Famous Ferrari “Uovo” Offered by RM Sotheby’s
In the late 1940s and early 1950s, the four Marzotto brothers earned themselves an enviable reputation in Italian racing circles. Vittorio, Giannino, Paolo, and Umberto were all very talented drivers in their own right, and in Ferrari’s earliest days, the Marzotto brothers were arguably the Scuderia’s most important customers. Count Giannino won particular fame as one of the few racing drivers to win the Mille Miglia twice. Winning his first Mille Miglia in 1950 wearing a double-breasted brown suit, Giannino’s spirit captured the hearts of Italian fans everywhere.
The Ferrari offered here is perhaps the Marzottos’ most significant car of the twenty-some Ferraris that the brothers owned. This 166 MM/212 Export, s/n 024 MB, was completed in February 1950 and delivered to Umberto and its first outing was in the Targa Florio. The car’s next outing was at the Mille Miglia with Umberto and co-driver Franco Cristaldi, but it crashed heavily and was returned to Ferrari, where it was fully rebuilt. After their accident at the Mille Miglia, the Marzottos were looking for even better results in 1951. Giannino thought success could be achieved through utilizing new bodywork for s/n 024 MB that placed an emphasis on weight reduction and improved aerodynamics. Fontana of Padova and the soon-to-be famous sculptor Franco Reggiani were commissioned to create a streamlined body, with maximum efficiency and performance in mind. The result, lovingly nicknamed “Uovo” (“egg” in Italian), was an automotive design like no other. Heavily inspired by Reggiani’s previous aeronautical training, the Uovo took the shape of a jet, minus the wings. It also had special body panels for less weight, and other modifications. It debuted at the Giro di Sicilia, still unpainted in bare aluminum and with an enormous aircraft headlight on the left. At the Mille Miglia, the Uovo held a significant portion of the lead, 30 kilometers on Ferrari’s 4.1-liter Works entry, before it was forced to retire due to tire problems. It can be argued that the Uovo would have emerged victorious had it not been sidelined.
At the car’s third race, the Giro della Toscana, Giannino Marzotto and Marco Crosara crossed the finish line in 1st place overall. After a successful 1951 and 1952 seasons, the Uovo returned to the factory in the winter of 1953, where it was fully overhauled in preparation for the 1953 Mille Miglia. It did not compete, however. In late 1953, the Uovo was shipped from Italy to Mexico for that year’s Carrera Panamericana but it would ultimately not participate. The Marzotto brothers returned to Italy, though the Uovo would remain in Mexico. From Mexico, the Uovo went through a succession of American owners and was finally acquired by Jack du Gan. In du Gan’s ownership, the car was shipped to England, where the restoration was completed just in time for the 1986 Mille Miglia, some 35 years after it raced at that event. The car was run there once more with du Gan in 1987, before being acquired by the consignor, who returned it to its native Italy. The Uovo would remain a regular highlight of the Mille Miglia for the next few years and was displayed at Ferrari’s 50th anniversary celebrations in the summer of 1997.
The previous owners collected an impressive assortment of period photos, documents, articles, and exchange of letters with Giannino Marzotto; they were also able to purchase the wooden model of the Uovo from Franco Reggiani. Having competed in the Mille Miglia in period, it is welcome to return to that event as well as a number of other historic races. As it has never been shown at any Concours event, it would surely be welcome at the most exclusive Concours around the globe. The Uovo is, without doubt, the living expression of one of the greatest personalities of the Italian early fifties racing world.
Information provided by RM Sotheby’s.
Salon Photos by Remi Dargegen, Courtesy of RM Sotheby's.
Historical Photos Courtesy of Archivio Foto Locci.
For further information on RM’s Monterey sale, along with an updated list of entries, please visit www.rmsothebys.com.