1950 Ferrari 166 MM/195 S Berlinetta Le Mans
Chassis No. 0026M
Engine No. 0026M
One of the privileges of the restoration endeavor is the opportunity to trace a famous car from the time of its creation to the present, through those who made it so. This jewel of a car, one of six Le Mans Berlinettas built by Carrozzeria Touring on the Ferrari 166 chassis, is such a car. The research started in 1998, during a lengthy visit with Sr. "Cici" Anderloni of Carrozzeria Touring. A chance meeting with Sr. Giannino Marzotto, "the man in the double-breasted suit" who drove the car to victory in the 1950 Mille Miglia, added more life to the story. Further research into original details revealed that Raymond Sommer and Dorino Serafini raced it at the Le Mans 24 hours that same year.
Restoring such a car goes far beyond a mere business engagement. It gave us the opportunity to "do what we do", that is: in depth historic research to understand the original build processes; accessing original period photographic records; and talking to the people who were there in the day, when we are lucky enough to find them. This was followed up by practicing the restoration arts with skilled artisans who try to insert themselves in the mind of the original builders. Add a heavy dose of perseverance plus a high level of execution, and several years later a very historic and rare automobile, formerly relegated for decades to a plywood shed in California, comes back to life.
The unusual paint color was reportedly chosen by Marzotto, whose father warned him to stop racing "those damn little red cars". Finding the remains of the original blue paint on the underside of a body panel was just one of the wonderful details discovered by the team as they methodically inspected the car during disassembly. A sample of the original flocking in the cockpit, remains of the original vinyl seat upholstery, and evidence of a rear start number illumination light, as required by Le Mans, were other important discoveries. Extensive research through factory build sheets and dyno test reports led us to the conclusion that the engine had been modified before its Mille Miglia debut, and consequently we returned the intake system to a single Weber carburetor and other 195 specifications.
We owe Jack Croul a debt of gratitude for having the confidence in us to see it through, and to a host of historic figures and enthusiasts including Gabriele Artom, Marcel Massini, Antoine Prunet, David Seielstad, Brooke Betz, Bruce Lustman, Giannino Marzotto, the revered and now departed Carlo "Cici" Anderloni, and the anonymous craftsmen back then who have so inspired us while just doing "what they did".
Every year, a special team of judges headed by Christian Philippsen present the Louis Vuitton Classic Concours Award to a car chosen from only the Best of Show winners of the most famous concours in the world, including the Cavallino Classic, Amelia Island, Villa d'Este in Italy, Meadow Brook, The Quail, Pebble Beach, and other carefully selected international events. In March of 2009, in a ceremony which took place in Geneva during the Salon de l'Automobile, this "best of the best" honor for the events of 2008 went to this 1950 Ferrari 166 MM LeMans Berlinetta. To quote Mr. Philippsen, "It has everything going for it: its lines, its mechanical specifications, its rarity, its authenticity, and a fabulous racing history."