For Sale: Arno XI Italian Racing Boat Powered by Ferrari V-12 Formula 1 Engine

How do you say-a? It's-a very fast.

A potential buyer and visitor (R) looks
AFP/Getty Images—2012 AFP

One of the most significant vehicles in the history of boat racing is coming up for sale. It's called the Arno XI, and not only is it the world's only Ferrari-powered racing boat, but it's also still a record-holder after 66 years.

Arno XI's existence is attributed to Achille Castoldi, a maritime racer who had been chasing waterborne speed records since 1940. Twelve years later, Castoldi decided he wanted to beat the speed record for 800-kilogram (1,764-pound) watercraft. He commissioned one Cantieri Timossi to build a hydroplane out of hardwood and finish the resulting boat in mahogany and Rosso Corsa paint. Power, Castoldi planned, was to come from a 4.5-liter "Lampredi" Ferrari V-12, but as soon as Enzo Ferrari heard of Castoldi's plans, he decided to lend his fellow racer a hand.

DuPont Registry
DuPont Registry

Instead of shipping Castoldi a spare Lampredi engine and calling it a day, Sports Car Digest reports that the engine Ferrari sent Castoldi was none other than that which won Scuderia Ferrari its first-ever championship Grand Prix. Ferrari's chief engineer Stefano Meazza traveled with the engine to Castoldi, whom Meazza decided would need still more power. By the time Meazza was done amplifying the already potent Ferrari V-12, the "Lampredi" engine was almost unrecognizable. Twin superchargers fed a pair of four-barrel Weber carburetors, which spat ethanol into cylinders whose compression ratio was almost doubled, and whose ignition came from two magneto-powered spark plugs per cylinder.

DuPont Registry

Estimates of how much power this engine made vary wildly from 500 to 600 horsepower, but what's indisputable is that it was powerful enough to set the intended record. In October of 1953, on Lake Iseo, Castoldi maintained for one kilometer an average speed of 150.49 miles per hour, which nobody has matched in an 800-kilogram boat since.

This piece of racing history is listed for sale on DuPont Registry, which says the Arno XI's price is available on request. Given that this machine sold in 2012 for €868,000 ($967,000), that old platitude about "if you have to ask" applies here.