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1949 Ferrari 166 Inter Coupe

The 8th Ferrari Road Car Built. The 1949 Geneva and Villa d'Este Show Car, Classiche Certified. Substantial Price Reduction!

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VIN 015S
Exterior Color Dark Red
Interior Color Tan Leather
Engine 2.0 liter V12
Transmission 5-speed manual
Status Sold
Stock FJ2163


1949 Ferrari 166 Inter Coupe with Touring Coachwork
s/n 015S, Engine no. 015S
Carrozzeria Touring no. 3190
Red with Tan Leather Interior

At the 1948 Turin Motor Show, Enzo Ferrari, by then 50 years of age, stood on the platform anxious about unveiling his new 166 series cars. Ferrari had already established himself as a formidable contender in racing, but he needed more resources to advance future competition efforts. Ready to build and sell production cars for public use, Ferrari designed a twin longitudinal tube chassis, enlisting Gilco to fabricate it, then ship it to Touring where the patented Superleggera coachwork would be assembled, finished, and applied to the chassis.

Available in both the more comprehensively finished Inter or the more minimalistic MM forms, the 166 was powered by a 2 liter Colombo-designed V12 engine, backed by what was then virtually unheard of: a 5-speed gearbox. Suspension was by independent front double wishbone and transverse semi-elliptic spring suspension with hydraulic dampers, and a live rear axle with longitudinal semi-elliptic spring rear suspension with anti-roll bar and hydraulic dampers. Braking was managed via 4 wheel drums. Although the 166 was racing inspired, Enzo wanted the Inter to be elegantly clothed in a two-door body that featured comfortable seats, space for luggage, and a more upright, elegant body design. Indeed Touring designer Bianchi Anderloni penned a harmonious design evoking the emerging trends of sports car design with an elegance and refinement that wealthy customers would appreciate. Though experts vary on their numbers, fewer than 40 Ferraris were built in between 1948-1951, of which no more than 20 were Touring bodied.

This particular car is the 8th Ferrari road car built, and the second to receive this Touring body. This body was constructed a few days after the first such body, which was fitted to chassis number 007S and was nearly identical, save for the elimination of trafficators and the addition of retractable ventilation scoops on the sides of the car. Similar bodies were placed on at least seven additional cars, albeit in modified form featuring different treatment to the fenders.

Like most early Ferraris, this car is right hand drive. The matching serial number and engine number 015-S indicate that it is one of only a few given the S or Sport designation: only five cars were built to this specification. At the 1949 Geneva Motor Show, 015-S was exhibited to raise awareness about Ferrari’s new road cars. After the show, on July 1, 1949, Ferrari sold the car through Carlo Botticelli to Mr. Paolo Castelnuovo. Two months later, 015-S was shown at Villa d’Este in Lake Como, Italy. Castelnuovo retained the car until October 1, 1953 when he sold it to the second owner, Mr. Massimo Alesi, of Venice. After a series of Italian owners through the 1950s and into the mid 60s, as well as some time in Johnnesburg in the 1960s, during which time the car belonged to D. H. Gearling, who wrote a letter published in the May-June of 1967 issue of the The Prancing Horse, in which he offers 015S for tentatively for sale in order to facilitate the purchase of an Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B. In the same letter, he also mentions that he owns a Touring Bodied 166 Mille Miglia (s/n 050), as well as two Alfa 6C 2500s, a 1750 SS Spider, and a 2.6 Monza.

By the early 1980s, the car had found its way to the United States, where it was owned by Ferrari authority and connoisseur Peter Sutcliffe, who retained the car in his personal collection for nearly a decade, showing it at several events. Subsequently, the car returned to Italy via France where it underwent a comprehensive restoration by Italian marque specialists including Autosport in Modena, Italy who performed the bodywork and Luppi who restored the beautiful interior.

In recent years, the car has seen extensive mechanical work, including significant engine work that included disassembling the engine down to the block, machining the crankshaft, new bearings, new head gaskets, new rings, new head studs, disassembly and repair of the cylinder heads, rebuilt oil pump and generator drive, overhauled oil cooler, restoring the radiator, and considerable other work. It was performed by RPM in Vermont between 2014 and 2016 and totaled over $35,000. Most recently, the car received additional fettling with Patrick Ottis, including tuning the carburetor and fixing some leaks.

