Ferrari 166 MM

The 1948 Ferrari 166 MM is the definitive 1950s sports car configuration, with its smooth envelope, long flowing hood and short tail. Named for the Mille Miglia race, it was created by Carrozzeria Touring in Milan, and compared to the 125S, from which it was developed, the Barchetta (“little boat”) is a masterpiece of simple style.

Ferrari expert and 166 MM owner David Seielstad has called it “the first beautiful Ferrari and fundamental to the brand's success,” and he continues, “its styling was unlike anything before and has influenced the design of vehicles from the AC Bristol to the latest Ferrari California.”

The 166 propelled Ferrari to the top of the sports car wish list. As Dean Batchelor wrote in Automobile magazine, “the real heart of the Ferrari mystique has always been that blurry distinction between racer and road car – the 166 MM was the model that started the magic.”

The 166 won its MM nametag from Ferrari’s first win in the 1948 Mille Miglia in the hands of Clemente Biondetti, who repeated the feat in 1949. And heaping coals on the “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” theory was Luigi Chinetti’s stirring victory in the 1949 Le Mans 24-hour endurance race, which was almost a solo achievement, since he drove 23.5 hours himself.

In all, 25 Barchettas were built by Touring, and the car on offer is number 10. Its history is extremely interesting – not to mention nail-biting at times – just like the race for which it was named. Its survival can be attributed to determination and luck. The story is also remarkably well documented, and numerous period photos and documents accompany the car.

Est. 140 hp, 1,995 cc SOHC V-12 engine, three Weber 32 mm DCF carburetors, five-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension by double wishbone and coil springs, rear live axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs and trailing arms, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 86.6".

Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Hugh Hamilton

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