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Peter Giddings Racing

 

1954 Lancia D50A(r) #0007

A “tool room” continuation with current FIA technical passport, and other national log books.

The sole surviving original Lancia D50A has not been run in years, and may not be ever again.

All other D50As were eventually dismantled by Ferrari, who (luckily for us) retained the engines, transaxles, and other parts.

Specifically reconstructed for Tom Wheatcroft (Donnington Museum) who placed the first order, D50A(r) #0007 contains other original components over and above the matching engine/ transaxle.

Lord Anthony Bamford, and Bernie Ecclestone, were also Lancia D50A(r) purchasers.

Miles Collier (The REVS Institute) now owns and regularly campaigns a D50A(r), and describes his ownership as “a privilege”.

D050A(r)s are raced, and have been made welcome at events all over the world, including Nurburgring, Silverstone, Goodwood, Laguna Seca, and Lime Rock.

These extraordinary cars were built / reassembled in Italy by original Lancia staff.

This small series (i.e. there can be no more) subsequently won the prestigious “Restoration Of The Year” award.

This D50A(r) (the first ever V8 Grand Prix car) engine and transaxle is based on #0007.

Whilst research continues, #0007 race results from 1954 to 1956 include Fangio 1st place Syracuse, April 15, 1956; Fangio/ Collins 2nd place at Monaco May 13, 1956; Paul Frere 2nd place Spa-Francorchamps June 3, 1956; and de Portago/ Collins 2nd place at Silverstone July 14, 1956.

One very special car, with unique state-of-the-art groundbreaking features designed by the great Vittorio Jano and his team.

The only Grand Prix car to successfully contest the Mercedes-Benz W196.

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HISTORY OF THE LANCIA D50A 1954 - 1956

After the Second World War, Lancia wanted to build a competitive racing car for Formula One. Lancia recruited Vittorio Jano, of Alfa Romeo and Ferrari fame, to aid in the creation of a new car for the Lancia marque. Zaccone Mina states that: Jano was the leader of the team, but no one person was responsible for the overall design of the car, with its engine as part of the chassis and at an angle in the chassis and with the fuel tanks between the wheels. These things all came from discussions within the team and with Gianni Lancia making the final decisions.

When most designers were using engines in straight (inline) configuration, Jano chose to use the 'V' configuration due to its compact design. The resulting V8 engine was placed in the D50 and made its Grand Prix racing debut in 1954 at the Spanish Grand Prix. This was Lancia's first attempt at contesting a Grand Prix race and they were doing it with a totally new car and concept. However, the D50 proved to be more than capable, with Alberto Ascari driving it to pole position.

The Lancia D50 was very advanced technologically, with a very compact engine design, excellent weight distribution, and superior handling. Many of the F1 cars of the day were designed to slide through the corners. The D50 with its low center of gravity, short wheelbase and ideal weight distribution, did not slide through the corners; however, if the D50 did lose adhesion, it usually went into a spin rather than sliding. The compact V8 engine was able to be placed directly between the wheels. It was shorter than the typical Formula One engines of the time, such as the straight six and straight eight engines. The engine design allowed it to be used as part of the spaceframe chassis, providing structural rigidity as a stressed member, a significant advance in racing car design. The engine was offset at an angle of 8 degrees with the driveshaft running to the left of the driver to a five speed transaxle in the rear, allowing a lower seating position for the driver. By having the engine in the front and the gearbox in the rear, weight was evenly distributed. The driver was positioned in-between these two components and there was little room left for the fuel tanks. In keeping with the weight-distribution concept, the fuel tanks were placed in large panniers alongside the vehicle, flanking the driver on either side, with the oil tank housed in the tail. In traditional designs, the fuel tanks were located behind the rear axle, but in the D50's design weight distribution did not change as fuel was used during the race. The large panniers that held the fuel also improved the vehicle's airflow as they were positioned between the two tires on each side.

The front suspension consisted of a tubular double wishbone setup with a thin transverse leaf spring and with the upper wishbone operating an inboard telescopic damper. The rear suspension was a DeDion axle with a transverse leaf spring. The total ensemble weighed a mere 1350 pounds and had a top speed of over 185 mph. The DOHC eight-cylinder engine had a capacity of 2489 cc with bore and stroke of 73.6 mm by 73.1 mm and produced an impressive 260 horsepower with the help of four Solex carburetors.

