Coming up
Ferraris   by Serial Number
Maseratis   by Serial Number
Art & More
Address Book
Price Development
Parts and    Restoration
Ferrari 166 Formula Libre s/n 011F

02.02.2013, 18:24:11 cet

Top of Page

1949 Ferrari
Tipo 166 F2/Formula Libre
Ex-Scuderia Ferrari Factory
Ex-Juan Manuel Fangio
Ex-Jose Froilan Gonzalez
Chassis No. 011F

In the Spring of 1949, Juan Manuel Fangio had been doing quite well racing the Equipo Argentine Maseratis and Simcas in minor Italian and Argentinean Grand Prix events.  However the ACA (Automovil Club Argentino) would need to acquire the Equipo Argentine Team at least two of the new Formula Two, Ferrari Monopostos that had recently been developed if they wished to remain competitive.

At the direct request of Juan Manuel Fangio, two of these new cars were ordered by the ACA, with funds to be paid directly by the Argentinean government.  The price for each new car was an astounding $11,000 U.S. dollars.

Chassis 011F taken June 23 1949 at the Modena Autodromo shortly before Jaun Manuel Fangio tested the car in preparation for the Monza Grand Prix.  Because funds had not yet been received, the car remained painted in the Scuderia Ferrari Factory Team colour of dark red rather than the pale blue and yellow as requested by the ACA’s Equipo Argentine race team.

At this time, the FIA’s governing rules for Grand Prix racing stipulated that Formula One vehicles would be limited in capacity to 1.5 litres with superchargers and 4.5 litres unblown.  Ferrari’s Senior Engineer Columbo had chosen the smaller supercharged formula that utilized a complicated twin cam head and two-stage supercharger.  The results of this combination were promising but frequently unrealized as the drivetrain remained fragile, rarely holding together from one race to the next.  As a result most of Ferrari’s emphasis was placed on the highly popular Formula Two races which allowed a maximum displacement of two litres.  In this configuration the Scuderia Ferrari were invincible; where both private and Factory Team Ferraris won every event entered in the 1949 season!

In late May of 1949, an agreement was reached between the ACA and the Ferrari Factory for the purchase of two new Formula Two Monopostos.  One month later, Fangio, Francesco ”Pancho” Borgonovo and Sr. Anesi, the president of the ACA travelled from Milan to Modena to take delivery of their two new Ferraris.  Upon arrival they were quite disappointed to find that only one car was ready (s/n 011F) and that it remained painted in the Scuderia Ferrari Factory Team colour of dark red, rather than the ACA’s blue and yellow.  The second car built on a longer chassis remained in bare metal and was not yet ready for delivery.  To further complicate matters, the ACA had not yet sent funds and  Ferrari refused to release the red short chassis Formula Two Monopostos (s/n 011F) to Fangio.

Unwilling to let his first Ferrari slip through his hands, Fangio took direct control of the situation.  Both Borgonovo and Anesi knew that the ACA could not afford one, let alone both new cars.  Undaunted Fangio telephoned friends in Argentina to arrange for funds to be sent to Italy.

On June 23 1949 chassis 011F was released to Fangio with an explicit understanding that funds were on their way to Ferrari.  Fangio took his new Monoposto to the Modena Autodromo for testing.  He was able to run the car twenty laps but unable to get the car to shift into fifth gear despite a lot of heavy- handed coaxing.  With just three days to go before the Monza Grand Prix.  Ferrari’s engineers were unable to fix the gearbox problem. To this day, speculation remains as to whether or not they actually wanted to fix the problem, as the Scuderia Ferrari Factory Team planned to run F2 cars for Ascari, Villoresi and Bonetto in the same Monza race.  At Ferrari there was deep concern that Fangio in term of his driving skills had a decided advantage over all three of the local team favourites.

On 26th June, Fangio and the Ferrari team drivers drove their F2 Monopostos in the morning practice session prior to the start of the Monza Grand Prix.  Fangio was still unable to use fifth gear but refused to give up.  It was imperative that he finish well or he would face an immediate loss of both financial and popular support from both the ACA and the Equipo Argentine Team.

After the practice session the Ferrari Team cars and the other entrants’ vehicles were rolled out to the starting grid.  Missing from the starting line up was chassis 011F, which Ferrari officials impounded as payment had still not been received. Fangio was bitterly disappointed to find himself defeated not by the opposition but rather the ACA’s failure to complete their financial obligations.  Desperate to secure a release from Ferrari, Sr. Borgonovo and Anesi signed an Irrevocable Letter of Credit guaranteeing payment in full on behalf of the ACA, something they had no actual authority to do.

