Image credits: © Ferrari.

1949 Ferrari 166MM news, pictures, specifications, and information
Coachwork: Touring
Chassis Num: 0024M
Sold for $1,870,000 at 2011 RM Auctions.
The normal strategy for many car manufacturers can be summed up in one statement: 'What wins at the track on Sunday will sell in the showroom on Monday'. Nowhere was this strategy more evident than with Ferrari's 166. Ferrari's 166MM became the company's first real successful sports car in what would become an extensive lineage.

Ferrari had mainly focused on making single-seat race cars for grand prix races. Enzo Ferrari had gotten his start making such cars under his own name all the way back in the late 1920s. This venture was funded by car manufacturer Alfa Romeo. Ferrari was motivated to head out on his own after Alfa Romeo decided to take everything Enzo had been designing and putting their name on his work.

After World War II, Enzo Ferrari got his company working in full-swing. He designed the chassis and hired fellow Alfa employee Gioacchino Colombo to design and build competitive engines.

During the mid-1940s, Ferrari and Colombo created the 125 S sports car. The 125 S was re-designed to a certain degree and became a car for the city streets. The street version was called the 166 Inter.

Ferrari created another version of the 166 called the 'S'. This 'S' model would propel Ferrari into the market of desirable street versions of the company's awesome sports cars.

In 1948, Scuderia Ferrari entered a number of its 166 S model sports cars in the Mille Miglia. Clemente Biondetti and Giuseppe Navone had been able to keep themselves from the scrap between Alberto Ascari and Tazio Nuvolari and ended up winning the race. Almost forgotten because of the retirement of the great Tazio Nuvolari, Biondetti remarked upon taking the opportunity to speak at the awards ceremony, 'Excuse me for having won'. Ferrari's victory at the Mille Miglia, though overshadowed and almost forgotten, would spark the fuse that would make Ferrari almost as synonymous with sports car racing as it would be with grand prix racing.

The reason for this, partly, was because of Enzo's ability to take advantage of the company's successes on the track. Immediately after the win at the 1,000 mile Mille Miglia, Ferrari upgraded their 166 S and called it the 166MM. The double 'M' stood for Mille Miglia. The 166MM would prove that Enzo's move was not premature.

Ferrari's 166MM would go on to win the Mille Miglia again with Biondetti and Ettore Salani in 1949. However, Ferrari would further reinforce the strength and influence of its 166MM with a victory at that year's 24 Hours of Le Mans. Luigi Chinetti won the race almost single-handily by driving all but one half hour of the twenty-four hour race.

The Ferrari 166MM proved to be a real performer and that was in no small part due to how the car was created. Ferrari expert and 166MM owner David Seielstad said about the 166MM, it was 'the first beautiful Ferrari and fundamental to the brand's success.' If the 'S' had gotten it all started for Ferrari, the MM 'started the magic', as Automobile Magazine was quoted as saying. The MM put Ferrari at the head of the list for most desirable sports car maker.

The watchword for the design of the 166 was 'light'. The design was stripped of anything that wasn't necessary. Colombo took the 1.5 liter V12 engine used in the 125 and changed it by using single overhead camshafts. The displacement was also enlarged to 2.0 liters. Therefore, with the addition of three carburetors, the engine was capable of producing 140 bhp. Due to the fact the chassis was made very light, the car was very quick and nimble. The nimbleness came from a double wishbone independent, coil spring suspension and a live axle rear with semi-elliptic leaf springs and trailing arms. Braking power for the small and light car was achieved by four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes.

The frame was an Aurelio Lampredi designed tube frame. The body, itself, was fashioned by Carrozzeria Touring in Milan. They had been using a new technique whereby the aluminum-alloy panels were attached directly to the tubular frame body. This made the car light, but, strong.

In all, the Carrozzeria Touring built twenty-five Barchettas. The one offered at the auction this year was one of those twenty-five. In fact, the car offered was number ten and has a well documented history. One interesting thing about this 166MM is that it actually still has matching chassis and engine numbers.

