World record-winning Ferrari racing boat to go on the auction block this spring


February 21, 2012

The Ferrari ARNO XI hydroplane

The Ferrari ARNO XI hydroplane

Image Gallery (24 images)

Even long-time admirers of Enzo Ferrari's sleek, red roadsters might be surprised to learn that he also lent his expertise to create what is still, nearly 60 years later, the fastest raceboat in its class, the one-of-a-kind ARNO XI hydroplane. Developed in 1952 by wealthy Italian industrialist Achille Castoldi and Ferrari Grand Prix racers Alberto Ascari and Luigi Villoresi, the speedy craft, propelled by a 4500cc V12, handily won the world speed record the following year. Now, carefully restored to its original condition, the ARNO XI will soon go at auction to the highest bidder - an honor that's estimated to cost the buyer a cool US$2 million (or more)!

On October 15, 1953, Castoldi's dream of winning the world record for 800 kg (1,764 lb) -class hydroplanes came true at Lake Iseo, Italy with a top speed of 241.708 km/h (150.2 mph). The Ferrari "Nautico" powerplant that propelled the ARNO XI to its record, almost identical to those used in Type 375 Grand Prix racers, sports twin superchargers, dual Weber 4-barrel carburetors, two spark plugs per cylinder and delivers an amazing 600+ horsepower. Perhaps not so remarkably, the record still stands today.

The Ferrari 375 Nautico V12 engine

When Castoldi retired from hydroplaning the next year, engineer Nando dell'Orto bought the ARNO XI, modified the bow, added a stabilizing fin and raced it successfully for several more years before its career ended in 1960. Over the last 20 years, the current owner has painstakingly restored the classic hydroplane to concours condition in preparation for its sale in Monaco this spring by auctioneers RM Europe.

"This awe-inspiring racing boat has beauty, history, provenance and performance; it simply ticks every box for any serious collector," said RM specialist Peter Wallman. "It has that alluring mix of '50s Ferrari Grand Prix car with the sheer beauty and simplicity of the hydroplanes of the period."

Source: RM Auctions Europe

About the Author
Randolph Jonsson A native San Franciscan, Randolph attended the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland before finding his way to the film business. Eventually, he landed a job at George Lucas' Industrial Light + Magic, where he worked on many top-grossing films in both the camera and computer graphics departments. A proud member of MENSA, he's passionate about technology, optimal health, photography, marine biology, writing, world travel and the occasional, well-crafted gin and tonic! All articles by Randolph Jonsson

I don\'t think there\'s a lot of participation in the 800KG class - everything is in the unlimiteds which have eschewed piston power for turbines - and go like SPIT. . .

Absolutely pretty!


I absolutely think this is going to fetch between 4 to 6 million.. the writer is perhaps quoting te conservative auction house estimates.. you just watch.. After all, it would be just a cool thing to have sitting in the dock beside your Wally ;-). .. And no.. i am not sure the \"red head\" will get the \" world auction record\" price they\'ve claimed likely.. there\'s many other contenders that are JUST as worthy.. the 250 GTO, even the 288 GTO .. which is MY favorite of the newer models (always liked those sleepers) the \"Mexico\", etc etc..


Nice post man I really appreciate your work Thanks for sharing!

Awais Soomro
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