1954 Ferrari 500/735 Mondial Spider by Pinin Farina
- Seldom shown since its days in competition
- Known history with single ownership for nearly two decades
- Campaigned successfully in California in the 1950s
- Believed to be fitted with a 735 2.9-liter, four-cylinder engine
Completed by the factory in October of 1954, chassis number 0448 MD was born as a 500 Mondial, the 12th of a total of 13 Pinin Farina Spiders built, placing it in the first series of cars. It was sold new to Anthony “Tony” Parravano of Inglewood, California. However, before leaving the factory, the car is believed to have been fitted with a 735 engine, for reasons that are presently unknown. Both the stampings on the engine and chassis frame match, but are of a non-typical font. This engine would, however, have been a welcome upgrade to 0448 MD. Thanks to its larger cubic capacity by almost a liter, it would add roughly 75 horsepower to the car’s overall output, making for an instantly discernable jump in performance.
Parravano quickly made himself known as an entrant of numerous exotic Italian sports cars in Californian racing circles, and in the events where his 735 Mondial was raced, it consistently proved to be at the front of the pack. In February 1955, at Willow Springs, it placed 4th Overall and 1st in Class with Bob Drake at the wheel. In March of 1956, at the same venue, 0448 MD was driven to a 3rd place finish by Pat O’Connor.
The car was listed for sale in Motoracing magazine by Tony Parravano in April of 1957, but it appears to have not been sold by him, nor was it actively raced, over the course of the next three years. Parravano eventually sold the car to a friend, Javier Valesquez in Mexico City, in the spring of 1960. Curiously, around April of 1960, Parravano was in trouble with the IRS and disappeared on 8 April of that year, never to be heard from again. Some cars still remained in his custody, and were later sold by the U.S. government.
Valesquez was the director and organizer of the Mexican Grand Prix, and upon purchasing the car, it is noted that he removed its rollbar, yet the holes for the bodywork were not patched in and remained as-is. Valesquez retained ownership of 0448 MD for the following 12 years, eventually selling it to noted Ferrari collector Robert N. Dusek of Solebury in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. At this time, the car was missing its aluminum passenger seat cover, and Dusek sourced one from Charles Betz in California. Dusek would go on to own the car for more than two decades, selling the car in 1999 through a broker who in turn traded it to its current custodian.
Offered publically for the first time in 18 years, the car has been seldom seen since leaving the race track in the late 1950s, making it hugely eligible for historic racing and concours events following a restoration. Chassis number 0448 MD, a fascinating example of a rare four-cylinder Ferrari, offers much greater performance over the much more prevalent 500 Mondial, and would certainly be a much-in-demand machine wherever it goes.
Please note that the title is in transit.