Ferrari 196s

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Keywords: Ferrari 196s
Description: DK Engineering Mobile Website

The Dino story started on 19 January 1932 when Enzo Ferrari’s wife, Laura, gave birth to their only child, Alfredino, who became known affectionately by the diminutive of his name “Dino”. Unfortunately he was not a strong child, suffering poor health with debilitating muscular dystrophy, eventually dying of nephritis when only 24 years old on 30th June 1956.

Despite his constantly deteriorating health he worked at the Ferrari factory on various projects, one of the last of which is reputed to have been on a V6 engine design with the talented engineer Vittorio Jano. Thus when the engine was eventually built in 1957, Enzo Ferrari dedicated the type and its V8 derivatives to the memory of his son, and they became known as Dino engines, with Dino script on the cam covers in the style of his son’s signature, although the cars that they were installed in wore Ferrari badges. In 1958 the V6 Dino engine powered the Ferrari F1 cars to the first Manufacturers’ Championship, with team driver Mike Hawthorn taking the drivers’ title, the first British driver to achieve this feat, although unfortunately he lost his life in a road accident a little over three months later.

Late in 1959 the 1960 versions of the Dino sports racing model went into production. They were virtually identical to the final version of prototype examples that had been campaigned in 1958/59 (one was dismantled and the other was converted into a V12 TR), but now featured right hand drive making their visual similarity to the concurrent 250 Testa Rossa even greater. The similarity was so great, that the only easy way to tell the difference was to count the number of intake trumpets under the Plexiglass intake on the hood. Three examples were constructed, all featuring Fantuzzi built bodies, chassis numbers, 0776, 0778 and 0784.

The last of these, # 0784, was subsequently re-bodied in the early sixties, in a style similar to that then being employed on the last of the front engine Testa Rossa models, albeit without the nostril nose configuration. Right from the first appearance of this series of Dinos there has been confusion and controversy as to what was the real size of engine that they were running in any particular race, with even talk of the old 4 cam unit being run on occasion. This is likely to be an enduring mystery and open to conjecture for many years to come, but according to factory build sheets, chassis # 0776 was constructed as a 196 S (2 litre) model.

Chassis # 0776 was the first of the series to appear in competition. It is thought that 0776 was possibly one of the earlier works prototypes rebuilt to the specification it is seen in today. It was entered by NART and driven by Ricardo Rodriguez in the Bahamas in December 1959, recording a 2nd, 4th and a DNS in the three races entered.

As a result of rule changes for 1960 the screen height was raised on the car. For the Sebring 12 hours in March 1960 Pedro and Ricardo shared the car but unfortunately retired from the race due to mechanical failure. Next the car appeared at the Targa Florio in May 1960 alongside both its sister cars. This race was to provide these Dino sports racing models with their greatest success in a major international event, where despite some contact with the scenery, Phil Hill/ Wolfgang von Trips finished 2nd overall in chassis # 0784, with Scarfiotti/Mairesse/Cabianca bringing chassis # 0778 home 4th, and the NART entered chassis # 0776, driven by Pedro and Ricardo Rodriguez finished 7th, despite having had frequent contact with immovable objects and being rolled! Just 2 weeks after the Targa Florio #0776 was already repaired and back on track, again being piloted by the Rodriguez brothers at the Nurburgring 1000 kms.

For the 1961 Season NART retained the car and it was driven in two events by Helborn, Fulp and Hudson. The car won its class at the Sebring 12 hours. The car also competed in the Canadian GP at Mosport where it placed second in class. In 1962 the car was purchased and campaigned by T. Obrien, a well-known NART privateer.

In 1966, #0776 was purchased by Rob Walker. Walker was, and still is, one of the best known privateer Formula 1 team owners and managers. To this day he is the last privateer to have one of his cars win a Grand Prix. In 1962 Ricardo Rodriguez had signed to drive Rob Walker's Lotus 24 for the Mexican Grand Prix, but died tragically during the first day of practice, when the Lotus' rear right suspension failed at the fearsome Peraltada turn, and it hit the barriers killing him instantly. He was 20 years old and his death provoked national mourning in Mexico.

#0776 was restored and fitted with body coloured headlamp covers and was road registered with Rob Walker's registration, “RRW 1”, which it retains to this day. He kept the car for 12 years and was well known for using the car on the road; justifying that this car can be raced, rallied and even used casually on the road.

In later years the ownership of this highly important motorcar reads like the who’s who of the world’s best car collections. Previous owners have enjoyed the car in all sorts of environments including road use, rally use and endurance race use. In recent years the car has participated regularly at events such as the Le Mans Classic and Goodwood Revival. It is also unique being the only one of the three examples built that retains its original body to this day. As such this car is one of just two surviving Fantuzzi 196/246 Dinos built with significant period race history and un-questionable provenance. It has to be one of the prettiest and greatest 50’s sports racing Ferrari’s built.

Today # 0776 is offered for sale in an “on the button” state and presented in the same specification as when it was delivered to the Rodriguez brothers in 1959. Please watch DK TV's video production on the RHS of this page for the full experience of # 0776.

Credits: Studio Photography executed by Fluid Images on behalf of DK Engineering; Videography executed by Gridstars on behalf of DK TV; History Courtesy of Keith Bluemel & Marcel Massini.



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