In 1956 the 290 MM made its debut in the Mille Miglia at the end of
April, when the factory entered a pair of them in the event,
backed up by a pair of 860 Monzas. The 290 MM sports racing car, with a 3.5 liter V-12 engine was a throwback to Ferrari's roots compared to Ferrari’s current sports racing car output which was concentrated on four cylinder models, such as the 860 Monzas and the 500 Testa Rossa. Aurelio Lampredi, the architect of many Ferrari four-cylinder engines left the company in late 1955 and was replaced by the legendary Vittorio Jano. V-12 once again became Ferrari’s power plant of choice for endurance competition as engineers Andrea Fraschetti and Vittorio Bellentani worked closely with Jano its design and development. The resulting 3490cc V-12 had four distributors, two plugs per cylinder and produced 320 horsepower at 7300 rpm.
Carrozzeria Scaglietti provided the body over the Ferrari 290 MM’s tubular frame which featured a "headrest" bump that became an iconic feature of Ferrari sports cars in the 50's and 60's. “Aerodynamics were an important consideration in designing the cars,” Scaglietti said. “The more aerodynamic a car was, the more beautiful it became. We understood that less air underneath made a car go faster.” Th car would help Ferrari win the Constructor's Sports World Championship for the third time in four years.