By early 1948, and following an intense period of development, the 125 gained an engine capacity hike to 1995cc (from 1497cc) and morphed into the 166. This model would help anchor Ferrari's standing as a major player in topflight motor sport, claiming that year's Targa Florio and Mille Miglia for starters. In November 1948, the marque was first represented at a motor show: on display at the Turin Salon was a 166 Inter coupé and an open 166MM (for Mille Miglia), the latter being better known by the Barchetta (little boat) moniker
This car was the last of the 166MMs built. According to the factory build sheets, this car was completed in July '53, and Pininfarina's own records confirm that the coachwork (the only 166MM clothed by them) was finished on July 9th of that year, the first owner being industrialist Kurt Zeller. Zeller clearly had the means to indulge himself, having previously owned a 212 Inter Coupé. These last of the line 166MMs now featured many upgrades including 6-port cylinder heads and three gurgling, quad-choke downdraught Weber 32 IF/4C carburettors. Another revision was the use of roller cam followers, as trialed on Ferrari's Aurelio Lampredi-designed 'long-block' V12. These modifications helped reinvigorate the 'Colombo' unit, increasing revs to 7200rpm and boosting power which was transmitted to the rear wheels via a five-speed Type 212/EU 'box. The front end was suspended by means of a transverse leaf spring arrangement, the rigid rear axle set-up comprising semi-eliptic springs with Houdaille lever-type dampers all-round. The addition of twin parallel trailing arms on each side at the rear on these Tipo 166MM/53 cars was also a major step forward in terms of ride and handling over earlier editions.
An amateur racing driver from a time before the term became a slur, Zeller didn't waste any time fielding his new toy. He teamed up with his younger brother, factory BMW motorcycle star Walter, and participated in August's ADAC Nürburgring 1000km, round five of the inaugural World Championship for Sports Cars. Lining up with Modena's new big guns, a trio of 375MMs driven by GP aces including eventual winners Alberto Ascari and Giuseppe Farina.
In October of that year, the brothers teamed up once again to contest the Tour de Belgique. They claimed third place in the 1600-2000cc class. The following year saw Kurt Zeller and new wingman Alois Willberger take part in the Tulip Rally.
In 2002 DK became aware of the car in Florida, for sale and in need of restoration. It soon became clear that the 166MM was largely complete and remarkably original. Pininfarina job numbers were still stamped and chalked on several parts, not least the fuel tank and inner panels. The car was acquired and shipped to the UK and upon arrival we embarked on a comprehensive restoration.
The restoration was completed in early 2005 to an exacting standard and to the specification of as it would have been when it left the Pininfarina works. Soon after the car passed to a Dutch collector who has retained it until now. Rarely seen in public since, this car represents an opportunity to acquire a unique even chassis numbered competition berlinetta that is fit for events such as the Mille Miglia and the Pebble Beach Concours d'elegance.
Please contact us for a full and comprehensive description.