari to compete in the 1953 Indianapolis 500 Miles was shown to the press. The restoration was the work of Ferrari Classiche, the Maranello department that provides owners of historic Prancing Horse cars with a maintenance service, as well as spare parts and certificates of authenticity and the wherewithal to faithfully rebuild a car with such a special place in Ferrari’s history.
In the Fifties, the Indianapolis 500 Miles was part of the Formula 1 World Championship Calendar, but it was largely ignored by the European manufacturers. However, in 1952, the Scuderia decided to take part and built five 375 F1 cars, although only three were entered. They featured significant modifications to chassis, suspension and engine and were known as 375 Indy. Despite the modifications, the cars were not up to the task: Alberto Ascari was 19th in qualifying, but in the race he had to retire on lap 40 with a broken right rear hub and was classified 31st.
The 375 Indy was left to customers of Luigi Chinetti’s NART organisation, while in Maranello, thought was given to a specific project for the following year. In fact, the prototype was called the Monoposto Corsa Indianapolis, with the chassis number 0388, but it never took part in the race and was sold to Chinetti in early 1954, who made it available to his customers.
Across the Pond, the car’s racing history was not particularly noteworthy: in 1958, Chinetti entered it in the Monza 500 Miles, where it was driven by the American Harry Schell and, before running on the Monza oval, it was modified in the factory. Then, in 1960, after further modifications carried out by Carrozzeria Fantuzzi, it was given a trial run at the Modena circuit, with Cliff Allison at the wheel, thus brining its racing activity to an end.
The Monoposto Corsa Indianapolis was discovered in the USA by an American collector who decided to rebuild it, entrusting the task to Ferrari Classiche. Prior to the restoration, a thorough historic assessment was carried out to ascertain the originality of the various components, checking its conformity with the technical drawings in the Maranello archives and evaluating the state of deterioration so as to plan the repair and reconstruction work.