Ferrari 166

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By 1948 Ferrari had firmly established itself as a manufacturer of top-level racing cars. The next step was to take that engineering and performance excellence to the streets. History has shown that this was a wise decision, and that legacy started with the 166 Inter, Ferrari’s first grand touring car.

Compared to the California and 458 Italia, the 166 Inter seems like a reasonably tame vehicle, even by the standards of its era. Essentially a coachbuilt body on Ferrari’s long-wheelbase racing chassis, the 166 Inter was named for Scuderia Inter, the team that successfully campaigned Ferrari 166 models in 1948, and for the displacement of each of its twelve cylinders (166 cc). The 166 Inter debuted at the Paris Motor Show in October of 1949, with a body by Carozzeria Touring. Stabilimenti Farina, Ghia, Finale, Pininfarina and Bertone also produced bodies for the three dozen or so Inters that were built between 1948 and 1950. The grand tourers were equipped as full roadgoing vehicles, but a few actually did make it to the track and displayed performance worthy of the name.

Though demure by modern standards, the Ferrari 166 Inter was the start of a storied legacy of roadgoing Ferraris, and helped to create the template of the “grand touring” car that influences vehicles to this day. As one of the first Ferrari models to sell well outside of Italy, it was a significant influence on the marque’s reputation as well.

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