1955 Ferrari 121 LM Spider
Evolving from one of Ferrari’s earliest four-cylinder engines, Ferrari’s straight-six, starting with the Type 114, eventually led to the potent 121 LM. With a rather hefty displacement of 4,412 cc, this provided much more horsepower and torque than its predecessors. Fitted with three side-draft Weber carburetors, the engine produced a hearty 360 bhp. These were not numbers to scoff at, as this engine was over a litre larger in displacement and over one hundred horsepower more than Jaguar’s D-Type!
Needless to say, these new six-cylinder Ferraris were all about speed, and their outright straight-line performance certainly put the likes of Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar on notice. This example’s first outing was at the 1955 Mille Miglia. Starting three minutes (and three entries) behind the iconic duo of Sir Stirling Moss and Dennis Jenkinson, who would race to overall victory in record time just over 10 hours later, 0546 LM was piloted by the respected Italian privateer Paolo Marzotto as a Scuderia Ferrari Works entry. However, the car did not finish the race, as a result of a blown tire at 174 mph during the first stage.
It was also one of the trio of 121 LMs that raced at the 1955 24 Hours of Le Mans, piloted by Maurice Trintignant and Harry Shell. Eugenio Castellotti, driving one of the sister cars, clocked the fastest lap time in practice and achieved a top speed of 181.15 mph on the straights. Despite their immense speed, reliability proved to be an issue and the car was forced to retire in the 10th hour with engine problems.
RM Sotheby's will be offering this car at their upcoming Monterey auction between the 18-19th August. The estimated value is between $6,500,000 – $7,500,000. For more information on this and other vehicles at the sale, click on the link below. Photos: Darin Schnabel ©2017 Courtesy of RM Sotheby's