Monterey 2024

1954 Ferrari 500 Mondial Spider by Pinin Farina

United States | Monterey, California



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Chassis No.
0408 MD
Engine No.
0408 MD (See text)
Gearbox No.
10 MD
US Title
  • Driven for the Scuderia Ferrari in the 1954 Mille Miglia
  • Extensive early competition history in Sweden
  • One of 13 first-series Pinin Farina spiders built
  • Formerly owned by renowned enthusiast Bruce McCaw
  • An eight-time veteran of the modern Mille Miglia and regular Monterey Historics entrant
  • Accompanied separately by its original numbers-matching, Patrick Ottis-rebuilt engine
  • A 500 Mondial of rich provenance and an ideal mount for important rallies


During Formula Two competition in 1950, Enzo Ferrari was startled to notice that the four-cylinder cars from other marques were nipping at the heels of his V-12-powered steeds. Ferrari assigned Aurelio Lampredi to develop a four-cylinder motor. By late 1951 Lampredi’s new naturally aspirated 2-liter inline-four-cylinder engine was being tested in monoposto form, with very promising results. Featuring dry-sump lubrication, the new Tipo 500 engine was ignited by dual sparkplugs powered by twin magnetos and fed by two twin-choke Weber carburetors, combining to develop an impressive 170 horsepower—an improvement of 15 horsepower over the outgoing Tipo 166.

Under new FIA rules, Scuderia Ferrari driver Alberto Ascari secured consecutive championships in 1952 and 1953, solidifying Maranello’s newfound dominance in motorsport. The success of the Lampredi inline-four spurred the factory to experiment with various chassis and displacement combinations, and in early 1954 Maranello offered customers a 2-liter version, the 500 Mondial, with each cylinder displacing almost 500 cubic centimeters. Thirteen spiders and two berlinettas were completed by Pinin Farina over a run of first-series cars before Scaglietti assumed coachwork production.


Completed in March 1954, chassis number 0408 MD enjoyed a promising beginning to its life. According to the research of Marcel Massini, its first race, two months later, was for the Scuderia Ferrari in the most famed contest of the period, the Mille Miglia. Driven by Paolo Pineschi and Mirko Landini, it finished 74th. Soon thereafter it was sold via Swedish importer Tore Bjurström to Valdemar Stener, and in Stener’s ownership would begin a highly successful life of competition in the Nordic countries that continued through the 1955 season. Driven by its obviously talented owner, it achieved 2nd overall at Ljungsdalbacken, 5th overall and 2nd in class at Hedemora, and the Swedish speed record in the 1,500-2000cc class at Varpenloppet.

Second owner Björn Mårtensson traded in his 250 MM on the car in October 1955, and continued to race it, finishing 1st in class in the Hindas Ice Race the following March, then continuing to compete into 1957. A shunt at the Karlskoga Kanonloppet in August led to the discontinuation of the car’s racing career, and it was sold later that year to future Swedish ice-racing champion, Olof “Mas-Olle” Persson, who soon passed it to Lars Edin of Uppsala. Edin apparently had the car repaired, as he drove it to 9th overall and 4th in class at the Karlskoga Kanonloppet race in August 1958, the same event that had ended less auspiciously the year before.

At the end of 1958, the car was rebodied in the Scaglietti style in fiberglass by Ockelbo Verkstad and finished in bright yellow with a black stripe. In this form Edin continued to race, finishing 7th overall and 7th in class at the Sports 2000 race at the Västkustloppet in July 1959, the 11th overall and 6th overall at the Karlskoga Kanonloppet in August.

As the car fell out of its racing use, it exchanged hands several times through further short-term Swedish owners into the mid-1960s. In 1973 it was purchased in Denmark by an American, Gary D. Schmidt, who drove it on the modern Mille Miglia of 1977, and in both 1977 and 1978 in the Oldtimer Grand Prix at the Nürburgring. Schmidt then sold the car in 1980 to Stefano Arborini of Italy, who drove it in numerous events, including in the Mille Miglia in 1982, 1984, and 1986. Later in 1986 it passed to Adrien De Ghellinck of Brussels, who continued to run it in the famed Italian road rally in 1987 and 1988—as did its next owners, Alessandro and Carlo Tonolli of Milan, in 1989 and 1991. Altogether the car ran in the modern Mille Miglia eight times, proving that it still had its rallying bona fides.

Following the 1991 Mille Miglia, the Tonollis elected to have the car properly restored, in the hands of the best in the business for such work: Bachelli & Villa of Bastaglia, Modena, one of the most noted restoration facilities for vintage Ferraris, then and now. In Bachelli & Villa’s skilled hands the car was at long last precisely returned to its original Pinin Farina Spider configuration, that in which it had first contested the Mille back in 1954, with the bodywork painstakingly recreated to the original design and methods of construction.

With the restoration completed, the car was brought to the United States in 1997 as part of the renowned and important sports car collection of Bruce McCaw, in whose care it was seen at the Monterey Historics in 2004. Perhaps tempted by the idea, the current California owner, longtime enthusiast and passionate vintage racer Jeff Abramson, purchased the car from Bruce McCaw the following year, and continued to enjoy driving it in West Coast events, including for several years at the Monterey Historics and its successor, the Rolex Monterey Motorsport Reunion.

Set up to compete, the car is offered equipped with a Hall & Hall 3-liter engine, built in 2019, and mated to the numbers-matching four-speed manual transaxle, fitted with custom-made gears; the present de Dion rear axle is also a reproduction, and the car is fitted with a reproduction riveted aluminum fuel tank. The original, numbers-matching 2.0-liter Lampredi engine, rebuilt by noted Ferrari guru Patrick Ottis, as well as the previous de Dion rear axle, both accompany the car loose, as does the previous fuel tank, extra Borrani wire wheels, a removable roll bar, and other spares; factory build sheet copies; and even an owner’s manual.

Cherished by enthusiasts today for its historical significance, gorgeous aesthetics, and spirited performance, the 500 Mondial is a highly desirable collectible that is eligible for major vintage events, justifying its position at the center of notable collections worldwide. Chassis number 0408 MD is a fine example, with thrilling history in competition that extends well into the modern era.