Ferrari News – These Are The Best Race Cars From The ’50s
After the first darkest post-war years, the world seemed to embrace with optimism the future ahed. The automobile world saw the birth of cool flying saucers, sports cars with the wings of a seabird, and race cars barely modified for road homologation.
As the car industry gained the confidence to embrace the future and start moving toward much more demanding performance and design standards, roads started to be crossed by some super cool units. Today they are highly collectible exclusive vehicles for a limited public. Here are our favorite ones.
8 1959 Lotus Elite Series 1 Racer
This 1959 Lotus Elite is a stunning example of a natural-born race car, having been personally owned, restored, and raced by the legendary Bob Akin, who was an American business executive, journalist, television commentator, and champion sports car racing driver.
Until the introduction of the Elite, Colin Chapman’s Lotus was famous for producing race cars. The Elite was a game-changer: it was the first attempt at a dual-purpose car that could be truly roadworthy, as well as competitive in racing. It won six consecutive times at Le Mans and received a warm welcome from gearheads.
7 1957 Chevrolet Corvette
The Corvette is a sports car produced by Chevrolet since 1953. First in its genre and still in production, it has become the American sports car par excellence. Thanks to the philosophy that favored mechanical simplicity over its direct competitors, the result was a light, small, and relatively inexpensive car.
This car was purchased by Rich Mason in 1980 who restored the car for vintage racing. More recently, it underwent another restoration carried out by the driver Dave Dwoskin. Finished in rare Arctic Blue with Silver coves and a Red interior, it’s packed with a Rochester fuel-injected 283 CI engine. The additional “air box” intake system and a 4-speed manual transmission complete the 400 HP setup of this tiny but powerful racing Corvette.
6 1953 Jaguar C-Type Roadster
A true British thoroughbred, the ’53 Jaguar C-Type Roadster is absolutely one-of-a-kind. The hand-made body panels show how this car is the product of such an elaborate and complex design which brought to life a linear, muscled and elegant racing car.
The 4.2-liter 6-cylinder in-line engine is capable of delivering some 280 HP. Triple Weber side-draft carburetors, side exhaust, and a 5-speed manual transmission complete the setup of the car.
5 1952 Kurtis Kraft 4000
This 1952 Kurtis Kraft 4000 is a gorgeous example of the handiwork that made Frank Kurtis become a famous builder of successful Indianapolis 500 racing machines. This very model was driven by Ed Elysian in the 1955 Indianapolis 500.
The engine of the car is a peculiar 4.4-liter 4-cylinder in-line unit, which is mated to a primitive 2-speed racing transmission. No. 68 is finished in white and blue livery with chrome exhaust and grille, and the bright red interior is spartan enough for a tiny racing whip, with just oil pressure and temperature gauges.
4 1954 Maserati A6
Let’s continue our tour of the vintage racing cars’ world and stop in Italy. This stunning unit is a Maserati A6 original GCS Tipo MM, which won RAC International Tourist Trophy in 1955, being ranked 1st in its class. This one also competed in Ferrari/Maserati Challenge races.
What’s really astounding about this racing car is that it still features the original engine, gear-box, and body. Dressed in its best exhibit conditions, the price quotation of this living 4-wheeled page of racing cars’ history is about $1,700,000.
3 1952 Allard J2 Roadster
In the early post-war period the supremacy of European cars, such as Ferrari, Jaguar, or Porsche on American tracks, led the racing world to adopt much lighter bodies which could allow the bulky and cheap V8s to push the cars to explosive performances.
This clean example of the 1952 Allard J2 Roadster — which has been restored to perfection — is one of the results of this game-changing approach. The light body hides a 331 cu in engine which is mated to a 3-speed racing transmission. Also, this car is what inspired Carroll Shelby to build the famous Cobra.
2 1954 Ferrari 750 Monza Spyder Scaglietti
The Ferrari 750 Monza Spyder Scaglietti proves what made the Maranello-based company a futuristic and versatile racing car manufacturer. The engine featured in this car, rather surprisingly, is a 4-cylinder unit and was designed to be competitive in various settings, starting in Formula 1 and ending up with more standard road purposes.
Restored to its most glorious condition, this Ferrari has campaigned for many years at vintage racing events including the Mille Miglia, the Historic Grand Prix of Monaco, and the Ferrari Maserati Historic Challenge. Accustomed to the chicest and exclusive dedicated events, it was formerly part of the Engelbert Stieger, Brandon Wang, Walter Burani, and Roberto Crippa Collections.
1 1955 Porsche 550/1500 Rs Spyder
This is tragically related to James Dean’s life, and most specifically to the accident in which he was involved. The car he was driving was a similar Porsche 550/1500 Rs Spyder, a mid-engine car with an air-cooled four-cylinder engine.
The first 550 raced at the Nürburgring Eiffel Race in May 1953 winning its first race. Later that year the 550 took class wins in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Carrera Panamericana; the Carrera Panamericana win was commemorated with the Carrera branding for later Porsches with performance options. This model is completely original and one of the best examples of ’50s racing cars.
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