Chassis number 0024M actually started out life as a show car for Ferrari at the 1949 Paris Motor Show. It was finished in Argentinean racing colors, a two-toned blue and yellow finish. The official records show that the car was first purchased by the Automobile Club of Argentina.
The car, while having some 'Lusso' creature comforts, was fitted with the competition package. The car came with the three Weber carburetors and increased compression ratio and could reach 140 bhp. Intended for competition, the car, minus an odometer, did come complete with all essential gauges.

In January of 1950, the car was entered in the Mar del Plata open road race by Carlos Menditeguy. The car's presence is well documented through numerous photographs from the event, no doubt helped by the fact the car won handily. However, not all was right after the victory. Troubles with importation paperwork caused the car to be shipped back to Europe.

The car was next bought by Francesco Zaccaria Terravazzi of Nerviano, Italy. Francesco then entered the car in the Mille Miglia in 1951. By this time, other competitor designs had been improved and were more than a match for the 166MM. Entered with number 344, which the car bears today, Francesco, co-driving with Aprile Palmer, managed to finish 94th overall, albeit 8th in class. The car's presence at the race in 1951 is also well-documented through numerous photographs where the 166MM with number 344 can clearly be seen.

After the Mille Miglia in 1951, the car was known to only compete in one other race and that was in July of 1951. After that, the car was sold in late-1952 and went to San Remo. The car was changed and became a Berlinetta. The car was fitted with the aluminum coupe body by Carrozzeria Vignale, and then, sold in 1954.

The car has been repainted and finished in different colors throughout its history and was shipped, un-crated, to Los Angeles. Problems arose after it arrived in Los Angeles. As a result, the car's engine and drivetrain had been removed. Meanwhile, the rest of the car was sold and was re-fitted with a Corvette 283 cubic inch V-8, gearbox and rear axle. Surprisingly, the car once again appeared for all the world to see when it was written about by Wayne Thoms in Motor Trend in 1959.

The car had again been sold a couple of times and had managed to virtually disappear. But this 166MM would never be able to hide.

At one point in time, the 0024M's engine and drivetrain had been sold and ended up on the other side of the country from its body. The forced separation continued until Ferrari dealer and historian Stanely Nowak of Mount Vernon, New York bought the 166MM car (without its original engine and drivetrain).

Nowak began to research the vehicle's history and began the quest to re-unite the car and its heart and soul. While searching for the engine and its parts, Nowak sold the car to Gary Schonwald. After many phone calls, and after the help of many other participants, including former owners, the car's original engine was back with the car. However, the car was nowhere near the condition it once was.

After locating all of the car, it went through a restoration process of over fifteen years. It was sent to Pennsylvania, as well as England until the restoration was completed in 1989. After the completion, the car was once again sold, but all together this time. Later, in 1995, the car was purchased by notable Japanese collector Yoshida Matsuda. As this 166MM always seemed to have a knack to do, the car would end up on the cover of Prancing Horse two years after being shipped to Tokyo. The car returned to the United States when it was purchased in 2008.

Restored, and with its original engine, this 166MM gives anyone a good idea as to why Ferrari became so well known and desired among the sports car world. Motor Trend Classic named the 166MM Barchetta number six on their list of the ten 'Greatest Ferraris of all time'. This 166MM gives a good idea as to why that ranking is not unfounded.

'Buy: Featured Lots (Lot 285: 1949 Ferrari 166MM Barchetta)', ( RM Auctions Arizona. Retrieved 6 January 2011.

Wikipedia contributors, 'Scuderia Ferrari', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 6 January 2011, 16:46 UTC, accessed 6 January 2011

Wikipedia contributors, 'Ferrari 166 S', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 25 November 2010, 12:57 UTC,
'1948 Mille Miglia', ( Grand Prix History: 1948 Mille Miglia. Retrieved 6 January 2011.

