In the 1950s, the Ferrari brand was the absolute dominant in the world of automotive competition. He had won Formula 1 three times, two with Alberto Ascari (1952 and 1953) and one with Juan Manuel Fangio (1956); plus the first victory in 1954 of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, by José Froilán González. It was in this golden age that the search for new challenges led the company to something unthinkable: developing a racing boat.
This is how the Ferrari Arno XI emerged, a historic competition boat, since it was the only one equipped with an engine from the Italian brand. Its performance was such that to this day it holds the record for speed over water in its category, which dates back to 1953, with the impressive number of 242.19 km / h.
The Ferrari Arno XI arose from the head of Achille Castoldi, an Italian engineer who in the 1940s had achieved motorcycling titles and who had been longing for several years to build a boat that would break all speed marks. In 1951 he focused all his work on the world speed record competition, for which he needed an engine supplier; until Ferrari arrived.
The boat was built in solid wood with a mahogany veneer cladding, obviously painted in the typical Ferrari red color. Regarding the engine, Castoldi asked Ferrari for a Formula 1 specification V12.
On it they worked to almost double the compression ratio to handle the methanol. A hotter spark was needed, so the distributors and coils were replaced by twin magnets. Each cylinder had two spark plugs to ensure clean combustion. As it was not enough, two giant crankshaft driven superchargers were used. Each had its own Weber 4-Barell modified to pour methamphetamine into the engine with an air / fuel ratio of 5: 1. What started with 385 horses climbed to a range of between 550 and 600 hp.
Finally, in 1953 the Ferrari Arno XI was tested in Lake Iseo (Italy), where it managed to break the speed record on water, with some 242 kilometers per hour in two passes and with an average speed of 164.70 km / h in 24 nautical miles.