Thanks to more photographs from Geoffrey Horton today we are looking at possibly one of oldest and most original known Ferrari race cars, one which regular eagle eyed reader Racer 187 spotted in my blog last week on the Phil Hill XK120.
This is a Ferrari 166 MM chassis #0052M shown here at the 2007 Danville Concours d’Elegance some 3 years after it was credited as having been identified by Ferrari Expert Marcel Massini in Arizona in 2004 where, it had been grazing in a barn for forty five years.
An unusual right hand drive model this 166 MM appears to have been delivered to Chinetti & Plisson in Paris and originally purchased by the 1949 Le Mans 24 hour winner, who famously won aboard another 166 MM #0008M after driving for just 20 mins, Lord Selsdon. Selsdon, real name Peter Mitchell-Thomson, raced #0052 at Le Mans in 1950 with Jean Lucas, a race from which the car retired after accident damage.
The car then was turned over to Luigi Chinetti and Jean Lucas who won the Paris 12 hours race. It came second in the 1950 Daily Express Trophy race at Silverstone driven by Dorino Serafini before Chinetti took the wheel and drove it to some 2 litre class speed records at Monthlery in France.
In 1952 owner TASO Mathieson finished 8th in the Targa Florio driving this car and in 1954 the car was fitted with a larger 2.3 litre / 142 cui Colombo V12 from the 195 S model. In 1955 the car was converted back to 166MM spec with a 140 hp 2 litre / 121 cui V12 by the factory.
By 1958 this Touring Superleggera bodied car was known to be owned in Switzerland and in 1959 a couple of owners later it was with Chinetti Motors in New York, Chinetti sold it to a Mr RL Litton of Scottsdale, AZ and despite being registered for road use in Arizona in 1964 it apparently was never seen on the road in his hands.
When the car was found in 2004 it transpired that the engine was not an original 166MM type rather a 2 litre V12 more commonly found in a Ferrari Formula 2 open wheel racer, while it is not unusual for Ferrari racers of this period to swap engines, as indeed has been recorded for this vehicle it is still a mystery as to why this car should have an engine common to an open wheel Ferrari.
Under the stewardship of Manny del Arroz the car was preserved and returned to working condition and won the Preservation Award at Pebble Beach in 2007.
#0052M is last known to have transferred ownership in Germany to Mr J Pawluk of Poland in 2008 for a reputed € 3.5 million, approx £ 3 million or US$ 5 million at todays prices.
Readers of my 2009 Rowdy posts might remember the freshly restored 166 MM chassis #0040M Reg YPY 333 belonging to the Mason – Styrrons at Goodwood.
This is a clear case where, in my humble opinion, the preserved bucket of rust is worth far more than the restored brand new machine. More photo’s of #0052 M, as it was found by Marcel Massini, in Arizona can be seen on this excellent thread at Ferrari Chat, you will probably have to sign up to see the thread.
My thanks to Geoffrey for today’s photo’s, to Michael Platzer for the chassis number and to every one who posted on Marcel Massinis Ferrari Chat thread.
Hope you have enjoyed another original patina edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ and that you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !