Tuesday, 25 June 2024
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The Sebring 860 Monza



In 1956, the scuderia used varied types of cars for the Sports Car Worldchampionship races.

They entered  V-12, 4.9L  410S at Buenos Ayres, 4 cyl 3.5L 857S at Buenos Ayres and Sebring, 4 cyl 3.5L 860 Monza at Sebring, the Mille Miglia, the Nurburgring and the Swedish GP, , V-12 3.5L 290MM at the Mille Miglia, the Nurburgring and the Swedish GP and 4 cyl 3L 625LM at Le Mans

Two 860 Monza and a 857S raced at Sebring.  The 860 had a 4 cyl, 3.5L engine Tipo 129,  built on the Lampredi ideas. The chassis Tipo 520, it had in common with the 290MM, was derived from the Tipo 510 of the 750 Monza and 857S. It featured a de Dion rear transaxle (four-speed gearbox in unit with the differential), double wishbone independent front suspension and included a tubular chassis structure. The engine had a lot of torque and when the car was available, Juan Manuel Fangio  preferred the 860 to the 290MM..

The 860 Monza collected half the points the scuderia needed to win the championship.

Very interesting passage about the cars at Sebring from the book “Kings of the Road” by the great automotive writer, Ken Purdy :

"Years ago I was looking at three cars in the Ferrari pits at Sebring. It had rained in the afternoon and the Florida sun, dropping to the rim of the great plain, shone red in the black pools of water on the circuit. There were only a few cars running in practice, howling separately in the distance, out of sight most of the time. The blood-red Ferrari cars would go a few laps as soon as the mechanics were finished with them. These were stark, open two-seaters. Their paint was flat and crude. The bucket seats were upholstered in wide-wale corduroy. Everything else in the cars except the wood steering wheels was roughly finished. Heavy welding seams joined the thin tubes of the frames. Shiny streaks here and there showed where oil had been mopped up. A man next to me turned, remembering the old pilots' gag: "You wouldn't send the kid up in THAT!" he said. A small, dark, red-eyed mechanic got into one of the cars. An ignition key looped in a piece of sisal wrapping twine stuck out of the dashboard. He leaned on it with the heel of his hand and a bare-metal clanging and clattering began. You wanted to move away before the thing exploded. It fired suddenly, all of a piece, and pumped out a gout of blue smoke that drifted low over the wet grass of the infield. The mechanic sat there with his foot in it for five minutes.

There was somebody in each of the other cars, and they were running, too. Juan Manuel Fangio materialized, pear-shaped in a rain jacket. He looked sleepy, he looked bored, he looked indifferent, until one noticed the incessant flickering of his eyes. The mechanic yelled somethin into his ear. Fangio let him see a sad smile, he shrugged massively. He got into the automobile, stared briefly at the instruments and then he went away and the other two, Eugenio Castellotti and Luigi Musso, howled after him, down the straight and under the bridge and around the corner out of sight. We could hear them through the esses and into the Warehouse road and then not again until they showed up on the back straight, the three of them in echelon astern, the howling of the engines squeezed down by distance to a thin buzz, their progress across the horizon apparently so leisurely that you wondered why this would be called racing. They were running around 140 mph.

They went down through the gears for the hairpin turn, a 180-degree reversal, the rear wheels spinning, or trying to, and then sudenly they were in the hole at the bottom of the finishing straight, drifting up to the edge of the concrete, coming past the pits, Fangio first, sitting there limp as pasta, the Castellotti, then Musso, all of them turning 7000 rpm and then one after another they shifted up a gear, three successive explosive 'whacks' as the engines bit, and they were gone again.

They ran over the five-mile circuit a dozen laps like that, tight together, so stable they seemed locked to the ground like buildings, but flying past light as deer at the same time. Wet with rain, the hurried-on paint glistened like oven-fired enamel as the cars screamed down the shiny concrete chute, the drivers sitting back from the wheels, their arms straight.

These were beautiful objects, perfect of their kind, there was nothing of crudity or starkness about them now. I was hard to believe that any of the other sixty cars that would start the race the next day could run ahead of the red Ferraris, and none of them did."

From: Kings of the Road by Ken Purdy

And indeed did Fangio win the 12H of Sebring with Eugenio Castellotti on 0604M. 0602M completing the good results by finishing second, Harry Schell and Luigi Musso driving.

Our model represents the winning 860 of Juan Manuel Fangio and Eugenio Castellotti as it was at the start of practice as, for the race, the car presented various hurriedly made openings on each sides of the mouth, in front of the cockpit and on the front top of the rear wings to ease cooling down the brakes and the driver. We wanted to preserve the extremely good looking and thoroughbred lines of the car.

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