Ferrari Classiche presents the Corsa Indianapolis single-seater’s complete restoration
Source: Ferrari

Maranello, 18 December 2009 – Ferrari Classiche, the specialist division set up in Maranello to provide owners of historic Prancing Horse cars with restoration, maintenance, supply of parts and issues Certificates of authenticity, has recently completed the restoration of the Corsa Indianapolis single-seater (chassis 0388), a one-off built in 1953.

The project’s specific nature is based on several elements, in particular the restoration activities and the historical research by the Ferrari Classiche department’s technicians and thanks to documents from the Ferrari archives, which confirmed that the Monoposto Corsa Indianapolis – the original name in the original Certificate – was developed as a prototype at the 1953 500 Miles of Indianapolis. In the end the car didn’t participate in this race, but was used in several other competitions in the 1950s.

Hereafter a complete analysis of the history, the research and the restoration of the Corsa Indianapolis (chassis 0388).


The Monoposto Corsa Indianapolis project starts in the year 1953 with the idea of participating in the 500 Miles of Indianapolis, which eventually wasn’t completed, probably due to the numerous projects at the Scuderia department and the various competitions connected. On 21 January 1954 the car was sold to Luigi Chinetti, then Ferrari importer for North America. The following month the car was shown at the New York Motor Sports Show. The Daytona Speed Week GP, in February 1955, was the car’s first official appearance in a race, where it was driven by Bob Said. The year 1956 was the busiest year for the Monoposto Corsa Indianapolis: in May Giuseppe Farina used the car for a test in Indianapolis, on 15 July it was driven by Carroll Shelby at the SCCA Mount Washington hillclimb and on 22 July at the SCCA Golden Jubilee hillclimb in Indianapolis. In the year 1958 the car returned to the factory for modifications for the Monza/Indianapolis race, with Harry Schell behind the wheel. After the competition the car returned to Maranello for repairs and further modifications, for a new coachwork in Formula 1 style in 1960 bodied by Carrozzeria Fantuzzi. In the same year the car was tested by Cliff Allison on the Modena race track. The Monoposto Corsa Indianapolis concluded its motorsport activities and changed the owner several times.


The historic research for such a particular project started with the identification of the assembly sheet 250/I (Indianapolis). The tubular chassis with extra tubular bracing (with no existing designs) was made by the chassis supplier Gilco.

Naturally it is important to underline the existence of a specific list of components dating from March 1953, entitled “250 Indianapolis”, encompassing components that were specifically designed and identified as “250”. These included clutch, suspensions, hubs, braking system, fuel tank, oil radiator and tank (the car also had a double Houdaille shock absorbers rather than the usual single absorber).

In that context, the design in February 1953 of the Tipo “250 I” engine had an identical bore and stroke (68 mm) yielding an overall displacement of 2963.45 cc. The engine was initially equipped with a single-stage supercharger, then with two superchargers and twin Weber carburettors (various types were tested: twin Weber 40 IF4Cs, 46 DCFs and 42 DCFs).

Probably because of the many different racing projects dealt with by the Racing Division at the time, the development of this design didn’t go according to schedule and it was only bench-tested at the end of September 1953. A few days before the other test, a 375 engine was tested, while this was subsequently fitted when the car was delivered to Chinetti.


The restoration of such a highly unusual car involved followed Ferrari Classiche’s usual methods for restoration work carried out at the factory, while the running gear was stripped down and verified in correspondence to the original design and state of deterioration, to determine whether the parts could be re-used.

The car’s correspondence to the original design and eventual modifications made by the factory over time were verified through the analysis of the assembly sheet, analysis of the list of components (all of the components, divided by group, required to complete the car). In the following a verification of the components installed and correspondences of the same to the original design was carried out, followed by a verification of the components’ treatments (engine, gearbox, differential, suspension, brakes, transmission assembly, timing gear, ignition, lubrication, cooling system and exhaust system) to ensure that the same were rendered compliant with the initial specifications.


Ferrari Classiche provides owners of historic Prancing Horse cars with restoration, maintenance and supply of parts, thanks to a process that involves researching the cars’ original designs which are held in the company’s own technical-historical archive and issues Certificates of authenticity to road-going Ferraris of 20 years old as well as to all competition cars (such as the Monoposto Corsa Indianapolis), including Formula 1 single-seaters, regardless of the year they were built. The Company’s body, responsible for evaluating the cases presented, is the CO.CER (Comitato di Certificazione), chaired by Engineer Piero Ferrari. The certification document officially attests to the cars’ authenticity and also provides a further guarantee for buyers should the vehicles ever be sold. Introduced in 2009, the Attestation for vehicles of historic interest is now available to Ferrari cars that, although they do not fully comply with the strict Ferrari authenticity certification criteria, have been deemed, as a result of their competition and/or international recognized show history, to be of historic interest. Based in the original old factory building, Ferrari Classiche opened its doors in July 2006 and has since become a major player in the protection of the unique Ferrari heritage. In fact, it has already issued around 1,200 certifications of authenticity and has completely restored a total of over 30 cars at its workshop.