'Cars: Ferrari 166MM', ( Retrieved 6 January 2011.

'Ferrari: 166MM Barchetta', ( Retrieved 6 January 2011.

By Jeremy McMullen
Coachwork: Touring
Chassis Num: 0010M
Ferrari 166MM Touring Barchetta with chassis number 0010M and engine number 0008M has had a brilliant racing and show-car career. It was first brought to the Mille Miglia in 1949 where it was piloted by Piero Taruffi and Serio Nicolini who were driving for the factory. The car failed to finish the race. A short time later it made an appearance at the 24 Hours of LeMans where it was driven by Jean Lucas. It was involved in an accident and failed to finish the race. A month later it was raced at the 24 Hour Spa race with Luigi Chinetti as the driver and Jean Lucas as the backup driver. It finally was able to prove its potential by finishing the race ahead of the competition. Chinetti raced the car once more before the car was sold to James Kimberly of the US. Kimberly continued the vehicles racing career by racing it throughout the US at venues such as Elkhart Lake, Watkins Glen, Palm Springs, Bridgehampton, and more. The car was driven to many podium finishes in 1950 and 1951. It was sold to James Simpson in 1952 who had the car painted yellow. Simpson entered the car in the 12 Hours of Sebring. It was driven by James Simpson and George Colby. During the race, the car ran dry of fuel and failed to finish the race. Officially, it finished 28th.

At the conclusion of the 1952 season, the car passed through many owners, all of the US. During the 1980s it was purchased by Warren Sankey who entered the vehicle in many prestigious shows. The car was awarded a First in Class at the Hillsborough Concours in 1984, and First at the International Ferrari Concours at Monterey, CA. It was entered in the Monterey Historic Races and driven by Sankey who navigated the car to a fifth place finish. At the 1984 Pebble Beach Concours, the car finished First in Class.

The car was sold in 1986 to George Jewett who entered the car in historic competition. It was raced in the Mille Miglia in 1986, 1987, and 1988. In 1987 the car was entered in the Monterey Historic Races.

The car is now owned by Jon Shirley. Under his care, the car has continued to make public appearances. At the 2004 Meadow Brook Concours it was awarded Best Race Ferrari. It has come to the Cavallino Concours in 2006 and 2007.
By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2011
Coachwork: Touring
Chassis Num: 0052M
This is the only unrestored example of Ferrari's rare 166 Mille Miglia Touring Barchetta, or 'little boat.' Just 25 Barchettas were built with the 2-liter V12 engine, and they were very successful, winning at the Mille Miglia and LeMans in 1949. The winning driver at LeMans was Luigi Chinetti was also happens to be a previous owner of this particular little Ferrari. This car with chassis number 0052M spent most of the last 40 years resting untouched in the Arizona desert. It has since been disassembled and cleaned in the process of being returned to running order, but every effort has been made to rebuild it exactly as found. With the engine refreshed and revitalized, this Ferrar has again taken to the tracks in the hands of its proud new owner.

Ferrari 166 MM Touring Barchetta Speciale with chassis number 0052 M is stirring excitement and interest where ever it travels. It is a recent 'barn find' and has been out of the publics eye for nearly fifty years. 'Barn find' is always an exciting term and one that usually means the car has been hidden away in a barn without the owners knowledge of the gem that they possess. This was not the case in this situation; the current owner and the help of Ferrari expert Marcel Massini were able to ascertain the car from the late owner's estate. The car was residing in Arizona and is in very original condition. Since that time the car has been treated to a mechanical rebuild and has been the feature in the September edition of the Cavallino Magazine, issue number 154. It made its first public appearance at the Cavallino Classic in Palm Beach, Florida in 2007 where it was driven a few laps around the Moroso Motorsports Track before being shown on the Breakers Hotel lawn. It was awarded the 'Vintage Preservation Cup' at the event.

