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625 TF Vignale Spyder
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  Ferrari 625 TF Vignale Spyder
 

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Country of origin:Italy
Produced in:1953
Numbers built:3
Designed by:Vignale
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:May 31, 2007
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Click here to download printer friendly versionAlthough Ferrari dominated the Formula 2 class in 1949 with their 2-litre V12 engine, Enzo Ferrari had his eye on HWM's four cylinder Alta engine. One of the biggest advantages of the 'four' was its superior fuel effency compared to the gas-guzzling V12. Ferrari's new chief engineer Aurelio Lampredi set out to design a four cylinder to replace the Gioacchino Colombo designed V12. When the sports governing body decided that the World Championship would be run under Formula 2 regulations, the development of the 'four' got top priority.

Lampredi jointly developed a 2 and 2.5 litre engine, both sharing many interchangeable parts. Completely constructed of light alloy, the engine featured a double camshaft head. The 2-litre engine made its debut in 1952 in the 500 F2. Alberto Ascari drove it to the World Championship, winning six of the seven championship races. He took another championship a year later. In good Ferrari tradition, the Grand Prix engine was also fitted in a sportscar chassis. After two experimental models built in 1953, the 2.5 litre 625 TF and 3 litre 735 S, two four cylinder 'production' sports cars were released in 1954.

First up was the 3 litre model, which debuted at the Gran Premio Supercortemaggiore at Monza and was aptly called 750 Monza. The Gonzales/Trintignant driven 750 Monza featured a Dino Ferrari designed body and took a debut victory. Late in 1953 a 2-litre prototype was first raced. Fitted in a 250 MM chassis, Alberto Ascari and Luigi Villoresi drove the four cylinder to a class victory. To commemorate Ferrari's back-to-back World Championships, the 2-litre production car was dubbed 500 Mondial.

Both cars were campaigned by the works team and customers. The successes of the four-cylinder single seaters could not be matched, but various class victories were scored. Career highlights for the 500 Mondial was a second place in 1954 Mille Miglia and a class victory in the 1956 12-Hours of Sebring race. After the successful Monza debut, the 750 and subsequent 860 Monza struggled to match the highly competitive rival. A 1-2 victory in the Sebring 12-Hours of 1956 was the Monza's career best.

To keep up with the dominating Maseratis, Ferrari's new chief engineer Vittorio Jano set out to design a new 2-litre racer, but still using the Lampredi four cylinder engine. Dubbed 500 TR, it made a victorious debut at the 1956 Supercortemaggiore. Not much later it was joined by the similar, but larger engined 625 TR. These were the last four cylinder racers produced by Ferrari and for the next generation of small sports cars Ferrari used six and eight cylinder engines.

In the spring of 1953 three chassis were constructed to accept the new 2.5 litre four cylinder engine. All three were bodied by Vignale; the first received a Berlinetta body while the other two were fitted with familiar Spyder coachwork. A fire and possibly an accident ended the life of two of the cars very early in their life and both chassis are unaccounted for. The surviving 625 TF also had a troubled life as it was at one point fitted with a Lincoln engine and not much later needed to be rescued from a Naples (Italy) scrapyard.

In recent years the surviving 625 TF (s/n 0304 TF) has been completely restored and a correct four cylinder Ferrari engine has been found to replace the American V12. The sole survivor is pictured above doing some parade laps between races at the 2006 Monaco Historic Grand Prix. Ferrari collector and former Ferrari F1 manager Jean Sage is behind the wheel.

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  Article Image gallery (7) Specifications