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  Ferrari 166 MM Fontana Uovo Coupe
 

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Country of origin:Italy
Produced in:1951
Numbers built:1
Designed by:Franco Reggiani for Fontana
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:April 14, 2020
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Click here to download printer friendly versionFew customers had such a crucial role in the success of Ferrari during the company's formative years than the four Marzotto brothers. Heirs to a vast textile fortune, they were the quintessential gentleman racers. Giannino Marzotto, for example, lined up for the 1950 Mille Miglia wearing a double breasted brown suit, despite being a young a man of just 22 years old. It was certainly not all show as he would go on to pilot his brand new Ferrari to the outright victory. So the brothers not only bought a considerable number of new Ferraris, they also showed why others should follow suit.

To some extend, Giannino Marzotto likened himself to Enzo Ferrari and he was keen to follow in his footsteps with the family's Scuderia Marzotto. Underlining his big plans, he ordered a pair of the latest 212 Export Ferraris as rolling chassis ahead of the 1951 season. He figured that fitting bespoke bodies would give the team an edge over other Ferrari customers, who ran the 'standard' Touring design. He found a willing partners in the small Carrozzeria Fontana and their designer Franco Reggiani, who would soon after become a very well known sculptor.

For one of the two cars, Marzotto opted for a minimalistic and above all lightweight cycle-fender Spider design but for the second, he decided a more elaborate Berlinetta body would be required. He had won the Mille Miglia in 1950 with a Touring Berlinetta bodied Ferrari, and he clearly recognised the advantage of the more slippery coupe design in high speed races. Reggiani was perfectly suited to the task as he had a background in the aeronautical industry. Despite being barely 25-years old at the time, he already had a decade's worth of experience.

Appropriately, the design he had quite literally sculpted for Marzotto's coupe was dubbed the 'Jet'. It featured a very low nose, which in its originally guise did not offer enough room to house the radiator and other mechanical. Even in its modified form, the nose was low, while the rest of the body was also as low and as narrow as possible to reduce the frontal area. As a result the front and rear fenders are very pronounced as they are wider than the cockpit area. This consisted of a tiny perspex windshield and a very low, swooping roof that ran all the way to the curvaceous tail of the car. To save weight, the body panels were made from the exotic alloy Peraluman and instead of A-pillars there were two braided steel cables that held the roof in place.

The shape of the coupe was not only dictated by Reggiani's background as an aeronautical engineer, it also benefited from Giannino Marzotto's racing experience. He felt that traction was key and he requested that as much weight as possible should be concentrated around the rear axle. Accordingly, the driving position was changed with the seat moved back. Further changes included the relocation of the massive fuel tank behind the rear axle. The spare wheel was also mounted in the very tail of the car.

Unfortunately, Ferrari were late in delivering the two new cars, which looked set to delay the build of particularly the complicated Jet Coupe. Fortunately, the Marzottos had an existing Ferrari chassis laying around that would form a suitable substitute to help keep the program on schedule. The frame in question came from one of a pair of 166 MM Touring Barchettas ordered by the Marzottos ahead of the 1950 season. It had been crashed heavily in the Mille Miglia, requiring comprehensive repair work.

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  Article Image gallery (26) 024MB Specifications