During the rebuilt of the engine, important and startling discoveries were made. The engine was actually a Formula 2 unit rather than the regular 166 MM engine. The car had been raced extensively during its early existence. It was driven by Luigi Chinetti, Lord Selsdon, Jean Lucas, Dorino Serafini, and Giovanni Bracco at venues such as the 24 Hours of LeMans, Nuerburgring, and the 12 Hours of Paris. The large hood scoop gave the engine better breathing abilities and the large red brake drums provided superior stopping power.

Based on the findings of the engine, it is believed that the car was a factory experimental machine and the first 166 MM to feature the F2 two-liter engine.

The car was raced with much success in Europe until 1955. It passed through ownership for the next few years before settling in the care of a US citizen of California, in 1959. The car was stored in Arizona and driven on rare occasions. After forty-five years, it was passed to its next, and present owner. Though the engine has been given new life, the rest of the vehicle is still highly original. It is considered the most original Ferrari racing car in existence. Examining the car carefully, one will find the paint to be chipping, the instrumentation fading, and the seats being worn with age.
By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2011
Coachwork: Touring
Chassis Num: 0020M
Engine Num: 0018M
The eighth Barchetta (serial 0020M, engine 0018M) has a 'lusso' or luxury interior and was completed in May 1949. This Barchetta has an early, but not fully documented racing history. It raced in the Targa Florio in Sicily in April 1950, but did not finish. It raced at Palermo in June 1951 and again failed to finish. It is also believed to have raced in the Giro di Calabria and the Pescara 12 hours in 1953. It was found in June 1958 in Trieste by Adolf 'Ace' Rosner who was in the US diplomatic corps in Vienna. Rosner sold this car to John and Elaine Bond, the publishers of Road & Track magazine, in September 1959 and it was featured in the December 1959 issue of that publication.
Coachwork: Touring
Chassis Num: 0022M
Engine Num: 0020M
This Barchetta (serial 0022M, engine 0020M) was completed in May 1949. It was the 9th of 25 built. Sold in August it became the first Ferrari shown at a concours; this lusso Barchetta appeared at the concours d'Elegance lido in Venice in September 1949 and it won first place in Group 18. It is the next to last 1949 'short hood' Barchetta, and it is know to have raced in eleven events in Italy, Monte Carlo and Portugal. In 1951 Elio Checcacci and Gianfranco Bardazzi finished tenth overall and third in class in the Targa Florio. Clemente Biondetti, four-time winner of the Mille Miglia, raced this car five or six times in 1952 taking third overall and two firsts in class.
Coachwork: Touring
Chassis Num: 0008M
Engine Num: 0006M
In March 1948, Enzo Ferrari ordered a new body from Carrozzeria Touring for his new open sports car the 166 MM. Touring's stylist Federico Formenti and Carlo Felice Bianchi Anderloni presented a scale model adapted from an earlier design for BMW which was then approved by Ferrari for his new car. Famously, when the car was presented to the press, Journalist Giovanni Canestrini nicknamed the car Barchetta which translates as small boat.

The fourth Barchetta (serial 0008M, engine 0006M) is the most celebrated. It was displayed at the 1948 Turin Auto Show and featured the first example of Barchetta by Touring. It is said that Ferrari and Barchetta were created at the same time. The car is powered by engine number 0006M (1949) a V12, 2.0-liter (1995 cc) with 32 DCF Weber carburetors developing 140 horsepower, riding on a 86.61 inch wheelbase and has a top speed of 137.5 mph. It sold for $15,500 new.

It was completed in April 1949 and won the first race the Barchettas participated in, the 1949 Mille Miglia, driven by Clemente Biondetti and Ettore Salani. That June Luigi Chinetti and Lord Peter Selsdon won the 24 Hours of Le Mans with this car. These two wins made Ferrari a household name worldwide. Chinetti raced the car once more at St. Gaudens in France, and then it was sold in April 1950 to a new owner in Switzerland, who raced it at least five times. This Barchetta has the 'corsa' interior, which means the dash and top of the cockpit have no leather covering and it has no carpets.

