Ferrari-powered record-breaker set to make a splash in Monaco

| 20 Feb 2012

No, we haven't turned into Classic & Sports Boat, but, given the right excuse we do like to spread our (water) wings with appropriate flying and floating machines. The excuse this time comes courtesy of RM Auctions, which has consigned the famous and fascinating Ferrari-powered hydroplane Arno XI for its Monaco sale on 11-12 May.

Built in 1953 the Arno XI came into being with Ferrari and its drivers' assistance and set a world water speed record for its class at more than 150mph.

It was the brainchild of Achille Castoldi, a friend of Grand Prix drivers Alberto Ascari and Luigi Villoresi who convinced Enzo Ferrari to provide knowledge and technical assistance in developing the boat.

As a result it was powered by a 12-cylinder, 4500 cc V12 Ferrari engine, the same as that installed in the Type 375 Grand Prix car that gave José Froilán González Ferrari’s first ever World Championship Grand Prix Victory, at Silverstone in 1951. Power was boosted by twin superchargers developing more than 502bhp at 6000rpm.

On 15 October, 1953, Arno XI achieved 241.70kph (150.19mph) on Lake Iseo in northern Italy, establishing a world speed record for an 800kg boat. The record still stands today.

When Castoldi was finished with Arno XI, it was sold to Nando dell'Orto who raced it for more than 10 years, securing numerous wins. The boat went through various aerodynamic improvements, including a modified nose and the addition of a fin, finishing its competitive racing career in 1960 with a European championship victory and numerous fastest laps, many of which still exist.

The current owner acquired the boat more than 20 years ago, restoring it to concours condition and helpimng to push it to an impressive estimate of €1-1.5million when it comes up for sale.

"This awe-inspiring racing boat has beauty, history, provenance and performance; it simply ticks every box for any serious collector," said Peter Wallman, specialist at RM Europe. "It has that alluring mix of '50s Ferrari grand prix car with the sheer beauty and simplicity of the hydroplanes of the period. We are honoured to have been entrusted with its sale."

To see some video of the Arno XI in action, click here.