Newsletter 57: SIX CARS WITH FERRARI ENGINES…
THESE SIX CARS HAVE FERRARI ENGINES, BUT THEY ARE NOT FERRARI’S!
Here are six other Ferrari-engine vehicles that you may not be familiar with, but they all deserve to be recognized.
1960 Pininfarina ‘Ferrarina’ Tipo 850 GT Prototype
Enzo Ferrari commissioned Pininfarina, his favored coachbuilder, to create and build a functional prototype coupe powered by a small Ferrari-built 850cc engine in the late 1950s; he did this in order to penetrate a smaller, more accessible section of the sports car market.
The resulting ‘Ferrarina’ 850 GT, based on the chassis of the current Fiat 1200, was first seen in 1960. With a star insignia replacing the usual prancing horse logo, this Pininfarina prototype was initially completely anonymous, providing little evidence of its Ferrari ancestry. The Ferrarina also briefly carried Fiat branding, foreshadowing the Italian automotive industrial giant’s purchase of Ferrari and its adorable Fiat Dino cars a few years later.
The compact, two-door Ferrarina GT coupe shared the design language of the Turin style studio’s Lancia Flaminia, Peugeot 404, Fiat 1800-2300 Berlinas, and the BMC family of drab ‘Farina’ saloons (Austin Cambridge, Morris Oxford, Riley 4/68, and so on). Ferrari’s Tipo 850 GT was never commercialized, but it served as the foundation for the first prototype of the wonderful ASA 1000 GT.
1962 ASA 1000 GT with a Ferrari engine
The ASA 1000 GT (Autocostruzioni Societa for Aziono) was a tiny Ferrari 250 GT produced by Ferrari, designed by Giugiario, and built by Bertone.
With styling reminiscent of Bertone’s own coupe versions of the NSU Prinz and Simca 1000, which it both designed and built, the ASA 1000 GT had a far more exotic technical specification – and a significantly higher price – than these contemporary rivals, owing primarily to its Ferrari-developed engine.
The de Nora family, local affluent entrepreneurs, created ASA in Turin in 1962.
The ASA GT, based on the projected ‘baby’ Ferrarina Pininfarina Ferrari 850, was powered by an all-aluminum single-overhead-camshaft four-cylinder engine displacing 1,032cc, designed by Giotto Bizzarrini (of Ferrari 250 GTO, ISO and Bizzarrini GT fame), and sliced from Ferrari’s Colombo-designed V12, created by Carlo Chiti, senior engineer at Maranello at the time.
The ASA had 98PS and a power-to-displacement ratio that was higher than the current Ferrari 275 GTB!
The body of the Bertone-built ASA GT coupe was set on a tubular steel chassis, with sophisticated features such as servo-assisted four-wheel disc brakes and a four-speed all-synchromesh gearbox with overdrive.
The top speed was around 110 mph.
In 1963, the ASA 1000 Spider soft-top joined the elegant but pricey 1000 GT coupe.
Unfortunately, ASA, like many small builders of pricey, handcrafted automobiles, failed and production halted in 1967 after an estimated 90-or-so coupes and a smaller number of Spiders (about 16) were made.
These elegant, jewel-like mini-Ferraris are now highly sought-after collectors’ goods.
1964 Innocenti 186 GT
The Ferrari-powered Innocenti 186 GT is an oddity. It was a sports GT coupe created jointly by Innocenti and Ferrari in 1963-64 but never produced. Only two prototypes were ever produced, one of which is still in existence today.
Innocenti began producing passenger cars in 1960, when its major products were machinery and the immensely successful Lambretta scooter.
Innocenti signed an agreement with BMC (British Motor Corporation) to produce the Austin A40 in Italy, which was later followed by versions of the Austin-Healey Sprite and BMC Mini.
Ferdinando Innocenti, the company’s founder, wanted to extend his automotive business by releasing a tiny GT coupe. He shared his vision with Enzo Ferrari, and in 1963, the two Italian car firms came to an agreement in which Ferrari designed a coupe with a V6 engine, effectively half of a Ferrari V12. In Maranello, an engineering team was assembled, led by Innocenti’s technical director Sando Colombo, assisted by Innocenti engineers, and composed of important Ferrari experts, including brilliant engine designer Franco Rocchi.
The 186 GT was powered by a 1.8-litre, 12-valve, single OHC 60° V6, producing 156PS and connected to a British-derived four-speed manual with overdrive on third and fourth gears. The Innocenti was built in the greatest Ferrari style, with a steel tube frame and a separate body, the aluminium 2+2 coupe coachwork dressed by Bertone to a (then younger) Giorgetto Giugiaro design.
The Innocenti 186 GT was almost ready for series production when it was halted in 1964 for two major reasons.
The first was the existing Innocenti car sales network, which was underdeveloped and insufficient for the distribution of such a high-end sports vehicle; the network was still heavily reliant on its many Lambretta motorcycle dealers, who could not service a Ferrari engine.
The other factor was the Italian recession of 1964-65, which was far from ideal for launching a pricey GT car aimed at wealthy buyers.
The Innocenti 186 GT project was halted in 1964, just as it was about to start series production, for two major reasons.
The first was the existing Innocenti car sales network, which was underdeveloped and insufficient for the distribution of such a high-end sports vehicle; the network was still heavily reliant on its many Lambretta motorcycle dealers, who would have struggled to maintain a Ferrari engine.
