1950 FERRARI 166 SPYDER CORSA REPLICA
Chassis No. 0063/S
Red with black upholstery
Engine: Ferrari V12, single overhead camshaft per bank, three dual throat Weber carburetors; Gearbox: five speed manual; Suspension: front, transverse leaf spring, rear, semi elliptic leaf springs; Brakes: four wheel hydraulic drum. Right hand drive.
Working in modest surroundings with engineers Giochino Colombo, Guiseppe Busso and eventually Aurelio Lampredi, Ferrari was quickly able to accomplish his singular vision: to develop a powerful, reliable and smooth competition motor using a V12 configuration. In May of 1947, the Tipo 125 was first driven in competition by Franco Cortese at a regional event held at the Piacenza circuit. Cortese led the race until the final lap when the fuel pump failed. This 125 was driven throughout the remainder of the season with success and it became increasingly evident to Enzo Ferrari that his engine provided an excellent basis for further development. The Tipo 125 was enlarged from 1497cc to 1902cc to become the Tipo 159. Then in 1948 it was enlarged again to 1995cc and became the Tipo 166, which was 166.25cc per cylinder.
The 166 raced throughout the season against stiff competition from the likes of Maserati, Alfa Romeo and Cisitalia, winning the two most important races, the Mille Miglia and the Targa Florio. Enzo Ferrari had created his first true champion with the 166, and started the single most enduring legend in motor racing history. The first 166 Spyder Corsa today represents the oldest surviving racing Ferrari (9 were built), and was intended for either sports car or Formula 2 races. While Ferrari raced his cars to gain publicity, his true intent was to promote the sales of his cars. The first motor show at which he participated was in Turin in November 1948, where he displayed a 166 Mille Miglia and a 166 Inter Coupe, the latter being the first of his road-going cars of which 38 examples were produced. With these early 166 Inter models, it was common practice for Ferrari to provide a base chassis and the new customer or dealer could send the car to the coachbuilder of their choice. This chassis, 063S, was actually the third of only three cabriolets built on the 166 series. All three had coachwork by Stablimenti Farina and this final one had a very advanced and aggressive looking body design. The radiator grille was laid back as on the Grand Prix cars of the period and the front fenders continued straight back to the tail.
This handsome car was exhibited at both the Paris and Geneva Salons in October 1950 and March 1951 respectively and is featured in several publications. It was sold by the factory in September 1950 to Mr. P. Valee of Paris, France. During the 1960s this Ferrari was sold from Switzerland to the U.K. in derelict condition and without an engine. In England the new owners decided to rebody the car as a replica Corsa Spyder and intalled a 250GT engine. Some years later, it arrived in the USA and was donated to the Harrah Museum by Bob Fergus of Columbus, Ohio. It is pictured and captioned on page 216 of Harrah's Automobile Collection by Dean Batchelor.
Bill Lassiter acquired the Ferrari in September 1992. Upon delivery the rear of the bodywork had been damaged in transit. In addition, its rear section had an external spare wheel fitted and was not similar to the original Spyder Corsa design. Jack Dietz was allowed to measure and photograph the highly original 166 Spyder Corsa (016I) belonging to the Collier Collection and he then faithfully replicated the rear tail section. At the time of press, we were uncertain of the specification of the current Ferrari V12 fitted (which perhaps is the 250GT unit from the UK) and no external stampings seem visible. This is an intriguing special, based upon a true early Ferrari chassis and obviously is a fraction of the price of an original Spyder Corsa, yet in essence has all the charm and attributes of the very first series Ferraris. It would be welcomed at many Ferrari club events as well as at some of the long distance touring rallies.