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166 Fontana Spyder Corsa
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  Article Image gallery (9) 012I Specifications  
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Country of origin:Italy
Produced in:1948
Numbers built:8
Designed by:Fontana
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:June 08, 2012
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Click here to download printer friendly versionIn the early 1920s a young Enzo Ferrari entered the racing world as a moderately successful driver, it was not until the end of the decade when formed his own racing team, 'Scuderia Ferrari', that he made a lasting mark. By bringing together Italy's finest engineer and driver, Vittorio Jano and Tazio Nuvolari respectively, Ferrari created a winning package that would dominate the sport in the early 1930s. When Alfa Romeo decided to decrease their racing efforts the independent Scuderia Ferrari replaced the official racing department. Initially cars were assembled from parts supplied by Alfa Romeo, but from 1936 completely new Grand Prix racers were designed and constructed.

After being closely involved with the Milanese firm for almost two decades, Ferrari felt it was time to really spread his wings in 1937. Although Scuderia Ferrari was officially independent, the relationships between the two were so intertwined that Enzo had to agree on not making cars under his name for four years to get out of the contracts. While the rest of Europe was now actively involved with the Second World War, Ferrari was busy constructing his first cars. Complying with his agreement he had formed a new company called Auto Avio Construzioni. Introduced in 1941, the '815' was a combination of various Fiat mechanicals and a custom body. Only two cars were built before the War reached Italy.

During the War all production was aimed at military supplies and the various factories were spread out around the country for tactical reasons. Ferrari's workshop was moved from Modena to nearby Maranello and focused on constructing ball bearing grinding machines. Soon after the fighting was over, Enzo continued work on a new racing car, despite the high demand for his machines. He unsuccessfully tried to employ Vittorio Jano to design his new car, but found a very good replacement in Gioachino Colombo. They had already worked together before the War when the Scuderia Ferrari was developing new racing cars for Alfa Romeo with the 158 single seater as their finest product.

Ferrari understood that the demand for the exotic cars he proposed to construct would not be very high in a world preoccupied with reconstruction. He gave Colombo the difficult brief of designing a drivetrain and chassis that was versatile enough to attract a broad audience. In 1946 the engineer drew up a straightforward tubular frame and a 60 degree V12 engine not dissimilar to his last projects at Alfa Romeo. A displacement of 1.5 litre was chosen, which in Naturally Aspirated form could power a sports racer and equipped with a Supercharger met the Grand Prix regulations. As per Enzo's request a five speed gearbox completed the package at a time when four speeds were the norm.

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  Article Image gallery (9) 012I Specifications