1956 Ferrari 290 MM

1956 Ferrari 290 MM

After losing to Lancia in 1954 and Mercedes-Benz in 1955, Ferrari took victory in the 1956 Mille Miglia very seriously. Though Maserati was the only other manufacturer fielding a team, Ferrari still developed a new racing car, the 290 MM, just for the event. Juan Manuel Fangio was tasked with driving one of the new Ferraris, and the legendary driver delivered a remarkable solo performance that helped Ferrari sweep the top five spots. One of four such model ever built, the 1956 Ferrari 290 MM raced by Fangio to a fourth-place finish will cross the auction stage in New York City on December 10.

Ferrari intended the 290 MM to replace its other racing Barchetta, the 860 Monza, which itself had been developed to counter the dominance of Mercedes-Benz. While the 860 Monza was powered by a 3.4-liter inline-four producing 280 horsepower, the 290 MM received an all-new 3.5-liter V-12, which upped output to 320 horsepower and raised the car’s top speed to 280 Km/h (174 MPH), a gain of 20 Km/h (12.4 MPH).

Like the 860 Monza, the 290 MM was built around a tubular steel chassis; rode on a wheelbase of 2,350 mm; used an independent coil spring front suspension and a live-axle rear with a transverse semi-elliptical spring; shifted through a four-speed manual transmission and carried drum brakes in all four corners. The change in engine added 44 pounds to the 290 MM’s weight, but the new car still tipped the scales at 1,936 pounds.

The weather during the 1956 Mille Miglia was atrocious, and period accounts talk about torrential rain, hail and high winds that plagued the event. Always a dangerous race, the 1956 Mille Miglia resulted in numerous crashes and three driver or co-driver fatalities, despite attempts at improving course safety in the wake of the 1955 Le Mans tragedy.

At various stages of the race the Ferraris were challenged by the factory Maserati of Piero Taruffi and privately entered Mercedes-Benz 300 SLs, including one driven by Wolfgang von Trips, but it was Maranello’s time to shine. Eleven hours, 37 minutes and 10 seconds after departing, Castellotti crossed the finish line to take the win, followed by Collins (with co-driver Louis Klementaski), Musso, Fangio and Gendebien, giving Ferrari a podium sweep plus two.

Digital restyling? Just the wheels it rolls upon. I like Borrani wire wheels as does almost everyone else — but this is just another quick exercise in playing with wheel options that aren’t traditional. (they are 2017 era Ferrari instead)

This is another example of digital restyling and design by ModenaWest