Forgotten Legends Ferrari “Breadvan”

  • 05 November 2022
  • 3 min read
  • 5 images
Forgotten Legends Ferrari “Breadvan” image

The famous biography of Enzo Ferrari, written by Luca dal Monte, has a title that perfectly sums up the spirit of the man from Maranello: Ferrari REX. He was always king, a dominating king who, at certain times in his life, led to choices as strong as they were unexpected. In 1961, to be sure to behead those in the company who tried to reduce their power, he fired his entire group of the first level. Among these personalities such as Giotto Bizzarrini and Carlo Chiti who were at the top of the technical direction. Things on the track, as in sales, were going so well that they won the Formula 1 World Title and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. But this did not bother him.

1-Ferrari-250-GT-modified-by-Drogo-2048x1360Scuderia Serenissima's weapon for the 1962 24 Hours of Le Mans: the Ferrari 250 GT modified by Drogo that proved to be faster than the 250 GTO but fragile retiring after 4 hours of racing

Among other things, the highly anticipated GTO for Gran Turismo races was completed in Maranello and many orders had already arrived, including that of Count Volpi di Misurata, Venetian creator of the Scuderia Serenissima who also used Ferrari cars in international races.

But Volpi, by the firm will of the "REX" Ferrari will never receive the two GTO ordered. The Count, in fact, had agreed to be part of the consortium that had founded the ATS - Automobili Turismo e Sport - created to give Carlo Chiti and Giotto Bizzarrini the opportunity to challenge Ferrari on the tracks and roads. 

2-250-GT-Passo-Corto-Competizione-DrogoThe stylistic/aerodynamic approach of the 250 GT Passo Corto Competizione Drogo is truly revolutionary. For the time, the generous cutting of the tail was much more than an innovation

The project soon failed and Volpi had the second disappointment: that of having to give up the GTO he intended to field at Le Mans. In order not to give up, he decided to challenge Ferrari himself: starting from a short wheelbase 250, the  one baptized by the British SWB,  he turned  to the engineer Bizzarrini, asking him to create a car capable of beating the GTOs, the car that Bizzarrini himself had developed when he was in Maranello. 

3-Ferrari-BreadvanFrom this view you can immediately understand why it has been nicknamed "Breadvan". Important to note that regulatory constraints required an adequate rear view found with the wide rear window

The 3-litre V12 engine was moved further back and lowered thanks to dry sump lubrication. The aim was to ensure better weight distribution, to the benefit of handling. But the solution that has made this car go down in history is the shape of the body created by Piero Drogo's Sports Car from Modena, which applied for the first time on a car the aerodynamic theories of the German  engineer Wunibald Kamm. The result was a car even lower than the 250 GTO and characterized by a high and truncated tail that made it look like a van. Hence  the immediate nickname of Breadvan (at Le Mans the French called it, "La Camionnette”).

4-red-ferrari-breadvanFrom this angle, although deeply modified in the mechanics, the Breadvan has a good Ferrari family feeling. And not just for red

On the circuit de la Sarthe the car immediately proved to be very fast, overtaking theFerrari 250 GTO on the straight by 7 kilometers per hour. When - after only 4 hours of racing - he had to retire due to a problem with the transmission shaft, the Breadvan was ahead of the GTO of Maranello and in seventh position overall. As a unique specimen, still equipped with a four-speed gearbox compared to the 5 of the GTO, however, it could not repeat.  Today it is back to compete in the series dedicated to classic cars where it is a great attraction. Unfortunately, at Le Mans Classic 2022, he  suffered a violent impactso he will stay away from the tracks for some time. 

5-Austrian-collector-ferrari-breadvanAlways in action: the Breadvan, today owned by an Austrian collector, is often active in the race. This year even too much, given the violent crash sufferedat the Le Mans Classic