Today, this stunning example of early Ferrari history is resplendent in deep red over tan leather interior. The exquisite touring coachwork is both elegant and sporting with delicate unique details, all of which were hand formed specifically for this car. The exterior is in beautiful condition with delicate Touring roof and window garnish precisely highlighting the clean openings and flush glasswork. The teardrop taillights, flush door handles, and distinctive Touring wheel opening speed lines are in perfect harmony with the body proportions. Thin front and rear bumpers are properly fit with ivory colored rubber bumper trim, while the rocker panels are garnished with fine chrome lines. The celebrated eggcrate Ferrari grille, with the distinctive aluminum lattice construction, is housed by a delicate perimeter trim and highlighted by the unique early Ferrari yellow and black emblem. 015-S is one of the few fitted from the factory with Rudge wheels and chrome plated wheel covers, which further add to the elegant look of the car. All glass, trim, lighting (including correct Carello headlamps) and emblems are in excellent condition showing beautiful and correctly restored finishes.

Reaching toward the tapered exterior door handles, a simple press of the button and a polished aluminum level extends outward from the recess – an elegant invitation to the interior. The door swings open easily, revealing a shallow doorsill decorated with the Touring crest. The recessed door pocket offers easy entrance to the leather seating and deep red carpeting. Sitting in the comfortable seats the driving position is relaxed yet upright, unified with the surrounding scale of the car. An unmistakable array of early Jaeger instruments finished in matching body color dial faces, sit prominently within their bezels, accented by a unique T-shaped wood and aluminum steering wheel, itself a work of art. The dashboard is painted to match the exterior and adds to the expansive effect of the hood, opening across the slightly raked windscreen. Controls are easily within reach, including the wooden knobbed 5-speed shifter (complete with Roman numeral gear indications). The clean interior door panels and scalloped map pockets offer a touch of sporting flair. The interior presentation overall is excellent with only minor use visible on the seating surfaces and carpeting. The trunk is accessed via an interior pull that reveals a surprisingly spacious carpeted trunk and spare tire.

Under the hood, the fabulous matching numbers engine has been finished and detailed to impressive standards. The single carburetor sits high on the engine beguiling the elegant low hood line. On top of the engine, two louvered canister air cleaners, joined by a polished cast aluminum intake plenum, flank a single Weber carburetor. These machined and polished details reflect the bespoke construction built into these early cars. The engine symmetry and machined finishes are superb testimony to the finest craftsmanship first at the hands of Ferrari and then through masterful restoration experts. Hardware, lines, wiring, and finishes are all correctly composed reflecting the importance of this historic car. The undercarriage returns further confirmation of a comprehensive restoration, with correct finishes, proper attention to detail, excellent craftsmanship, and excellent attention to detail.

The car starts easily and runs smoothly. Once warmed up, the engine is ready to deliver on the promise of the exhaust note, which has a magnificent tenor that belies the 2.0 liter displacement. The gearbox has well defined gates and is fully unsychronized, providing a robust and rewarding operation to the skilled user. Carburetion is excellent, delivering a fabulously evocative induction roar and smooth, progressive acceleration as revs rise. The suspension offers good body control and the car is easy to place on the road thanks to the precise and well-judged steering. As with the exterior (and interior) of the car, it’s the details of the driving the car that really distinguish it. The unique metallic sound of the starter which is present on very early Ferraris, the mechanical action and ticking of the chronometric tachometer, the clear toggle type dashboard switch for the indicators: it all creates the sensory equivalent of a coachbuilt experience, one which distinguishes this is a very particular and special Ferrari, even in the hallowed ground of vintage Ferraris.

The car is accompanied by its Classiche red certification book, as well as a file of documents, articles, and invoices that support the car’s history. Included among these is a photocopy of an article about the car from the April of 2010 issue of Forza, a 2001 certificate from Ferrari describing the technical characteristics of the car when it was produced, an Adolfo Orsi document which describes the car’s authenticity and early history, photos from the restoration in Italy dating from 1999, and a copy of a letter written by the car’s South African owner that was published in the May-June of 1967 issue of The Prancing Horse, which offers the car for sale in order to fund the prospective purchase of an Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B.

The lineage and excellence behind the Ferrari brand is embodied beautifully in this incredibly significant car. Exceptionally rare in both body style and technical specification, 015S also has fascinating history. Beautifully restored, handsomely clothed in rare Touring coachwork, and a seminal artifact of the Ferrari marque, this 166 Inter conveys all the magic, mechanical beauty, delightful driving, and elegance of a truly stunning show car. Whether enjoying privately, showing globally, or upon invitation to the next Mille Miglia, this elegant early Ferrari is ready to deliver a unique and dynamic ownership experience to the next fortunate owner.


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Fantasy Junction +1 510 653 7555 Emeryville, California 94608 USA

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