Image credits: © Ferrari.

1949 Ferrari 166MM

[I]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 with Ferrari. Our Scuderia has delivered some unforgettable achievements on this circuit,' declared Montezemolo. 'The Le Mans 24 Hour Race is synonymous with 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

Vehicle Profiles

Coachwork: Touring

Chassis Num: 0024M

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 compa....[continue reading]

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 drivi....[continue reading]

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 Le....[continue reading]

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 ....[continue reading]

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 19....[continue reading]

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 whic....[continue reading]

Barchetta by Touring
Chassis #: 0024M 
Barchetta by Touring
Chassis #: 0010M 
Barchetta by Touring
Chassis #: 0052M 
Barchetta by Touring
Chassis #: 0020M 
Barchetta by Touring
Chassis #: 0022M 
Barchetta by Touring
Chassis #: 0008M 


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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