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1964: Ferrari 158 and the italian rebellion

by

Antonio Eiras

Ferrari started the 1964 season with a final evolution of the 156 model, and ended it with the new car, the 158, painted in the white and blue colors of the North American flag, and registered by the NART (North American Racing Team), Luigi Chinetti's semi-official team.

 

The 158 model, designed by Mauro Forghieri, had a hybrid, semi-monocoque chassis, in which a multitubular steel structure was riveted by double aluminum panels, in an attempt by the Italian team to follow the new technology introduced, two years before and successfully, by Lotus.

 

The suspensions used, at the front, a upper rocker arm, a reversed lower wishbone and the classic co-axial coil springs/dampers placed inside the bodywork and, at the rear, an upper arm, a reversed lower wishbone and two longitudinal radius arms, complemented by co-axial coil springs/dampers. The brakes were disc and the tyres supplied by Dunlop.

 

The engine was a 900V8, 1.500cc, placed in the rear central position, which delivered about 210bhp at 11,000rpm. Power was transmitted to the rear wheels by a Ferrari 5-speed gearbox plus reverse.

 

The 158 was driven by Briton John Surtees, former World Champion of Motorcycling, and by Italians Lorenzo Bandini and Nino Vaccarella. In the 20 races in which he was entered, he won two, the German and Italian GPs, in 64, driven by Surtees.

 

With Lotus struggling with the youth problems of the new 33 model, the fight for the Championships was limited and John Surtees got superior to his fellow countryman Graham Hill, in BRM, in a dispute that lasted until the last race, in Mexico.

 

As a manifestation of displeasure towards ACI (Automobile Club d’Italia), for the refusal to homologate the 250LM in the GT category, Ferrari participated in the last two races of the championship, held in North America, with its cars registered by NART and painted with the colors of this team, white and blue.

 

In an atypical season, Ferrari won the Constructors 'Championship and John Surtees the Drivers' one, having been, until today, the only driver to become World Champion in two- and four-wheel vehicles.

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