1949 Ferrari 166
Year of manufacture1949
Number of seats2
Three times Mille Miglia rerun participant
1949 Ferrari Tipo 166 Inter Coupé
Coachwork by Carrozzeria Touring
Chassis no. 027S
Engine no. 027S
Enzo Ferrari had begun planning his new car during the war and in 1946 commissioned Gioacchino Colombo to design a small-capacity V12 engine for it. The 1.5-litre Tipo 125 unit took its designation from the capacity of an individual cylinder (125cc), thus instigating a system of nomenclature that would characterise Ferraris for many years to some. Ferrari's Tipo 125 sports-racer made its competition debut in 1947 and by mid season had been re-designated Tipo 159, its engine having been enlarged to 1.9 litres. Later in the year the first Tipo 166 (2.0-litre) unit appeared. In race tune up to 150bhp was available - the Inter road car with its single twin-choke Weber carburettor produced 100bhp - which was transmitted via a five-speed gearbox, an unusual feature in those days, even on a competition car. The twin-tube chassis employed transverse leaf and double wishbone front suspension and a semi-elliptically sprung live rear axle located by torsional stabilising bars. Houdaille hydraulic shock absorbers were fitted all round.
Before long Ferrari had become the dominant force in international sports car racing, 1949 proving to be a phenomenal year for the Tipo 166, which claimed victory in three of the world's most prestigious events: the Mille Miglia, Targa Florio and Le Mans 24-Hour Race, a quite outstanding achievement.
This car is one of fewer than 40 Tipo 166 Inters made. In keeping with tradition, it was built with right-hand drive - it being deemed safer to sit on the right when driving across the Alps, which at that time were cursed with poor roads lacking in safety barriers. The Tipo 166 was bodied by several of Italy's foremost carrozzeria, Vignale and Touring being responsible for the bulk of production. Chassis number '027S' is clothed in the latter's distinctive Superleggera coupé coachwork, its grace and elegance recalling the lines of the immortal Barchetta.
The certificate of origin for '027S' was issued in November 1949 and on 8th May 1950 the chassis frame and bodywork were invoiced separately to first owner Francesco Severi of Rome, Italy. Severi was a close friend of the 'Commendatore' and would race for his scuderia on multiple occasions. On 31st May 1950, Severi sold the Ferrari to Artisti Tecnici Asfonati (ATA), a company owned by film director Carlo Ponti with offices in Rome. Later that year, in August, ATA sold the car via dealer Mambretti Sonzongi to the third owner, amateur racing driver Augusto Caraceni in Rome. Augusto was the son of Domenico Caraceni, founder of the eponymous Rome-based tailors whose clients included Humphrey Bogart and Aristotle Onasis. Caraceni obtained an entry for the 1951 Mille Miglia for himself and co-driver Franco Meloni (see letter of acknowledgement on file) but it appears that the Ferrari did not make the start, almost certainly because Caraceni had already sold it to the fourth owner, Juan de Iturralde, Marquis of Robledo, another resident of Rome.
The accompanying Massini Report lists a further three owners up to August 1955 when the car was sold to the eighth: Giorgio Teofisco of Milan, Italy, who kept the Ferrari for the next 18 years. In March 1973, '027S' was sold to the ninth owner, Luigi Rezzonico Pindemonte, Count of Castelbarco, resident in Imbersago, Italy. He was a keen racer in his own right and shared an early racing stable of Maseratis with Count 'Johnny' Lurani in voiturette racing. Ten years later, in November 1983, the car was purchased from the Count by the tenth owner Dr. Danilo Pizzo.
Restored in 1992, the engine being entrusted to Michelotto and the bodywork to Cognolato, both esteemed marque specialists, '027S' was driven in that year's Mille Miglia by Pizzo and co-driver Racco, and the same pairing shared the Ferrari in the 1997 and 2000 events. In May 1997 the car was shown by Pizzo during Ferrari's 50th Anniversary celebrations in Rome and in October 2011 it was displayed on the Registro Touring Internazionale stand during the Auto e Moto D'Epoca event in Padova, Italy. Finished in red with beige leather interior, the car is offered with a file of restoration bills, ACI papers, FIVA Identity Card (issued 1997), Certificato di Proprieta, an Italian tax document and a quantity of photographs.
Many Ferraris are historically important but few are of greater significance than the Commendatore's first car built for road use, the Tipo 166 Inter; this superbly presented example warrants keen interest and the closest inspection.