Sold for $1,045,000 at 2007 Gooding & Company. Sold for $3,155,520 (€2,960,400) at 2017 Artcurial. Ferrari 166 Spyder Corsa with chassis number 014I was constructed in May of 1948 and is a right hand drive vehicle. It was raced extensively by the factory during 1948 and sold to a privateer at the close of the season.
Chassis 014I was the seventh competition sports Ferrari built (at least the seventh to be numbered). The two new shorter-wheelbase Spyder Corsas believed to be 008I and 014I were given to Ferrari's two works driver - Tazio Nuvolari and Raymond Sommer. It is uncertain what happened to chassis 008I. O141 was later sold to Giampiero Biancheti of Milan who also owned 003S, the 1948 Mille Miglia-winning 166S. The privateer, Giampiero Bianchetti of Milano continued its racing career by entering it in competition during the 1949 season.
The inaugural race for the vehicle came in May of 1948 when it was entered in a Grand Prix event, Formula 2 competition. Driven by Giuseppe Farina and bearing the number 8. At the conclusion of the event, the 166 Spyder Corsa was no longer on the track. It had retired earlier and given a DNF. Its first race it would finish would come during its next outing which was in June. It was driven by Giampiero Bianchetti at the Circuito di Mantua where it finished in seventh place overall. At the next event it finished in 5th overall and second in class. This would be its best finish during the 1948 season.
The 1948 season was disappointing, plagued with DNF and DNS during many of its entries. It did achieve a Second in Class driven by Bianchetti at the Aosta-Grn San Bernardo Hillclimb near the close of the season.
In 1956 it was re-bodied by Scaglietti using the 500 TR bodystyle. The fuel tank was cut down in size in order to make room for the new low bodywork and the spare wheel mounted above it. The car still has the original Spyder Corsa-type radiator with a rounded top tank. From new, the chassis has been modified slightly with the addition of lightening holes and extra bracing. It has a wheelbase that measures 88.75-inches and there is no evidence of chassis tampering, meaning this could very well be one of the two short-chassis Spyder Corsa's. Other modifications include Houdaille shock absorbers and radius rods to the rear axle. The original engine block has been replaced with a later 166 type. The timing hole is at 12-o'clock, though the Spyder Corsa's fly-wheel has the timing marks meant to be read at 2-o'clock. The three Weber 32DCF carburetors are period correct. Twin magnetos are mounted at the rear of the camshaft and the cam covers are of the later type. The car is fitted with a later 166 'nine-bolt' gearbox to match the later-type cylinder block. It has the original Spyder Corsa-type shift knob. The brake reservoir has been replaced in favor of a later type. Another modification was to the brake drums and the cooling hoods. The steering box is a replacement and believed to be from mid-1952. The four-original wheels have been replaced with wider 4.5-inch Borrani wire wheels.
From that time, it passed through the years in the collection of many prominent people. It was exported to the United States in 1957. In 1994 it was shown at the International Ferrari Concours in Monterey, California.
The car was offered for sale in 2001 by RM Auctions at Monterey. The high-bid was $830,000.
Recently, the car has been shown at the 2007 Cavallino Classic in Palm Beach, Florida.
In 2007 it was brought to the Gooding & Company auction held in Pebble Beach, Ca and sold for $1,045,000 including buyer's premium. By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2008
This Ferrari 166 is significant as the first Ferrari to win a major race and the first Ferrari to arrive in the United States. After leaving Alfa Romeo in 1937, Enzo Ferrari built two race cars under the name of 'Auto Avio Costruzione' that he ran in the 1940 Mille Miglia. In 1948, his first car under his own name, the 166, was victorious in the Targa Florio and the Mille Miglia. That September, in this actual car, Luigi Chinetti won the 12 Hours of Montlhery and in November he broke the two-liter class records for the hour, 100 miles and 200 kilometers - all at over 124 mph.
Well-known sportsman Briggs Cunningham bought this first Ferrari to be raced in the United States. It was this cycle-fendered Spider Corsa bearing serial number 016-I. The 'I' suffix in the serial number signified an 'Inter' model. This means that the car qualifies for both sports car racing and Formula 2 races. It came equipped for the road with lights and fenders that could be easily removed so that it became a Formula 2 entry.
