The D50 F1 car was highly original, designer Vittorio Jano departing as far from convention as his Mercedes contemporaries but looking ahead. The 2489cc 90-degree V-8 was a high-rewing unit, which initially produced some 260bhp. It was used as a stressed member, with the front suspension and bulkhead bolted to it, and mounted at an angle to give an offset propshaft run for a low cockpit. Outrigged panniers betWeen the wheels carried oil (in the front of the left sponson) and fuel, which improved the airflow. A tail main tank was then the norm, and this of course led to changes in handlling as the load was used.
The D50 first appeared at the end of the 1954 season and Ascari took pole for the Spanish GP in its debut. The 1955 race season started well with Ascari winning two secondary Italian races and he was about to take the lead at Monaco when he crashed. His death in a sports car accident a few days later was the catalyst in the Fiat takeover. As Lancia-Ferraris the cars lost their individuality, although they were to win races and give Fangio his fourth World Championship.
Lancia was prominent in GT categories for a while and was to become Fiat's rally arm. As far as single-seaters were concerned, the 1. 5-litre V-4 was developed for Formula Junior, but units tuned by specialists such as Dagrada were never really competitive, and in the 1970s Lancia-based F3 engines appeared. Two D50s survive, one at the Biscaretti museum and one in the company's care, as reminders of what might have been,
Drivers: Alberto Ascari, Eugenio Castellatti, Louis Chiron, Luigi Villoresi.