The early experiments with Lampredi's four-cylinder engine led to the creation of the famed 500 Mondial. Named to mark the world ("Mondial") championships won by Alberto Ascari, the 500 Mondial featured a 2.0 L version of Lampredi's four cylinder engine in a small and light body with an advanced suspension. The car debuted on December 20, 1953 at the 12 Hours of Casablanca driven by Ascari and Luigi Villoresi, placing second to a 375 MM.

The 500 Mondial's 2.0 L (1985 cc/121 in³) engine was taken from the 500 F2 which won the world championship but was detuned to produce 170 hp (127 kW). It was extremely light at 720 kg (1590 lb) and handled well with a modern de Dion tube rear suspension.

The first 500 Mondials were coupes bodied by Carrozzeria Scaglietti, but Pinin Farina later created a series of barchettas. The Mondial remained competitive through the end of the decade, including an entry in the 1957 Mille Miglia.