Return to the news list 30 Nov 2018 - Sport
Bardahl & Ferrari, a beautiful story!

Bardahl & Ferrari, a beautiful story!

Indianapolis 500 ... where it all began!

Enzo Ferrari had a dream in 1912 when he saw Ralph De Palma win the Indianapolis 500 and made it come true in 1952 when he made Ascari driving in a Ferrari 375 F1.

Unfortunately, major mechanical problems forced him to forfeit ... the hub carriers did not support the turns of the Indy500 under the power of the Ferrari 375.

After this first bitter failure and under Luigi Chinetti’s pressure, Enzo Ferrari agreed to try a second time in 1956. That is when the collaboration between Bardahl and Ferrari was born to ensure the uttermost reliability of the mechanics.

Why Bardahl?

Bardahl had already been known as an expert since 1939 thanks to its patented ultra-lubricating formulas classified as secret defense by the US Army, and was particularly successful during the Second World War as the pilots of the US air force and the Navy could safely land although their aircraft had been hit by enemy bullets.

The ultra-lubrication allowed to avoid the destruction of the engines, in particular Douglas SBD Dauntless’ 30 liters engine that could develop more than 1200hp!

The recipe was simple

  • The best US chassis, a Kurtis Kraft that had already won the 1950, 1951, 1953, 1954 and 1955 editions.
  • An engine from the Ferrari 121 LM of 1955.
  • Borrani wheels replaced by Halibrand wheels (reason why Ascari forfeited in 52).
  • A detonating fuel (50% petrol, 25% benzol and 25% methanol) and a Hilborn injection.
  • An ultra-lubricating Bardahl oil to keep the machine running smoothly... we are talking about 377 hp!

Not enough driving tests…

These chassis were the only ones able to cope with the constraints of the ‘brickgard’. As Maranello's competition department was overwhelmed, the assembling was completed and the first driving tests made at Osca in Bologna.

The balancing of the movable part of the engine was not optimal, it was then impossible to push the engine at a high speed. The vehicle was still experimental and several problems could not be resolved before the qualifications. A too heavy weight and vibrations at high speed ruined any chance of qualification.

Today, the car is part of Luigi Chinetti Junior's collection and occasionally runs for show. Although this vehicle was not yet completely achieved, Bardahl had the merit of being present in the mechanics of Ferrari for one of the most legendary races.


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