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  Ferrari 166 MM/53 Vignale Spyder
 

  Article Image gallery (19) 0290M Specifications  
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Country of origin:Italy
Produced in:1953
Numbers built:9 (all spyders)
Designed by:Vignale
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:January 31, 2006
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Click here to download printer friendly versionFerrari's first sports racing cars rank among the historians biggest nightmare; the cars were a continually changing mix of engines, chassis and body styles. The car that is currently believed to be the oldest existing Ferrari chassis, s/n 002C, has been fitted with at least three different engines and as many bodies. At the end of 1948 Ferrari launched their first 'production' car and from then onward the history of Ferrari cars gets a little less complex. To commemorate the victory of a Ferrari 166 Sport in the Mille Miglia, the new competition car is dubbed 166 MM.

Technically the 166 MM was very similar to the first Ferraris, and shared the tubular frame that was characteristic for all of the company's sports cars of the 1940s and 1950s. Suspension was equally straightforward with wishbones at the front and a live rear axle at the rear. Where the early Ferraris really excelled was in the engine compartment, which housed the beautifully Gioacchino Colombo designed V12. In its first configuration the tiny engine only displaced 1.5 litre, but in its third incarnation had grown in size to just under two litres or 166 cc per cylinder.

What set the 166 MM apart from the previous Ferrari racers was the new car's body design and construction, for which a third party was commissioned. What the small car needed was a lightweight body; a task ideally suited for Touring of Milan whose Superleggera designs were the lightest available. At the car's Turin launch the press quickly dubbed the Touring bodystyle fitted 'Barchetta', which is Italian for little boat. The name stuck, as did the design, which today is the most famous Touring design ever fitted on a Ferrari chassis.

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  Article Image gallery (19) 0290M Specifications