This looks like an unhappy situation to say the least. It happened at Monza during practice before the Grand Prix Supercortemaggiore which would take place on June 27, 1954. This was a 1000Km. race on the Monza road circuit for up to 3 liter sports cars, sponsored by the Supercortemaggiore fuel company. The fire was caused by a mechanical failure on this 3 liter Ferrari 750 Sport, which was the immediate predecessor to the 750 Monza of 1955 that used a more modern chassis with a newer version of the famous Lampredi four cylinder motor.
The driver was Giuseppe “Nino” Farina who had the car’s driveshaft between the motor and the rear transaxle break and flail about during which some fuel lines and wiring were torn apart. Farina suffered burns and was in the hospital for about three weeks which was hard to take after his crash in a Ferrari 375 Plus early in the prior month’s Mille Miglia. As can be seen, his car suffered extensive damage from how it looked earlier in the pits at left.
Ferrari had brought two factory cars so this fire and the resulting elimination of both Farina and his car was a significant problem. However, the motor of the Farina car, being up front away from the flames, was essentially undamaged. The burnt out car was trucked back to Maranello and its motor was immediately installed in another car being prepared for a private customer and this car was brought back to Monza for the race and given to Umberto Maglioli and Mike Hawthorn. Such practice was far from unusual at Ferrari in those years. It should not surprise any customer that their “new” car had had some racing history already.
Here is Maglioli jumping into his “bastarda” which was actually a 2 liter Mondial, prepared in red with a white stripe for its Swiss owner to be, but now with a works 3 liter motor just for this race. From the start Maglioli’s co-driver Hawthorn was leading most of the time and together they brought their fast Mondial to the win, followed by the Ferrari 750 Sport of Froilán Gonzáles and Maurice Trintignant, albeit a lap down.
Photos by Corrado Millanta ©The Klemantaski Collection – http://www.klemcll.com
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