McLaren may know how to build the occasional ugly race car, but it takes a Scuderia Ferrari in the doldrums to turn the WTF-meter to 11. This is Mauro Forghieri’s Ferrari 312 B3 from late 1972, better known as the Spazzaneve (snowplow). It was so ugly it never raced.
Forghieri’s ugly duckling of a Grand Prix was actually a very advanced concept. Built after yet another disappointing season, when Ferrari finished a distant fourth in the championship, the Spazzaneve picked up some ideas from Colin Chapman and Maurice Philippe’s radical, wedge-shaped Lotus 72.
All photos by Pietro Zoccola
The big idea with the Lotus was to remove the radiator from the car’s nose and mount two smaller radiators by the cockpit, along with their air intakes: this is how Formula One cars are layed out to this day. The wedge layout’s main advantage is in the reduced frontal area, which translates to less aerodynamic drag. Forghieri’s design used side-mounted radiators paired with front-mounted air intakes, hence the pair of giant NACA ducts on the front wing.
The final package was radical and remarkably ugly. Unfortunately, no one will know how it would have fared in actual Grands Prix, because Mauro Forghieri was promoted out of the team before the 1973 season. His successor built another version of the 312 B3, a car which never finished on the podium, leaving Ferrari an embarrassing sixth in the championship. At the end of the year, Forghieri returned, and Scuderia Ferrari won four of the next six constructors’ championships, coming second the remaining two times.