From the 1st Ferrari imported to USA - Ferrari Life
 
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post #1 of 12 Old 12-08-2011, 07:13 AM Thread Starter
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From the 1st Ferrari imported to USA

Thought you all might enjoy this pic I snapped at dinner with a friend.

What you are looking at is a piston-head from the 43rd Ferrari ever made (and the FIRST imported to USA).

My friend did not get the exact 'type' of 166 this came from but we believe it to be from a 1949 Ferrari 166 Inter. He did get a fairly lengthy history of the car from the elderly gentleman who owned the car - I'll try to get those details straight and post more later.

Anyway, what a cool piece of automotive history.
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post #2 of 12 Old 12-08-2011, 07:52 AM
 
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Wow! That's awesome!

Is the car itself still around?

Ciao Jules

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post #3 of 12 Old 12-08-2011, 08:49 AM
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Chinetti kept these parts? Not injecting doubt [Not into I-net wars] just would like to know more of the history of how such a part survived.

As for the car[s], SNs 007-079: Some do

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post #4 of 12 Old 12-08-2011, 09:46 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Granucci View Post
Chinetti kept these parts? Not injecting doubt [Not into I-net wars] just would like to know more of the history of how such a part survived.

As for the car[s], SNs 007-079: Some do
My friend got this very recently at a 'swap meet' event at the Petersen Automotive Museum from one of the owners of the car. My friend told me the long story of the car, the engine, the transmission, etc but it is a tale with many twists (and I had a couple glasses of wine) so I need to get him to write it all down for me. When I have that, I'll post it and you all can help validate.

http://www.barchetta.cc/All.ferraris...dex/index.html

Thanks!

Last edited by Sandy Eggo; 12-08-2011 at 10:01 AM.
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post #5 of 12 Old 12-08-2011, 10:49 AM
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The Collier Collection in Naples has a 166 that they claim was the 1st Ferrari imported into the country. I can't verify this.....just the museum's claim. That car was driven by Sam Collier at the orignial Watkins Glen street course. Collier had a fatal accident in that car at the Glen.

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post #6 of 12 Old 12-08-2011, 11:10 AM
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Interesting: I'll leave the history to those much better than I such as Marcel Massini, but, found this on the [always truthful ] Internet:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Sheehan without permission Dec 2005 issue
Briggs Cunningham (think Proctor & Gamble, bank and railroad money) imported the first Ferrari to America, 166 Spyder Corsa S/N 016, and though he DNF’d at Bridgehampton, he was second at Watkins Glen. Jim Kimberly (Kleenex heir) followed in 1950, bringing 166 Barchetta S/N 0010 M home in fourth place at Bridgehampton, then winning at South Bend and Elkhart Lake. Briggs Cunningham countered the Kimberly 166 Barchetta with 166 Barchetta S/N 0060 M, and the battle was on.
The Golden Age in America

Guess it was not Chinetti, who, was more recognized beyond the LeMans as America's first Ferrari Dealer.

Guide to the Galaxy: Don't Panic
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post #7 of 12 Old 12-08-2011, 01:12 PM
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The Collier brothers and Briggs Cunningham were friends and were instrumental in organizing sports car racing in this country. Collier was driving a 166 in 1950 at the Glen. It might have been Briggs car. As an aside the Collier Collection includes quite a few Cunninghams. Next time I get to the Museum I will ask for more info on the 166 on display.

Here is what I found on Wikipedia about Collier:


In 1949 Collier finished third overall, and first in Class E, in the Seneca Cup Race, at Watkins Glen, New York, driving a supercharged MG.[6]
Collier drove in the 1950 24 Hours of Le Mans: "Of the two Cadillacs entered by Briggs Cunningham, the strictly stock saloon, driven by the brothers Miles and Sam Collier, which had been nicknamed 'Clumsy Pup', had come in tenth at an average of 81.398 m.p.h." [7]

Samuel was killed while leading the (September 23) 1950 Watkins Glen Grand Prix, held on public roads in and around the village of Watkins Glen, New York, when the Ferrari 166 that he was driving left the road. [8] He died at 6:30 pm in Montour Falls. The accident received front-page coverage in the New York press. [9] A memorial stone was placed at the spot where Sam Collier left the road. His brother, Miles, gave up racing soon thereafter and died of polio within a few years. Samuel was honored in 1995 in front of the Court House at that year's Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival.

