It was only a short, fast step from sports cars to Formula 1 because the complicated and costly 1,500 cc V12 hadn’t only been designed for sports cars. And so the model unveiled in the very first Ferrari catalogue as the 125 GPC (or the Gran Premi Compressore) actually saw the light in 1948.

However, it required lengthy development and its debut was pushed back to the start of 1949 when Ferrari undertook a blitz at the Temporada Argentina, a series of four races all with large starting prizes. The car was driven by former Alfa Romeo man Nino Farina who won the Gran Premio de Rosario, but then had to pull out of the two Buenos Aires races because of technical problems, and the Mar del Plata GP after being involved in an accident.

The first version was equipped with a simple Roots compressor but in 1949 this was replaced by a two-stage supercharger with twin overhead cams per cylinder bank. The car’s front suspension was almost identical to that of the sports models with independent wheels but it had a De Dion rear axle which also saw the gearbox moved back to improve weight distribution. Nonetheless, the car failed to deliver the expected results and Ferrari soon moved on to a naturally aspirated engine for its F1 car.

Type front, longitudinal 60° V12
Bore/stroke 55 x 52.5 mm
Unitary displacement 124.73 cc
Total displacement 1496.77 cc
Compression ratio 6.5 : 1
Maximum power 169 kW (230 hp) at 7000 rpm
Power per litre 154 hp/l
Maximum torque -
Valve actuation single overhead camshaft per bank, two valves per cylinder
Fuel feed single superchanger, single Weber 40 DO 3C carburettor
Ignition single spark plug per cylinder, two magnetos
Lubrication dry sump
Clutch single-plate
Frame tubular steel
Front suspension independent, unequal-length wishbones, lower transverse leaf spring, Houdaille hydraulic shock absorbers
Rear suspension independent, swing axle half-shafts, radius arms, torsion bars, Houdaille hydraulic shock absorbers
Brakes drums
Transmission 5-speed + reverse
Steering worm and sector
Fuel tank capacity 120 litres
Front tyres 5.50 x 15
Rear tyres 7.00 x 15