To race in the 2.0-Liter class, its engine is the 1995cc V12 with two valves per cylinder and three Weber 32DCF carburetors producing 140 horsepower at 6600 RPM.
At Bridgehampton, Cunningham's driver George Rand, set the fastest practice lap with this Ferrari and he led the race until an oil line broke. The point was noted and 016-I was considered in an elite class of brisk road racing cars in the United States.
This car scored its first US victory at the Suffolk County Airport Race in May of 1950. In June, at Bridgehampton, Sam Collier put up the fastest lap and placed second. Tragically, a crash at Watkins Glen took Collier's life. The car was all but retired from competition soon after.
Rushes of adrenaline can be addicting. Soon, adventure and speed become such a way of life, such an addiction, that it can become a generational experience. The norm just isn't exciting when raised in an environment of adventure. And if raised in a home wîth means, addictions, such as grand prix racing, can become an outlet that feeds the addiction.
Raymond Sommer was born into a wealthy family from Sudan, France in 1906. Raymond likely developed his need for speed and adventure from his father, who in 1909, broke the Wright brothers record for the longest flight. However, Raymond waited until he was twenty-five before he let his adrenaline addiction overtake him.
In 1931, Sommer began entering motoraces. He started out using a Chrysler Imperial. But this wasn't just some kid wîth money deciding to go racing. Instead, he proved his talent and determination the very next year.
In his second year of motoracing, he entered and won the 24 hours of Le Mans. This victory was an achievement in and of itself. However, the fact the victory came as a result of Sommer having to drive over 20 of the hours solo because his driving partner became ill only demonstrated his desire, his will to win. Raymond was just one of many 'gentlemen racers'. But, because of his desire, Sommer would achieve the next level. Even despite winning the 24 hours of Le Mans it would be easy to pass this guy off, but the fact this 'rich kid' would win it again the very next year only cemented Sommer's reputation as a legitimate racer.
To say Sommer was a legitimate racer though is a bit of an understatement. Raymond would go on to lead every 24 hours of Le Mans up until 1938. Sommer was a dominant force in the 24 hour race despite only winning twice. The records are really a poor indicator of Raymond's dominance. One year in particular, the records show that Raymond did not win, and this is what most people go by—results. What might be overlooked was the fact that until his car broke he had a lead of over 12 laps—that's dominance.
If one were to consider racing to be an art then Sommer would have qualified as a freelance artist, especially when it came to grand prix racing. Raymond did race quite a few grand prix races for the likes of Ferrari and Talbot-Lago's factory team. Yet, despite having the talent to drive for some of the major teams of the day, Raymond often decided to run in privately entered cars. This choice would do more to hurt Sommer's chances in grand prix racing then it would to help.
Much of Sommer's pre-World War II career was spent racing sports cars, where he excelled winning such races as the 24 hours of Le Mans and Spa. When the war broke out Raymond did not sit on the sidelines and wait for it all to be over. Instead, Raymond was active in the French Resistance.
It is not entirely known what Sommer did while involved wîth the French Resistance, but it seemed to only help his racing career once the war ended. In 1946, Raymond won the Rene Le Begue Cup race at Saint-Cloud. And, in 1947, Sommer scored a victory in the Turin Grand Prix. What made this victory especially notable was that it was the very first grand prix Enzo Ferrari entered as his own independent team. Despite the promise for the future this victory signaled, Raymond would end up switching back to his own car the very next year—a Talbot-Lago (See article Talbot-Lago T26C).
When the inaugural Formula One season started in 1950, Raymond drove for both a constructor and himself. Sommer; however, did not make the trip to the first event of the championship, the British Grand Prix, held at Silverstone. However, when the season continued on at the Monaco Grand Prix Sommer would drive the third Ferrari 125 for Scuderia Ferrari (See article Ferrari 125). Sommer's talent would emerge right away as he would end up qualifying 9th for the race, some six seconds behind pole-sitter Juan Manuel Fangio. Raymond would avoid the accident on the first lap and would drive a consistent race ending up 4th , three laps behind the winner. This result netted Raymond three points toward the championship.
