When rare vehicles are discussed in the connotation of Chattanooga, Tennesssee, it’s usually a discussion of the steam locomotives that struggled to ship the materiel of combat during the Civil War. That’s beginning to change, in large part because next month will mark the second time the Chattanooga Motorcar Festival is held, the dates being October 15 through 17. That’s big news standing alone, but it’s been augumented this week with word that Ferrari of Atlanta has signed on as the festival’s signature Ferrari dealership, and has organized a presentation of 14 historic Ferraris, some of them being shown publicly for the first time, in honor of Maranello’s 75th birthday as an independent automaker. They’re all exotic, but let’s focus here on just one of those cars, because it looms so large in the marque’s heritage.
The car is a 1948 Ferrari 166 Spider Corsa, one of the first competition cars that Enzo Ferrari produced under his own name. It’s part of the Miles Collier Collections of historic automobiles maintained by the Revs Institute of Naples, Florida, which furnished this image of the car. This Tipo 166, as the tifosi would dub it, is powered by a Gioacchino Colombo-designed SOHC V-12 that displaced only 1,992 cubic centimeters and produced 130 horsepower. In September 1948, the prancing horse legend Luigi Chinetti, who later became Ferrari’s distributor in the United States, used this car to win the 12 Hours of Montlhéry in France, later settting speed records at distances of 100 miles and 200 kilometers, both in excess of 120 MPH average. The American meatpacking heir and sportsman Briggs Swift Cunningham then bought the Tipo 166, driving it to its first U.S. victory on a Long Island airport in May 1950. The Ferrari was retired from competition after its second driver, Sam Collier, fatally crashed it on the street circuit through Watkins Glen, New York. If you’re along the Gulf coast of Florida, the Revs Institute is a must if you really appreciate very significant cars.