This is the engine bay of the Lancia D25 with its rarely seen 3750cc four cam 60-degree V6. This D25 will be assigned to Juan Manuel Fangio and Eugenio Castellotti for the Tourist Trophy at the Dundrod circuit in Northern Ireland on September 11, 1954. Lancia had brought four cars to the “TT,” a pair of D25s – the second being given to Albert Ascari and Luigi Villoresi – and another pair of the older D24s with their smaller 3.2 liter V6 motors.
As it happened, Fangio was out after just a few laps with a terminal oil leak. Ascari and Villoresi continued until quite late in the race at which point their D25 lost its propeller shaft between the engine and the rear-mounted transaxle. Ascari is seen here at the left during the race accelerating away from the Lindsay Hairpin.
With the D25s hors de combat the top Lancia drivers switched mounts, as was not unusual in those days. Fangio joined up with Piero Taruffi in the n. 3 D24 which went on to finish second some two minutes behind the winning Ferrari 750 Monza driven by Mike Hawthorn and Maurice Trintignant. Castellotti took over the other D24 with Robert Manzon to finish third.
Hawthorn’s win underlined his abilities as these early editions of the 750 Monza had rather unpredictable handling, evidenced by Froilán González’s big accident in practice. This problem was still present in 1955 when Olivier Gendebien would likewise be surprised by the instability of his 750 Monza which got away from him in practice.
The difficulties of the new Lancia D25s was indicative of the onrushing financial problems at Lancia, which also affected the development of its innovative D50 grand prix car. All came to an end for the Lancia racing effort in the early summer of 1955, after which the grand prix cars were turned over to Ferrari which would use them in various iterations in 1956 and 1957.
Photos by Louis Klemantaski ©The Klemantaski Collection – http://www.klemcoll.com
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