Classic Ferrari powered world record holding speedboat sells for $1.1 million at auction
A 600-horsepower 1953 Ferrari-powered speedboat sold for $1.1 million Saturday at an auction in Monaco.
The Timossi-Ferrari Arno XI Racing Hydroplane set a world speed record for its class in 1953, going 150 miles per hour. The boat was sold by the classic car auction firm RM Auctions.
The engine used in this boat was the same type that had been used in Ferrari’s Grand Prix race cars, including a car that won the first World Championship Grand Prix in 1951.
For this boat, the engine was modified to run on methanol, which allowed for much higher compression and more power. Twin superchargers were also added, all of which raised its horsepower to 600 from the original 385.
The ‘three-point’ hydroplane, devised in America during the late 1930s by Adolph and Arno Apel of New Jersey’s Ventnor Boat Works, truly revolutionised speedboat design. Elegantly simple, the Apel design divided the ‘step’ portion of the hull into two pontoon-like surfaces, or sponsons, with each on opposite sides of the boat.
The boat’s propeller acted as the ‘third point’ in the equation. The tunnel between the sponsons trapped air to generate aerodynamic lift, with only the sponsons and propeller in direct contact with the water whilst the boat was at speed.
Italy’s premier speedboat racer Achille Castoldi, a cousin of M.C. 72 designer Mario Castoldi, made his record attempt at Lake Iseo on the morning of 15 October 1953, with Alberto Ascari and Luigi Villoresi in attendance, clearly demonstrating Ferrari’s support of the project.
Now, Castoldi finally achieved his objective, with ‘Arno XI’, by breaking the speed record in the 800 kg class with a two-way average speed in the flying kilometre of 241.708 km/h (150.19 mph). Later that day, Castoldi followed up with a new record in the 24 nautical mile event by achieving an average speed of 164.70 km/h (102.34 mph).