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The Snowplow: Mauro Forghieri's Famous Ferrari 312B3

What is this? It is the famous Ferrari attempt by designer Mauro Forghieri to explore a totally new idea during 1972. This unusual design quickly got the nickname Spazzaneve (snowplow) because of its unique shape. The official name was 312B3, but it never raced, although it was tested, both at Ferrari's private track at Fiorano, actually right in Maranello, and here at Monza with Jacky Ickx at the wheel.

The 312B3 was a try at finding a new path. Here is Arturo Merzario driving the Spazzaneve during the test at Monza. Ferrari had had success with the prior 312B (for boxer) with its flat 12 cylinder motor which gave a lower center of gravity but eventually would be found to be less effective in terms of ground effects. The new Forghieri-designed experimental F1 car had a very short wheelbase with the major components within the wheelbase for low polar moment. For instance, although the radiator openings were at the front the actual units were mounted alongside of the cockpit. Also unique to the Spazzaneve were its flat rather square sides. with air intakes for the engine mounted along the top of the bodywork at the rear, rather than using the high central intake adopted subsequently.

Unfortunately, Forghieri was not really given the chance to develop his idea for the 312B3 as he was effectively demoted by the Fiat bosses to the experimental department and the design of the 1973 F1 cars was given to Sandro Colombo whose more normal-looking 312B3 was remarkably unsuccessful. However, Forghieri returned to prominence at Ferrari in 1974 at the invitation of Luca di Montezemolo when he used some of his 312B3 design aspects, but without the unusual nose, to produce the very effective 312T series of Ferrari F1 cars.

Photos by Giuliano Orzali ©The Klemantaski Collection –

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