Livorno engineer Aurelio Lampredi is remembered as the “father” of the big Ferrari V 12. The engine was initially designed to have a cylinder capacity of 3322 cc, but with the possibility of being enlarged, and this was the case (up to almost 5 litres). The reasons for this choice lie in the fact that Ferrari debuted in the Formula 1 World Championship on 21 May 1950, at the Monaco Grand prix, where Alberto Ascari, driving a 125 F1, took second place.

However, the difficulties in equalling the performance of the Alfetta 158 in a short space of time were obvious, while the old regulations with the three to one ratio for the cylinder capacity of aspirated and supercharged engines favoured the former. The new engine was tested on a sports car, then first used in F1 on 18 June 1950 at the Spa-Francorchamps Belgian Grand Prix, where Alberto Ascari was fifth behind the three Alfa Romeos and a Talbot. Since the engine was still not powerful enough, Ferrari did not enter its cars in the French GP.

Frame tubular steel
Front suspension independent, unequal-length wishbones, lower transverse leaf spring, Houdaille hydraulic shock absorbers
Rear suspension de Dion, lower transverse leaf spring, twin radius arms, Houdaille hydraulic shock absorbers
Brakes drums
Transmission 4-speed + reverse
Steering worm and sector
Fuel tank capacity 195 litres
Front tyres 5.50 x 16
Rear tyres 7.00 x 16