60th anniversary of the first Ferrari winning at Le Mans

Maranello - The 77th edition of the Le Mans 24 Hour Race is to have a high profile guest starter. At 15.00 on June 13th next, in fact, Ferrari Chairman Luca di Montezemolo will give the official start signal for the most prestigious endurance race in the motor racing world.

Mr Montezemolo was invited to Le Mans by Automobile Club de l'Ouest President Jean-Claude Plassart to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the first of Maranello's nine overall 24 Hour Race victories, which came courtesy of the 166 MM of Luigi Chinetti and Lord Selsdon in 1949.

'I am delighted to be given the opportunity to start a race that has made motor racing history and has such strong links wîth Ferrari. Our Scuderia has delivered some unforgettable achievements on this circuit,' declared Montezemolo. 'The Le Mans 24 Hour Race is synonymous wîth technologically-advanced sporting competition and has always been a focus of great attention on our part.'

In addition to the nine overall wins clocked up between 1949 and 1965 (the latter thanks to Jochen Rindt and Masten Gregory in the 250 LM), Ferrari has also taken numerous class victories in the French race, the most recent of which was delivered in 2008 by the F430 GT of the Risi Competizione team. A total of 10 Maranello berlinettas will be lined out at the start by eight private teams on June 13th this year.

Also on hand at the circuit will be the GES Director Stefano Domenicali, a further demonstration of Maranello's continuing interest in this classic race. In his role as Chairman of the FIAT Group, Montezemolo will also be marking another special anniversary at Le Mans as it was 40 years ago, in September 1968, that the late Gianni Agnelli also started the Le Mans 24 Hour Race.

Source - Ferrari
Coachwork: Touring
Chassis Num: 0010M
In 1949 the Ferrari factory built three new 166 MM race cars to compete in long distance races in Europe. These Touring-designed Barchettas won the Mille Miglia and the 24 Hours of LeMans, and this car won the 24 Hours of Spa in Belgium with Luigi Chinetti driving - and the Ferrari legend was born. In 1950 Chinetti sold the car to Jim Kimberly of Palm Beach, Florida, who raced it on the East Coast before bringing the car to California and the 1951 Pebble Beach Road Races. Kimberly placed sixth in the Del Monte Handicap race, but while running 3rd on lap 27 of the Pebble Beach Cup, Jim flipped the car. He emerged unhurt but the car undrivable. The car was later repaired, sold to James Simpson, and raced until 1955.
Clemente Biondetti and Count Igor Troubetzkoy won the Targa Florio on April 3rd of 1948, marking Ferrari's first major international win. The car was a closed Berlinetta Ferrari 166 and would later capture a victory at Italy's most important race, the Mille Miglia in 1948.

The Ferrari 166 was officially introduced at the Turin Salon in September of 1948. The body was courtesy of Touring utilizing the patented 'superleggera' technique. The alloy coachwork was well proportioned, covering the narrow tube skeleton structure. The frame consisted of an oval tube cross-section ladder with an X-shaped cross member. The short wheelbase car was given a Giacchino Colombo-designed V12, which would become the basic structure that would serve Ferrari road and race car for the next two decades.

In total, there were a mere 33 examples of the 166 MM produced between 1949 and 1951. Most of the 166 models were given Carrozzeria Touring coachwork in either Barchetta or Berlinetta forms. 26 were Barchettas and 7 were Berlinetta models. Of the seven Touring-bodied Berlinettas, only five were the Le Mans Berlinettas, named for Ferrari's victory at the 1949 24 Hours of Lemans in a 166MM.
By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2009
It was in 1948 when the newly formed Italian automobile company named Ferrari began selling a promising sports car named the 166. The two seater sports car featured a 12-cylinder engine mounted in the front and supplying over 100 horsepower to the rear wheels. The engine was just under two-liters in size and had a unitary displacement of 166 cc, thus, the evolution of the model name. Production would last until 1953 with only 38 examples being produced. Even though production was low, its accomplishments are large, with wins at LeMans, Mille Miglia, and the Targa Florio.