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post #8 of 12 Old 12-08-2011, 04:15 PM Thread Starter
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Here's the unedited email I have from the owner of that piston head pictured above. Anybody know more or care to help validate the story?

A gentleman, now about 75 years old, bought S/N 0043S about 40 years ago. It was his first Ferrari that he ever owned. At the time he paid $500 for the car, but it was missing it's original Ferrari engine and transmission and had a Chevrolet V8 and gearbox in the car. Through the course of talking to prior owners he found that the original engine and transmission were sold to Bill Harrah (noted Ferrari customer and collector, and owner of Harrah's Casino in Vegas/Reno). Apparently he bought the engine and transmission and had them mounted to a stand that was on display in his museum. The owner of S/N 0043S approached Harrah's curator at the time about buying the engine and transmission and he was told it would be $35,000. He passed on it and a few years went by.

The owner of S/N 0043S was racing a car at Laguna Seca (not the Ferrari) and someone approached him about the engine at Harrah's. Apparently the original curator had been fired by Mr. Harrah and the new guy was open to having the engine go back with the original car if a deal could be struck. He suggested $3,500 as the price which was agreed to by the owner of S/N 0043 S. The owner of S/N 0043 S, now with chassis, engine and transmission restored the car including rebuilding the engine. The piston that I purchased from this gentlemen was one of the original pistons that needed to be replaced when the engine was re-built.

I was told by the owner that the chassis number of the car from the engine was S/N 0043 S and it was a type 166 Ferrari. He believes it was the first Ferrari street car imported to the United States - prior to Luigi Chinetti establishing his dealership in NYC.

Hope this is helpful...
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post #9 of 12 Old 12-08-2011, 04:50 PM
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post #10 of 12 Old 12-08-2011, 05:10 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wetpet View Post
they were all "street " cars at that time, weren't they?
Not if Wikipedia is to be believed:

Ferrari used its 2 L (1995 cc/121 in3) V12 engine in a number of models, all called 166 for the displacement of a single cylinder. Most early 166es were sports cars built for racing, though a later line of GT cars launched the company's street model line.
The following models used the 166 name:
1948 Ferrari 166 F2 Formula 2 racer
1948 Ferrari 166 S Allemano racing barchetta and coupe
1948 Ferrari 166 SC motorcycle-fender Corsa racing roadster
1948 Ferrari 166 MM Touring Superleggera racing barchetta and coupe
1949 Ferrari 166 MM Zagato Racing barchetta and coupe
1949 Ferrari 166 Inter Coachbuilt street coupe and cabriolet
1953 Ferrari-Abarth 166 MM/53 Racing barchetta and coupe
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post #11 of 12 Old 12-08-2011, 05:32 PM
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post #12 of 12 Old 12-09-2011, 10:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wetpet View Post
I believe!
Actually Wiki might have this more correct than not: I understood the first set of cars were more racing born than street.


IF wet is referring to believing the piston is from that first Ferrari, well, the provenance seems to be established first hand.

Congrats. Feel more confident that is true than not.

BTW: Did the piston seem damaged in anyway, looks from 3/4s of it to be ok. No cracks chips, dings etc.

Guide to the Galaxy: Don't Panic
Rik -- LAH !


Current:
Past:
1990 Mondial T Cabriolet SN 86247 : Red/Tan
1995 456 GT 2+2 SN 99987 : Roso Metalizzato [Fer 311/C] & Tan

Last edited by Granucci; 12-09-2011 at 10:15 AM.
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