Weekend

1952 Ferrari Arno XI Racing Boat

30. August 2019

You may not know it, but Ferrari powered a powerful Hydroplane back in the 1950s. It was built for one thing: breaking the World Speed Record on the water. Achille Castoldi, a racing champion, proposed such a boat to the one and only Enzo Ferrari who agreed to help him in the endeavor

It is the ultimate Ferrari for the ultimate Ferrari collector

DESIGN

Arno XI was built to shatter the speed record in the 800-kg class. Achille Castoldi had been setting records on the water since 1940. To achieve the speed record, he commissioned Cantieri Timossi to build a 3-point hydroplane from hardwood, covered in a mahogany veneer. When Enzo heard he had painted the upper body in Ferrari Red, the Scuderia F1 team was sent to lend their expertise. This culminated in a world record in the flying kilometer: 150.49 mph, which still stands to this day.

POWER

Initially, Castoldi had planned to use a Ferrari engine, so he purchased a 4.5L V12. It was identical to the 385 horsepower “Lampredi” engine used in the Ferrari 375. Once Enzo realized he was going for the record, he sent his Chief Engineer along with a race-prepped Grand Prix engine. Stefano Meazza and a few of the Scuderia team members realized they needed more power. Using lessons learned on the track, they nearly doubled the compression ratio to handle methanol. A hotter spark was needed, so the distributors and coils were replaced by twin magnetos. Each cylinder had twin spark plugs to ensure a clean burn. It wasn’t enough, so two giant superchargers were driven by the crankshaft. Each one had its own Weber 4-Barell modified to dump meth into the engine with an air/fuel ratio of 5:1. What started at 385 horsepower made between 550 and 600 in race tune.

HISTORY

Once he broke the record, Castoldi built another boat for a different class. However, the engine exploded and he retired from racing. The Arno XI was sold to Nando dell’Orto, an engineer who revised the aerodynamics for better stability. After adding a few pounds, he came in 2nd place for the 900 kg class in 1965. It has since been seen occasionally at boat shows doing parade laps, and it led a peaceful retirement. But because it is the only boat to ever have been powered by Scuderia Ferrari, it is being completely restored by Ferrari Classiche.

Now, this Ferrari is for sale and looking for a new owner. It comes with a well-documented history file that includes hundreds of period photographs and handwritten notes from Ferrari’s engineers. The boat is currently being certified at Ferrari Classiche, and a copy of the U.I.M. record certification that attests to Achille Castoldi’s 1953 speed record is included as well. It is the ultimate Ferrari for the ultimate Ferrari collector.

Images: PR

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