Sommer would again drive one of the Ferrari 125s when the championship moved on to Bremgarten and the Swiss Grand Prix. Sommer would qualify 13th for the race; over twelve seconds behind Juan Manuel Fangio. Raymond's Swiss Grand Prix didn't go as well as Monaco however. Raymond would end up retiring his Ferrari after only 19 laps due to suspension problems. So, Sommer would leave Bremgarten adding no extra points to his championship tally.
As the season headed to Spa for the Belgian Grand Prix, many teams and drivers did not make the trip. Scuderia Ferrari and Raymond was one of the few teams and drivers that did make the trip. However, Raymond did not drive for Ferrari at Spa. Instead, Raymond raced his own Talbot-Lago T26C. The switch to his own Talbot-Lago didn't seem to hurt Sommer during qualifying as he would end up starting from the 5th position. Ferrari would only bring two cars to the race and only Luigi Villoresi would beat Sommer during qualifying. Villoresi would only qualify one spot better, ten seconds behind pole-sitter Nino Farina. Sommer would actually post the same qualifying time as Villoresi, but was relegated to 5th. Despite the fact the race was only 35 laps, Raymond's race would end up coming to an end after only 20 laps due to oil pressure problems.
Sommer would switch drives again for the French Grand Prix at Reims-Gueux. Being a Frenchman, Sommer would have the opportunity to drive for the French Talbot-Lago factory team. Raymond would not post a time for qualifying, and therefore, was assigned to the 17th starting spot on the grid, flanked by David Hampshire and Charles Pozzi. Sommer's race would not fair well at all. Raymond would end up retiring his factory T26C due to overheating issues after only four laps.
The Italian Grand Prix at Monza was the final event of the Formula One championship, and once again Sommer switched drives, going back to racing his own car. Despite the large number of teams and drivers that showed for the finale, Sommer showed his quality by qualifying his own Talbot-Lago 8th. This was a strong showing for the T26C at Monza. The race was one of attrition, wîth only seven cars officially making it to the end of the race. Únfortunately, Raymond wasn't one of those. Sommer's race ended on lap 48 wîth gearbox troubles. Únofficially, Sommer finished the race in the 10th spot.
Although Raymond's Formula One championship run had few highlights. Sommer would end up finishing the championship in the 15th position overall. 1950 would prove to be a year of extremes—there were bright spots, but there was also tragedy. Raymond would win the Aix les Bains Circuit du Lac Grand Prix driving a Ferrari 166. However, in September, Sommer's life would come to an end after he crashed during the Haute-Garonne Grand Prix due to §teering failure. The car overturned on top of Sommer crushing him, killing him instantly.
An early death, circumstances and poor decisions undoubtedly hindered the promise Raymond showed behind the wheel of a race car. Looking at his situations, his successes and his failures, Sommer proved to be one of those early pioneers of sports car and grand prix racing where it is easy to wonder what might have been if everything went right. Many drivers and team owners owe Sommer a debt of gratitude, not because of being a man of means, but because of being a competent and competitive driver. He wasn't out there playing a role, or, doing a hobby. He had passion. He was a racer.By Jeremy McMullenSource - Raymond Sommer
The 166 Spyder Corsa was the first series of models offered by the newly formed Ferrari marque in 1947. Only eight were built, numbered 002C, 004C, 006C, 008C and the 010I through 016I. The first cars sold to customers were 002C and 004C, which were sold to the Besana brothers, Gabriele and Soave, near the close of 1947.
Chassis 006C, 010I, 0121 and 016I rested on a wheelbase that measured 95 inches. In 1948 two Spyder Corsas were built with a shorter, 88-inch wheelbase and with the frame tubes slung under the rear axle, as opposed to being over the rear axle. It is believed that these two chassis were 008I and 014I.
This new chassis design was used in the 166MM Touring Barchetta that appeared in the fall of 1948 at the Turin Auto Show. These cars would go on to win the Mille Miglia, Le Mans the Spa 24 Hours in 1949. By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2008
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.
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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