The Lancia D50 was a revolutionary Formula 1 car first introduced in 1954, it was a design far ahead of its time and when it was running on form, it was almost unbeatable. It was designed by Vittorio Jano for Lancia in 1954 and it incorporated a series of unusual and highly effective features – the engine was mounted off-centre to allow the driveshaft to pass to the left side of the driver – this helped lower the height of the vehicle and improve centre of gravity.
The engine is also utilised as a stressed chassis member to reduce weight, this fastidious attention to weight and balance was carried forward into the fuel cell design – the side pods on the left and right side of the vehicle contain the fuel which assists with weight distribution and aerodynamics.
Although the Lancia D50 was advanced it suffered from reliability problems and encountered more than its fair share of bad luck. After Lancia was sold off to investors in 1955 (one of whom was Ferrari), a modified version of the D50 was raced by Scuderia Ferrari in 1956 and 1957, this derivative car was called the Ferrari 801 and it was piloted by Juan Manuel Fangio amongst others.
Over the course of its life at Lancia and Ferrari the D50 (and 801) would take 5 wins, 8 pole positions and set 5 fastest laps. It’s thought that only 2 still remain, both owned by Italian museums and still occasionally used at vintage motoring events in Europe.
If you’d like to download the above image of the D50 you can click the button below, I’ve also added an old showreel of Juan Manuel Fangio driving the Ferrari 801 around Monaco – which comes highly recommended.
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