The 166 was a continuation of the 125, introduced a year earlier. The 125's size of 1497 cc was later enlarged to 1902cc, bringing about the Tipo 159. In 1948, it was enlarged to 1995 cc and became the 166.

As was customary at the time, a rolling chassis was supplied to custom coachbuilders to outfit the vehicles according to customer specifications and their intended purposes. The 166 MM was named after its historic victories at the Mille Miglia. The 166 MM versions were given even chassis numbers and built with racing intentions. The 166 Inter, named after victories at the Coppa Intereuropa at Monza, were given odd chassis numbers and became Ferrari's first road car.

The 166 Inter road cars featured a 2 liter, 12-cylinder Colombo engine producing about 115 horsepower. The engines were mounted longitudinally and given one Weber 32 DCF Carburetor. A five-speed manual gearbox provided power to the rear wheels while drum brakes provided the stopping power. Top speed was achieved at just over 105 mph. Zero-to-sixty took about ten seconds. The tubular frame was given a live-rear axle and a front wishbone suspension. When production began, Carrozzeria Touring was the primary coachbuilder, outfitting the cars in both Berlinetta and Coupe bodies. Later, other coachbuilders such as Pinin Farina, Ghia, Vignale, and others, produced bodies for the 166 Inter.

The phenomenal accomplishments achieved on the race track did much to stir enthusiasm for the cars. To generate even more publicity, in November of 1948, Ferrari displayed examples of his 166 MM and 166 Inter Coupe at the Turin Motor Show. Other shows included the Paris salon in October of 1950 and the Geneva Salons in March of 1951.

With just 38 examples created, the 166 Inter was replaced in 1950 by the 195 Inter. The 195 Inter came into existence by the enlargement of the engine to 2.3 liters. A year later the engine was enlarged to 212 cc and the name changed to 212 Inter. In 1952, after 142 examples were created, production ceased.

166 MM

The 166 MM was a competition version of the 166 Inter. It featured the same 12-cylinder engine, but modified to produce 135 horsepower. The suspension and chassis were similar to the 166 Inter. The bodies were lightweight, small, and built to endure the grueling requirements that racing requires. Initially, Ferrari intended the 166 MM to be a customer racing car. After a number of 166 MM models captured a large number of class and overall victories against stiff competition such as Maserati, Cistiralia, and Alfa Romeo, Ferrari commissioned the creation of the 166 MM as factory works cars.

Touring of Italy was commissioned to provide the coachwork for most of the 166 MM, and many were given Barchetta bodies. The name 'Barchetta' came about because of the size and design of the car. Barchetta in Italian means little boat.

Clemente Biondetti and Giuseppe Navone drove a 166 MM to overall victory at the Mille Miglia in 1948. A year later, Biondetti and Ettore Salani captured the victory at Mille Miglia in a 166 MM. Giannino Marzotto and Marco Crosara capture victory at Mille Miglia in 1950, driving a 166 chassis with a bigger 195 engine. In 1949 a Ferrari 166 MM, entered by Lord Selsdon and mostly driven by Luigi Chinetti, captured overall victory at Le Mans.

The 166 MM's were a powerful, reliable and competitive automobile. Their historic accomplishments are legendary and their designs are elegant, beautiful and breathtaking. VIN #002C, a 166 Spyder Corsa, is the oldest Ferrari car still in existence.
By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2007
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Image Left 1948 166 MM1950 166 Inter Image Right1950 166 MM Dino Spyder Image Right1950 166MM Image Right1950 166 LeMans Image Right
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