Sold for $4,500,000 at 2017 RM Sothebys : Monterey. Uovo Coupe
Chassis #: 024 MB
Engine # 117
The early Ferrari vehicles evolved quickly out of necessity due to limited resources of the nascent commercial enterprise. The completed cars were often re-worked into later models and identities shifted to suit competition opportunities, utilizing the lessons learned in racing. Materials were scarce in postwar Italy, particularly the quality materials and machining which were essential for construction of high performance racing cars. As such, Ferrari in its infancy continually mixed engines, chassis and bodies. Even the car which is believed to be the oldest existing Ferrari chassis (chassis 002C) has worn at least three different bodies and engines.
The third incarnation of the Gioacchino Colombo designed engine - which had originally displaced 1.5 liters, had grown in size to just under two liters (or 166cc per cylinder). This engine would help Ferrari unprecedented competition successes which would form the foundation of the company's legend.
This particular example, chassis number 024 MB, was completed by the factory on February 2nd of 1950 and delivered to Umberto Marzotto. He was one of four brothers (Vittorio, Giannino, Paolo, and Umberto) who built enviable reputations in Italian racing circles. Their family fortune was made in the textile business which allowed them the money to afford the lifestyle and machinery to help them ascend to their place as some of the best gentleman racers in Italy. In Ferrari's earliest days, the Marzotto brothers were arguably the Scuderia's most important customers. They provided the company with financial stability by owning multiple Ferraris between themselves, and gave the company fame through their success on the race track.
Umberto's first outing with chassis number 024 MB was in the Targa Florio, where it was sidelined prematurely due to a problem with the clutch. Its next race was at the Mille Miglia where Umberto and co-driver Franco Cristaldi were involved in a bad accident.
After the accident, it returned to Ferrari where it was fully rebuilt. Instead of using traditional coachwork from Touring, Fontana of Padova and Franco Reggiani were commissioned to create a lightweight streamlined body. The goal was to improve aerodynamics and maximize performance and efficiency. The result was a unique design that was nicknamed 'Uovo' ('egg' in Italian).
The 'Uovo' was heavily inspired by Reggiani's previous aeronautical training, mimicing the shape of a jet without wings. The body rested on the Ferrari frame which was superimposed over a tubular structure reversed and bonded with Peraluman plates, which created a light but rigid outer shell. In comparison to a similar Ferrari of the era, it was fifty kilos lighter.
The 'Uovo' was given a 156-liter gas tank, twin shock absorbers and a regulator for its Formula 2 brakes. The windshield was made from crystal and was positioned upright as possible. Crystal was used became it offered excellent visibility without reflections. Taking Enzo's advice, the driving position was placed as far back as possible. This allowed the driver to feel the tail movement, but it also caused severe oversteer.
The racing debut for the rebuilt car was at the Giro di Sicilia, still unpainted in bare aluminum and with an enormous aircraft headlight on the left. It was in the led when it was forced to withdraw due to a broken O-ring in the differential. At the Mille Miglia at Brescia, the Uovo held a significant portion of the lead prior to being forced to retire due to tire problems. The car's third race in its rebuilt guise was at the Giro della Toscana, where Giannino Marzotto and Marco Crosara crossed the finish line in 1st place overall.
For the 1952 season, Giannino raced only twice. He established the Scuderia Marzotto to lend his many Ferraris to his friends in order to keep racing under the family name. The car returned to the Mille Miglia in 1952 with Guido Mancini and Adriano Ercolani, where it consistently ran within the top 10 entrants before retiring.
At the 1952 Trento-Bondone hill climb, Giulio Cabianca drove the Uovo to a 1st overall. A few days later, at the Coppa della Toscana, it was driven to a 4th overall and 1st in class finish. The final known event in Europe for the Uovo was the Avus Grand Prix in September 1952, where it finished 4th overall.
During the winter of 1953, the Uovo returned to the factory, where it was fully overhauled and prepared for the 1953 Mille Miglia. It did not race, however, as Giannino Marzotto drove a 340 MM Spider instead, in which he went on to win the event.
As 1953 was coming to a close, the Uovo was shipped from Italy to Mexico, at which time it was powered by a 212 Inter engine. The Marzotto brothers intended to enter that year's Carrera Panamericana. It is believed that the car was used in practice, however, it was not used in the race. Neither of the Marzotto brothers would participate in the race. When the brothers returned to Italy, the Uovo remained in Mexico.
The Uovo was purchased by Carlos Braniff, who resold it to Ignacio Lozano of Newport Beach, California. It was raced at a number of racing venues in California, including Torrey Pines, Pebble Beach, Bakersfield, and Willow Springs, in 1954.
Lozano later sold the car to Pete Lovely, who later sold it to Dave Andrews, who subsequently sold it Harvey M. Schaub of Sun Valley, California, in 1964. While in Mr. Schaub's care, a restoration began. Upon Harvey's death, the Uovo was passed onto his wife Lucille, and was then purchased by Ed Niles in 1982. A short time later, it came into the care of Jack du Gan of Florida.
While in du Gan's ownership, the car was sent to England, where the restoration was completed in time for the 1986 Mille Miglia. It would return again a year later as well, with du Gan, before being acquired by its current owner, who returned it to its native Italy. The car would return to the Mille Miglia over the next few years and was displayed at Ferrari's 50th anniversary celebrations in the summer of 1997. Since then, it has been displayed at the Atto Unico, the 2013 gathering of all of the Marzotto brother's cars at their historic home, Villa Trissino Marzotto. The Uovo returned back to Modena in 2014 to be shown in the Museo Enzo Ferrari.By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2017