The other was the Italian recession in 1964-65, which was far from ideal for launching a pricey GT car aimed at wealthy buyers.
1966 Fiat Dino with a Ferrari engine
Less than three years before Fiat’s inevitable acquisition of Ferrari in 1969, the giant Turin vehicle maker, then Europe’s largest, introduced the first of two delightful Fiat-badged Dino models, the Bertone-designed Coupe (as famously used by the Mafia boss in The Italian Job film), plus the rarer Pininfarina-bodied Spider.
These Fiat Dinos were both powered by Ferrari’s new V6 engine, which Fiat constructed and fitted in these models, as well as Ferrari’s then-new mid-engined Dino 206 GT two-seaters, to obtain the production numbers required for Ferrari to homologate the new V6 motor for Formula 2 competitive use.
For the 1967 race season, Formula 2 engines had to have no more than six cylinders, be derived from a road car production motor, homologated in the GT class, and produced in at least 500 examples within a 12-month period.
Because a tiny manufacturer like Ferrari lacked the production capacity to meet such limits, an arrangement was reached with Fiat to create the 500 V6 engines needed for a GT car.
Dino was the nickname of Enzo Ferrari’s son Alfredo, who passed in 1956 and was credited with coming up with the idea for Ferrari’s Formula 2 V6 racing engine, which featured an unique 65° angle between the cylinder banks. Dino was the moniker given to V6-engined Ferrari sports prototype racing cars in Alfredo’s honour from the late 1950s.
Fiat manufactured the earliest 1966 Dino 2.0-litre and early 2.4-litre vehicles, but beginning in December 1969, the Fiat Dino was assembled at Maranello on Ferrari’s production line alongside the 246 GT. There were 3,670 2.0-litre Fiat Dino Coupes and 1,163 2.0-litre Spiders produced between 1966 and 1969. Only 420 Fiat Dino Spider 2400s were produced, making it the most sought-after and valuable of all Fiat Dinos today. The Bertone Coupe accounted for 74% of the total 7,803 Fiat Dinos produced, while the elegant Pininfarina Spider accounted for only 26%.
Read our article on a Dino Ferrari Icon here
1971 Lancia Stratos HF
Following the successful mid-mounted installation of the Dino V6 engine in the Dino 206/246 GT (as well as the front-engined Fiat Dinos), Fiat picked the Ferrari engine in the early 1970s for insertion inside Lancia’s latest rally weapon, to replace the extremely successful front-wheel-drive V4 Fulvia.
Bertone chose the Fulvia’s tiny V4 engine to power the extreme wedge Lancia Stratos Zero concept vehicle in 1970, a low, wild, mid-engined prototype with driver access gained through the top-hinged glass! Because Lancia was traditionally associated with competitor Pininfarina, Bertone was eager to forge a partnership with the long-admired and creative Torinese marque.
Bertone was aware that Lancia was looking for a rally successor for the aging Fulvia. Nuccio Bertone himself emerged to the main Lancia plant gates with the Stratos Zero prototype, famously driving beneath the factory security barrier to the delight of the Lancia production workers. Lancia granted Bertone the contract to construct a new rally car based on the innovative concepts of Bertone’s main designer Marcello Gandini, who was previously credited with the designs of the influential Lamborghini Miura and Countach (and went on to style the Citroen BX and Renault 5 ‘Supercinq’!).
Lancia debuted the Lancia Stratos HF prototype, designed by Bertone, at the 1971 Turin Motor Show, with its stunning dart-profiled mid-engined two-seater powered by Ferrari’s Dino V6 engine. Enzo Ferrari was reportedly hesitant to sign off on the use of this engine in a car he considered as a competitor to his own Dino 246 GT, but after manufacturing of this model ceased in 1973, he decided to send the V6 motors for the Stratos, with Lancia unexpectedly obtaining 500 units.
The Lancia Stratos went on to become one of the most successful rally weapons of the 1970s and early 1980s, ushering in a new era in rallying as the first car created particularly for this type of competition. The strategy worked, as Lancia’s Ferrari-powered Stratos won the World Rally Championship in 1974, 1975, and 1976. Lancia used Ferrari engines again in the 1980s for its LC2 endurance racers, which again had some remarkable racing success.
1984 Lancia Thema 8.32
Lancia resurrected a Ferrari engine unit in 1984 to put in its range-topping Thema 8.32 performance executive saloon, following the tremendous rallying success of the Stratos HF.
The creatively titled Thema 8.32 had eight cylinders and 32 valves, sharing its Ferrari 3.0-litre V8 with Ferrari’s own contemporary 308 GTS/GTB and Mondial Quattrovalve versions, but with a cross-plane crankshaft and other changes more befitting a comfortable four-door executive saloon car.
The engine for the Thema was cast in Maranello and assembled nearby in Bologna at Ducati.
The Thema 8.32 could sprint from 0-60mph in 6.7 seconds thanks to the Ferrari engine packed into the Lancia’s nose and 212PS being delivered to the front wheels.
The 8.32 was distinguished from lesser Thema versions by its substantially more opulent, bespoke leather interior, unique wheels, an adaptive damping system, enhanced brakes and steering, and an electronically raised rear spoiler tucked into the boot lid.
The Lancia Thema 8.32, like most of the Ferrari-powered cars described here, is now generally forgotten and under-appreciated; something that cannot be said of its Ferrari-branded distant cousins.