Lancia was a late-comer to Formula 1 racing after World War II, but it had the genius of engineer Vitorrio Jano as its secret weapon. He had created the successful Alfa Romeo 8C pre-war.
So in late 1954 Lancia’s beautiful and unusual D50 joined the F1 circuit for the last race of the season, the Spanish Grand Prix where 2-time world driving champ Alberto Ascari put it on the pole with the fastest time.
While setting a fast pace with a record lap, it wasn’t reliable and lasted only 9 laps. But what had captured the racing public’s interest and other designers’ attention was its design with two outrigged pannier gas tanks, its off-center engine mount and low seating position to better distribute weight.
Now CMC nails the design in 1/18 scale with another hand-built metal die-cast model consisting of 1,598 parts, and no, I didn’t count them all.
Gianni Lancia wanted to be a part of the F1 racing world so had Vano design the radical D50. Unfortunately it basically bankrupted his car manufacturing company by mid-1955 and he handed over the team to Enzo Ferrari.
Prior to that, Ascari had already won two non-championship Grand Prix races before dying in a Ferrari practice crash under unusual circumstances.
Ultimately the D50 won 5 of the 14 Grand Prix it was entered in and sat on the pole 8 times. When Ferrari took control of the D50s for the full 1956 season Juan Manuel Fangio won the F1 title in the racer, now dubbed the D50A with a Lancia-Ferrari V8. By 1957 the car was still being raced, but no longer was the cream of the crop. Maserati had gained the upper hand.
The D50’s beauty immediately garnered fans’ attention. But its design of containing the large fuel tanks within the wheelbase made it a better handling car (other racers had tanks behind the driver making them tail-heavy) and contributed to its success. It also canted the powerful V8 engine 11 degrees to allow the driveshaft to run off-center so the driver could sit lower in the cockpit. This too was beneficial in balancing its weight.
There’s no way to properly describe the detail in CMC’s beautiful red model. This being the first of three D50s it will release, it is devoid of any race markings or numbers, making it all the more visually stunning.
As with other CMC cars, this has a detachable and lockable hood, hinged windscreen, metal exhaust pipes, and incredible wire-wheels with stainless steel spokes, nipples and an allow wheel rim. These are held on with central-locking nuts with right- and left-hand threads. Talk about detail!
Yet there’s so much more. For instance, the radiator is hand-made of stainless steel with metal supports and all the fuel, oil and coolant doors on the tanks and body are hinged and easily opened.
Under that hood is a fully detailed engine and the fuel, oil and cooling systems are realistically replicated. This is something you’d expect to see in a museum!
The Lancia’s backend also can be taken off after removing 11 tiny screws and that allows you to see the fully detailed rear suspension with its De-Dion tube, transverse leaf spring, longitudinal arms and inboard dampers, all are metal.
Inside the cockpit is a black leather seat and leather headrest, you can see the car’s framework, shifter levers, and a dash with full instrumentation including glass-faced gauges. The wood-look steering wheel has a metal three-spoke hub.
Finally, the treaded rubber tires are appropriately labeled Pirelli and the clear windscreen is hinged. Plus there are two small rearview mirrors on either side of the cockpit.
Two Lancia D50s with Monaco 1955 race markings are coming soon too. The Ascari No. 26 racer has sold out in pre-sale, but 1,500 of the Eugenio Castellotti car, No. 30, also will be made are available. Personally I love these clean unmarked cars that highlight the racers’ beauty.
Vital Stats: 1954-55 Lancia D50
Stock No.: M-175