1949 Ferrari 166 MM Touring Barchetta Alloy RecreationSOLD

RM Auctions - The Ponder Collection - Texas - April 20-21st, 2007

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ESTIMATE: $225,000 - $325,000


$184,250 Sold

300bhp, 3,967cc, single overhead camshaft V12 engine, three Weber 40DCZ dual-barrel carburetors, four-speed manual gearbox with overdrive, independent front and live rear axle suspension, four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 2200mm

Enzo Ferrari began planning his new marque during the Second World War and in 1946 commissioned Gioacchino Colombo to design a small capacity V12 engine for it. The resulting 1.5 liter Tipo 125 unit took its name from the capacity of one individual cylinder, thus beginning a model designation system that would last for many years to come. Ferrari’s Tipo 125 made its competition debut in 1947 and by the middle of that season had been enlarged with a 1.9-liter engine to become the Tipo 159. For 1948, Ferrari again increased displacement, this time to 1,995cc with the Tipo 166; this full 2.0-liter engine became the mainstay of Ferrari’s output for the next several years.

The second of only three 166 Sport models built won the Mille Miglia in 1948. In commemoration of Ferrari’s first win of the famous race, they named their next racing model the 166 MM.

The technical specifications of the 166 MM were only mildly revised from its predecessors, with the wheelbase cut down from 2420mm to 2200mm. However, it retained essentially the same tubular steel frame, wishbone front and live rear axle, as well as the 2.0 liter Colombo V12 upon which its predecessors had been built. Where the 166 MM differed most notably from earlier racing Ferraris was in the styling and construction of its body.

Touring of Milan was commissioned to produce the first example, which was seen at the Turin Auto Show of 1948. This open sports racer featured unique ‘Superleggera’ lightweight alloy bodywork that complemented the little sports racer’s personality perfectly. At the Turin show the new Ferrari earned the nickname ‘Barchetta’ which, in Italian means ‘little boat’. The name, like the design, struck a chord and both would become Ferrari icons.

Although the 166 MM had originally been planned to be Ferrari’s first customer oriented race car, after its first few outings Ferrari quickly noticed the Barchetta’s potential and a series of works cars were also commissioned by Touring.

Piloted by privateers and works drivers, the 166 MM achieved some very impressive results at premiere racing events. The most notable was the first place finish of a 166 MM at the 1949 Le Mans. This outright win was Ferrari’s very first appearance in the legendary race. Luigi Chinetti drove the car for 23 of the 24 hours with teammate Lord Selson taking the wheel for the absolute minimum amount of time required to satisfy regulations. Chinetti would later become Ferrari’s official North American importer.

By the time production of the 166 MM ended in 1950, 32 examples had been made, 26 of which featured the Superleggera Touring Barchetta body. Ferrari’s first commercial success, the 166 MM was the car responsible for transforming Ferrari from a small scale racing team to a respected world-class manufacturer of sports and racing cars.
The design of the 166 MM Touring Barchetta remained virtually unchanged when Ferrari replaced the 1,995cc engine in the Tipo 166 with the larger displacement 2,431cc in the 195 and ultimately to 2,562cc in the 212 of 1951.

The Ferrari presented here is an excellent alloy recreation of the famous Touring Barchetta Superleggera body style as seen on the 166 MM through the 212 models. Finished in red with a tan leather interior accented by brown piping and stitching, it is visually striking. The quality of the alloy coachwork is outstanding; it is quite obviously the product of very skilled individuals.

The foundation of the Touring Barchetta recreation was a 1965 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2 and accordingly, the car retains its original chassis no. 6513 GT as well as the 330’s powertrain, including its three 40 DC76 dual-barrel Weber carburetors and transmission. With 300 horsepower, the recreation delivers twice as much power as a Colombo V12 would have produced in the most powerful iteration of an original Touring Barchetta, the 212.
The odometer reads only 150 kilometers, which is believed to be accurate since the conversion. The instrumentation in the dash is from the 330 GT including the 300km/h speedometer, the 8000 rpm tachometer as well as all the important gauges. This is a necessity given the tremendous levels of performance the Ferrari offers.

As original examples of the 166 MM and other very early racing Ferraris achieve outlandish prices at auction, the call for recreations of this caliber is becoming ever stronger. Owners of originals feel their Ferraris are far too valuable to take on the road or track, and consequently they are becoming a very rare sight at vintage Ferrari events.

The Touring Barchetta Superleggera recreation offered here, with its 330 GT 2+2 powertrain and chassis, offers its next owner the best of both vehicles. With a monumental increase in horsepower being asked to displace the iconic lightweight alloy coachwork, the levels of performance should vastly exceed what the 166 MM as well as the 330 offered. Yet with overdrive, full instrumentation and a beautifully finished interior, the Ferrari marries performance and comfort perfectly with the spine-tingling song that only Ferrari’s high-revving 12-cylinder engine can produce.

Reference Number 7605

as of 2/27/2007

Car 1949 Ferrari 166 MM Touring Barchetta Alloy Recreation
VIN 330GT 6513 
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