Ferrari Classiche certified
1949 Ferrari Tipo 166 Inter Coupé
Coachwork by Carrozzeria Touring
Registration no. 770 XUX
Chassis no. 017S
Engine no. 017S
Enzo Ferrari had begun planning his new car during the war and in 1946 commissioned Gioacchino Colombo to design a small-capacity V12 engine for it. The 1.5-litre Tipo 125 unit took its designation from the capacity of an individual cylinder (125cc), thus instigating a system of nomenclature that would characterise Ferraris for many years to some. Ferrari's Tipo 125 sports-racer made its competition debut in 1947 and by mid season had been re-designated Tipo 159, its engine having been enlarged to 1.9 litres. Later in the year the first Tipo 166 (2.0-litre) unit appeared. In race tune up to 150bhp was available - the Inter road car with its single twin-choke Weber carburettor produced 100bhp - which was transmitted via a five-speed gearbox, an unusual feature in those days, even on a competition car. The twin-tube chassis employed transverse leaf and double wishbone front suspension and a semi-elliptically sprung live rear axle located by torsional stabilising bars. Houdaille hydraulic shock absorbers were fitted all round.
Before long Ferrari had become the dominant force in international sports car racing, 1949 proving to be a phenomenal year for the Tipo 166, which claimed victory in three of the world's most prestigious events: the Mille Miglia, Targa Florio and Le Mans 24-Hour Race, a quite outstanding achievement.
This car is one of fewer than 40 Tipo 166 Inters made. (Sources differ with regard to the exact number produced, but Stanley Nowak in his highly regarded work 'Ferrari On The Road' states that 36 were completed). In keeping with tradition, the car was built with right-hand drive - it being deemed safer to sit on the right when driving across the Alps, which at that time were cursed with poor roads lacking in safety barriers. Ferrari's road cars were allocated odd numbers at this time (the competition cars had even numbers) making '017S' only the ninth road-going Ferrari completed and the sixth Tipo 166 Inter (the first three cars were Tipo 166 Sport).
The Tipo 166 was bodied by several of Italy's foremost carrozzeria, Vignale and Touring being responsible for the bulk of production. Chassis number '017S' is clothed in the latter's distinctive Superleggera coupé coachwork, its grace and elegance recalling the lines of the immortal Barchetta. Only 5 cars were bodied by Carrozzeria Touring in this style, 017S being the last. '017S' was sold new to the official dealer Franco Cornacchia in Milan, Italy and resold by him to Cerana Bros of Busto Arsizo, Italy. In June 1958 the Inter was imported into Switzerland where it was owned for the next 30 years by a Mr Stemmler of Kilchberg, and while in his care was restored by Autofficina Franco Toni in Maranello, the work being undertaken in 1983.
The car's next owner was Marcel Capecchi, a restaurant owner resident in Kilchberg, who purchased the car in 1989. In 1994 the body and interior were refurbished by Motor Service in Modena and Capecchi drove the Ferrari in the Mille Miglia both in 1995 and 1996. During 1996/1997 the engine was rebuilt by Cavaliere Antonio Constantini of Zurich. Capecchi drove '017S' at the Ennstal Classic Rallye in Austria in 1998 and the Mille Miglia in 2000, and at the year's end offered the car for sale at Bonhams' Gstaad auction in December (Lot 133).
Purchased there by Edgar Schermenhorn of Holland, the car was displayed by its new owner at the MECC Show in Maastricht, Holland in January 2002 and at the 11th Annual Modena Motorsport Track Days meeting and concours at the Nürburgring in July 2005. Sold at auction in May 2009, the Ferrari passed via Autospeak Srl of Modena to the current vendor in the UK.
Since its acquisition in February 2010, the Inter has been enthusiastically campaigned, attending several Ferrari Owners Club of GB and other prestigious meetings. In 2011 the car again took part in the Mille Miglia for the fourth time and soon afterwards was shown at the Beaulieu Italian Day, winning the 'Pride of Ownership' award. Later that same year '017S' picked up the 'Overall Connoisseurs Trophy' at the FOCGB's Annual Meeting and Concours at Heywood Park, and in 2012 was shown at the Salon Privé Concours at Syon Park and displayed on the FOCGB's stand at the NEC's Classic Motor Show. It has regularly attended Wessex Ferrari Owners Club events over the last few years and is currently the earliest Ferrari road car resident in the UK. Finished in deep red with fawn cloth interior, this beautiful Inter is in excellent condition.
'017S' is Ferrari Classiche certified, and thus correct in every respect. Many Ferraris are historically important but few are of greater significance than the Commendatore's first car built for road use, the Tipo 166 Inter.