Art Appreciation: Ferrari 500 Formula 2

Ferrari 500 F2

It’s not just because it’s beautiful. Which it is. It’s not just because of it’s relationship with Ascari. Which it has. For me, part of its allure is because of what it represents as a nod to a time when racing teams wouldn’t let themselves be pushed around.

When the Formula 1 rulebook got too restrictive, constructors embraced Formula 2 as a means to really showcase their engineering prowess. Every few years, this notion pops up again: that Formula 1 is holding constructors back and so begins the threatening and posturing that the series will be abandoned and that constructors will start their own series. Every single time, part of me hopes that they will. This Ferrari 500 proves that racing teams can do just that… and do it brilliantly.

Ferrari 500 F2

Ferrari 500 F2

Topps World on Wheels: Ferrari Formula 2

Ferrari Formula 2 Trading Card

The card box is open. Grab your set of Topps World on Wheels cards and let’s trade.

From the card’s reverse: Enzo Ferrari, once a racing driver himself, decided he wanted a car exactly to his own design. He hired an engineer to translate his ideas into facts, and the famous Ferrari racing car was the result. Ferraris have chalked up an amazing record of wins on almost every track in Europe. In addition to this car, Ferrari also makes the most advanced unsupercharged sports car in the world today.

More cards from the World on Wheels series in the archives.

’68 Lotus Formula 2 available

Lotus 51A Frame

Symbolic Motors in La Jolla, CA is offering this extremely photogenic Lotus 51A. Originally a Formula Ford, this monoposto racer has been uprated to dual overhead cam Cosworth powered Formula 2. There are dozens of wonderful photos of this slippery Lotus in various stages of undress.

Sitting in its bare form, you start to see how deceptively simple these cars really looked. When you see a sixties formula car without the body panels, you get a flash of what it must have been like to set out to join in the fray of Formula racing. What would be the absolute folly today to start building a formula car was once an attainable goal for a small group of dedicated gearheads.

Naturally, this is all radically understating the sophistication that lies within these steel and aluminum chassis members. But that’s the appeal, isn’t it? You can look at these chassis and think to yourself, “I could build that.” I say this not to belittle the tremendous effort that these small racecar manufacturers put into their cars, but to celebrate the spark of creativity, hope, and courage that makes us as laymen think it’s within our reach. This might be the single biggest heartbreak of modern racing, that it’s become so technical that you may as well try to build a space shuttle at home.

So drink in the pure joy of this humble tubular frame. And maybe pick up a welder.

Onboard at Nurburgring 1967