Ferrari Arno XI


My remit on Country Squire Magazine is to supply “mechanical porn” and I trust I have lived up to my responsibilities, even if I have occasionally featured some old British rust buckets and perhaps too often displayed my undying love for Land Rovers in the magazine’s pages.

This week I cannot fail to disappoint. This time with a boat. Well, a hydroplane to be exact.


This is the Ferrari Arno XI Racing Hydroplane and it is undoubtedly the most attractive speedboat ever made. Its 1953 Flash Gordon design still looks stunning today. It’s not only a masterpiece of style and guile. It’s a powerful machine also.

The ‘three-point’ hydroplane, devised in America during the late 1930s by Adolph and Arno Apel of New Jersey’s Ventnor Boat Works, truly revolutionised speedboat design. Elegantly simple, the Apel design divided the ‘step’ portion of the hull into two pontoon-like surfaces, or sponsons, with each on opposite sides of the boat. The boat’s propeller acted as the ‘third point’ in the equation. The tunnel between the sponsons trapped air to generate aerodynamic lift, with only the sponsons and propeller in direct contact with the water whilst the boat was at speed.

boat 2

According to Sotheby’s who sold the boat for over a million bucks in 2013, the hydroplane is “blessed by complete, unbroken provenance and highly successful racing history, this one-of-a-kind and magnificent, record-breaking Ferrari-powered hydroplane provides an unparalleled opportunity to own a significant piece of both sporting and Ferrari marque history. Complete with a copy of the U.I.M. record certificate numbered 329, attesting to Achille Castoldi’s October 1953 speed record, which continues to stand today, as well as Nando Dell’Orto’s original racing logbook and additional historic archive material, ‘Arno XI’ continues to be breathtaking in its presentation, still powered by its original Ferrari 375 F1 V-12 engine. Seaworthy and still capable of breathtaking high-speed runs today, exactly as originally intended, the offering of “Arno XI” affords its next caretaker the ability to preserve, show and if brave enough, pilot at high-speeds an undisputed icon of motorsports and Ferrari history for future generations to appreciate.”

A truly sumptuous machine.