Designed by the famous Italian automobile engineer Vittorio Jano in 1954, the Lancia D50 was a stroke of pure genius that put Lancia’s first and only Formula One racer on the map. This pioneering design was one of the first race cars to use the engine as a stressed member of the chassis and featured fuel-filled side pods on both left and right sides of the vehicle for significantly better weight distribution and improved handling. Lancia spared no expense on this compact racer and everything about the D50 breathed quality and innovation. The car quickly captured the attention of racing celebrities around the world and attracted outstanding drivers like Alberto Ascari, Luici Villoresi and Eugenio Castelloti to the team. In fact, it was the only other car feared by the matchless Mercedes-Benz team.
Th D50 was introduced in the final round of the 1954 season. It failed to finish the race, but in the hands of two-time World Champion, Alberto Ascari, the car qualified a full second faster than Juan Manuel Fangio’s Silver Arrow. A new standard had been made.
The 1955 season provided further evidence of the car’s competency, though a series of accidents and mechanical disasters kept it from regular wins. At the Monaco Grand Prix, the race became a battle between the Mercedes-Benz racers of Stirling Moss and Juan Manuel Fangio and the Lancias of Alberto Ascari and Eugenio Castelloti. Both Mercedes-Benz cars withdrew, and as Moss slowed, Ascari shot into the Harbour chicane, and to the horror of spectators flew into the Monaco Harbor and sank. Both the car and driver survived, but a few days later Ascari died in a car crash while testing out a Ferrari. Lancia immediately retired from racing, shocked by the death of one of Formula One’s best-loved champions and the pride of Italy. The revolutionary spirit came to an end for that season. No other Lancia automobile had aroused such an emotional stir in competition and among the public.
AN AMBITIOUS DESIGN
The CMC Lancia D50 Ascari #25, 1955 GP Monaco, and the CMC Lancia D50 1954-1955 gives us a chance to marvel at the engineering and construction on this rare and exciting machine. The precision metal miniature is manually assembled from a mind-boggling 1,598 parts. The car uses real leather, wood, rubber, aluminum and stainless steel which gives it a realistic look. The compact cockpit is equipped with dials and gauges, a wood simulated steering wheel, and a genuine leather upholstered driver’s seat. The engine hood unlocks and detaches to reveal the off-center positioning of the front engine and a beautiful display of pipes and cabling. Almost all of the suspension and steering is made of metal as well as the exhaust pipes and radiator grille. The fuel and oil cooling systems are an exact replica of the original. The detachable wheels are perfect with hand-laced stainless steel spokes and nipples on the alloy rims. It’s simply among the prettiest automobiles we’ve encountered––the sort of car you can lose track of time peering through vents, lifting away the engine hood, and even turning upside down just to soak in the otherworldly craftsmanship and bespoke engineering.