1962 Ferrari 196 SP by Fantuzzi at RM Monterey
While the Colombo-designed V-12 engines of Ferrari’s road and race cars stole the hearts and minds of well-heeled individuals and enthusiasts during the early 1960s, there is no question that the marque’s smaller-displacement Sports Prototypes played an important role in the development and coming-of-age of the marque. Taking to the track for the first time in the 1961 season, the 246 SP pioneered Ferrari’s mid-engined racing efforts, beginning a glorious line of automobiles that culminated with the voluptuous 330 P4. A myriad of V-6 and V-8 engines were built in the early era, and swaps were frequent, allowing Ferrari to experiment with the best options for each race on the calendar. Success followed on the track, with the Works Scuderia Ferrari Dino SPs taking overall victory at the Targa Florio in 1961 and 1962, as well as the Nürburgring 1,000 KM in 1962.
After being completed by the factory as the second of two 2.4-liter 248 SPs, chassis number 0806 was shown at Ferrari’s annual pre-season press conference at Maranello in February 1962. It remained in Italy before being flown to New York and then trucked to Florida in March in advance of the 12 Hours of Sebring, which was a very important race on Ferrari’s calendar as the opening round of the 1962 Manufacturers’ Championship. Chassis number 0806 had originally been designated to Stirling Moss and Innes Ireland but instead was given to Buck Fulp and Peter Ryan to race under the banner of Luigi Chinetti’s North American Racing Team as car #36. They went on to finish 3rd in Class and 13th overall, perhaps plagued by their engine’s appetite for fuel.
Returning to Europe after the race, the engine capacity was raised to 2.6 liters (changing its model designation to 268 SP) prior to being raced as a Scuderia Ferrari entry at the Nürburgring 1,000 KM with Pedro and Ricardo Rodriguez in #93. However, on the seventh lap, 0806 spun into a ditch, ending its race. The car would not race again for the remainder of the 1962 season. Towards the end of the year, the car was converted to 196 SP specifications by Ferrari, its final engine change and indeed the same engine it is fitted with today.
Ferrari’s 196 SP engine was effectively half of the tipo 163 competition V-12. Still boasting a displacement of 330 cc per cylinder, but with six cylinders, the engine had a total displacement of 1,983 cc. Power was quoted at 210 bhp at 7,500 rpm, thanks to the fitment of single overhead camshafts with two valves per cylinder. Additionally, the engine was topped with three Weber 42 DCN carburetors. The car itself tipped the scales at a dry weight of only 600 kg. It goes without saying that the 196 SP was an absolute rocket on the track.
In late 1962, chassis 0806 returned to the United States with Luigi Chinetti and was purchased shortly thereafter by Doug Thiem of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Thiem first entered the car in February 1963 into the USRRC National at Daytona, where he placed 5th overall. Thiem would continue to race the car at USRRC and SCCA events around the country, achieving successful results at a number of events, including a 2nd in Class at the Elkhart Lake June Sprints, 3rd overall at a USRRC race in Pensacola, and a respectable 4th in Class at the Road America 500. Thiem sold the 196 SP in December 1963 to the well-known New York–based racer Bob Grossman, who subsequently shipped his newly acquired Ferrari to the Bahamas for the Nassau Speed Week races. Entered in the Governor’s Trophy, 0806 placed 1st in Class and 7th overall on race #90. Two days later, Grossman’s second and final race with the 196 SP was in the Nassau Trophy Race, where he placed 2nd in Class and 15th overall.
Grossman sold 0806 in early 1964 to Tibor Szaba von Imrey, a Hungarian living in New York City. He raced the car throughout the 1964 season at tracks along the east coast, including Lime Rock, Vineland, Watkins Glen, and even at the Players 200 at Mosport in Ontario, Canada, where he finished 7th in Class and 13th overall. Passing through a handful of owners in the late 1960s, including Kirk F. White, the car finally found its way back to Luigi Chinetti, who subsequently sold it to noted Ferrari collector Pierre Bardinon.
Bardinon was one of the earliest and most well-known and well-regarded of Ferrari collectors. The Bardinon Collection, notably named Mas du Clos, was kept at his world-class private racetrack in Aubusson, France. Upon arriving in France in 1972, Bardinon shipped the 196 SP to Carrozzeria Fantuzzi of Modena, where it was given a new rear panel to the style of a high-tailed 246 SP. This new panel has since been removed and is included as a spare. In either configuration, with its shark nose and low, svelte coachwork, it is considered one of the most beautiful race cars ever designed.
Chassis number 0806 remained in the Mas du Clos Collection for the following 12 years until it was sold in 1984 to another highly regarded European Ferrari collector, Fabrizio Violati, owner of the Maranello Rosso Collection in San Marino. Violati kept the car on display in his collection until 1999, when it moved back across the pond and into another world-class collection with Rob Walton. Dyke Ridgley, Scott Taylor, and Skip McCabe then performed a complete mechanical and cosmetic restoration to its original 1962 Works configuration. With a few modern racing adjustments, including new fuel cells installed within the original tanks, the Dino then took to the track in historic racing events.
Maintained by the current owner’s staff for the last 15 years, 0806 remains largely “on the button.” With proper preparation, the car is ready to be driven in vintage racing and concours events, where it is highly eligible. Its most recent concours showing was at the 2010 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, where it was awarded Best in Class for Racecars from 1956–1964. It is also worth noting that chassis number 0806 is accompanied by a large history file comprised of documents from throughout its life. The car has also recently undergone a thorough inspection by a Ferrari Classiche representative. For additional details, please contact an RM representative.
Information from RM Sotheby’s. Images by Darin Schnabel.
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