Ascari was signed as driver and tested the D50 as early as January 1954. In the Spanish GP, the last race of 1954, Ascari and Villoresi were entered in D50s. Ascari put his car on the pole, a full second ahead of Fangio's Mercedes. However, Ascari and Villoresi both retired with mechanical problems. In 1955, Ascari and Villoresi were joined by Eugenio Castellotti. Ascari won at Turin and Naples with Villoresi and Casetllotti finishing well. Then came the Monaco Grand Prix. Ascari started on the front row between the Mercedes W196s of Fangio and Moss with a time equal to Fangio. Ascari eventually took the lead position when he overshot the chicane and crashed, sending himself and the car into the harbor. He had gained the lead, but it had resulted in a premature retirement from the race. Ascari survived; but later, he was testing a Ferrari sports car at Monza and crashed on the Curva di Vialone, a high-speed corner on the course. The accident claimed his life, bringing to a sad close the life of the two-time World Champion.

Lancia was in financial difficulty with their production cars which were built by hand and produced in small numbers at great expense. Lancia's prospects in the Formula One had gone bleak and the costs of the Formula One effort had brought Lancia towards the brink of bankruptcy. Lancia withdrew from racing in mid-1955 and offered to sell their racing cars and equipment. Prince Filippo Caracciolo was president of the Italian Automobile Club and the father-in-law of Gianni Agnelli of Fiat. Prince Carracciolo intervened in the Lancia sale in order to keep the D50 racing cars and advanced technology in Italy. Ferrari was perennially short of money and had been fairly unsuccessful in 1954-55 with the Ferrari 553 Squalo and 555 Supersqualo Grand Prix cars. So the Italian Automobile Club arranged a deal whereby Ferrari received Lancia's D50 racing cars and spares and Fiat provided an annual contribution to Ferrari of fifty million lira for five years. The influx of cash and technologically-advanced racing cars essentially saved Ferrari.

Ferrari ran the D50 unchanged for the remainder of 1955. Ferrari made minor changes to the D50 for 1956 and with Ferrari badges on the nose it became the Lancia-Ferrari. With the withdrawal of Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari was able use the Lancia-Ferrari to win the 1956 World Championship and another driver's championship for Juan Manuel Fangio. The Lancia-Ferrari D50s won the Grands Prix of Argentina, Belgium, Britain, and Germany; and finished second to Stirling Moss at Monaco and Italy.

The reader is recommended to search You Tube under "Fangio Monaco Lancia D50" for some amazing footage of him driving D50 #0007.

The D50s continued on in 1957, but in 1958, due to rule changes Ferrari chose to campaign the Ferrari Dino 246.

The Lancia-Ferrari D50As were eventually dismantled by Ferrari, who retained the engines, transaxles, and other parts which were subsequently used to construct the continuations.

SPECIFICATIONS:

Engine
Configuration 90º V8
Location Front, longitudinally mounted
Construction light alloy block and head
Displacement 2,490 cc / 151.9 cu in
Bore / Stroke 76.0 mm (3 in) / 68.5 mm (2.7 in)
Compression 11.9:1
Valvetrain 2 valves / cylinder, DOHC
Fuel feed 4 Solex 40 PII Carburettors
Aspiration Naturally Aspirated
Power 260 bhp @ 8,500 rpm

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Drivetrain and Chassis
Chassis aluminium body on tubular chassis
Front suspension double wishbones, transverse lower leaf spring, telescopic inboard dampers connected to wheels by rocker arms
Rear suspension DeDion axle, transverse upper leaf spring, telescopic dampers
Steering worm-and-sector
Brakes drums, all-round
Gearbox 5 speed manual transaxle
Drive Rear wheel drive
Wheelbase 89.8 inches
Track f/r 50.9 in / 52.4 in
Weight 1,350 lbs

D50A Drawing

D50A Front

D50A Engine

D50A View

Engine OffsetD50A Top View

Cutaway of D50A

A cutaway drawing showing many of the advanced features of the Lancia D50A.

Spa 1955

The Lancia is half-airborne as Castellotti flings it up the hill out of Eau Rouge. He was the sensation of practice, putting the D50 on pole position at a circuit he had never seen before (Spa 1955).

At Mt. Tremblant 2016

Peter at speed, Mt. Tremblant, July 2016. Photo by David Ferguson for Sports Car Digest.

Mt. Tremblant July 2016

Peter in the D50A at Mt. Tremblant, July 2016. Photo by David Ferguson for Sports Car Digest.

D50A drawing

Lancia-Ferrari D50. Artwork by John Ballantyne.

Greenwich Concours

Lancia D50 at Greenwich Concours, June 2017.

Thunderhill Cyclone

Peter crests the hill (Turn 5E, the Cyclone) at Thunderhill. November 2017. Photo by Mike Sims.

Thunderhill 2017

Peter at speed at Thunderhill, November 2017. Photo by Peter Darnall.