Upon receipt of the Letter of Credit the Ferrari officials released chassis 011F to Fangio, just in time for the start of the race.  From the beginning things went from bad to worse.  Both Ascari and Villoresi in similar cars battled far out in front for first and second place.  For Fangio the 80 lap race was an exercise of human endurance.  Still unable to use fifth gear, he tore around the track in fourth with the car redlined at 7,500 rpm!  At the midway point, Fangio brought the car in for a scheduled pit stop and then went off in pursuit of Ascari and Villoresi.  Lap after lap he closed the distance until he saw Ascari and later Villoresi pull into the pits. Only Sig. Bonetto remained ahead in another F2 machine.  At this point Fangio’s rear wheel spokes began to give way causing horrible vibration problems.  The oil temperature gauge needle was pegged in the red, however Fangio carefully nursed his car around Bonetto’s car and on to an outright victory.  Fangio was quoted years later stating ”…that was an incredible win for me – it just seemed an illusion that an Argentine could actually win a Monza!”  This was the first race and the first of many wins for Fangio in a Ferrari.  While most historical references note that Fangio was an official Ferrari Factory Team driver only in 1956, Ferrari nonetheless immediately claimed both the car and Fangio’s win as those of the Scuderia Ferrari Factory Team!

For the last two races of the 1951 season, Fangio accepted a ride with Mercedes Benz in the powerful W163.  In the first Buenos Aires race, Gonzalez swept past Fangio and Lang to take overall victory.  In the second Buenos Aires Grand Prix, Gonzalez beat both Kling and Lang to take overall victory again.

For the 1952 season, the car was again assigned to Froilian Gonzalez.  Now four years old, chassis 011F nonetheless remained very competitive.  Gonzales won the Rio de Janeiro Grand Prix and finished second in Buenos Aires behind Fangio in the newer Tipo 166.  Later in the season, Gonzalez finished third at Sao Paulo.

Chassis 011F was dusted off for one final race in 1953 where it was given to Josç Felix Lopes for the Grand Premio Ciudad de Buenos Aires.  Lopes and chassis 011F were both hopelessly out-classed and retired from the race in thirteenth place.

Thereafter, chassis 011F remained in storage with the ACA for over forty years. Despite remaining remarkably original, it deteriorated into a shadow of its original form.

In the late 1980’s the car was acquired by noted English Ferrari enthusiast, Michael Vernon after being imported into England.  In the Spring of 1990 the car, which remained as discovered was sold at Auction by Christies for $837,000 to a private collector.  The car was then delivered to noted restorer, Tony Merrick, who gave it a comprehensive and exhausting four year restoration bringing it back to its original Supercharged Formula Libre configuration.

A quick inspection of chassis 011F’s engine after Fangio’s win at Monza indicated that it was nearly ruined and that the car was in need of numerous additional repairs.  This cost the Equipo Argentine team an additional 300,000 Lire.  This time payment would be demanded in full before Ferrari would release the car.  Clearly chassis 011F’s brief career as a Factory Team car was over.

Less than one month later, on 17th July, Fangio and chassis 011F were entered in the prestigious French, ”Petites Cylinder Reims Grand Prix” which was better known as the Wimille Cup Race.  For this event, chassis 011F was now painted in its proper Argentine Equipo pale blue with yellow bonnet.  Despite this and the recent repair work, Fangio could not get the five speed gearbox to work well.  As before, fifth gear remained elusive, limiting any change of a good finish; however, Fangio nonetheless lead the entire race until the gearbox finally let go completely!

Chassis 011F was then returned to the Ferrari Factory for additional repairs and modifications.  A new two litre engine with integral supercharger was fitted bringing the car up to Formula Libre configuration.

On the 25th August, 1949, Fangio and chassis 011F arrived in Argentina to a hero’s welcome.  Upon arrival he was a guest of Evita Peron who graciously offered to give Fangio chassis 011F as a token of appreciation by the Argentinean people.  Fangio humbly refused the kind offer but assured Señora Peron that he would continue to race the car for Equipo Argentine and the ACA.

On December 18th, the car was handed over to Sr. Campos for the General Peron Grand Prix in Buenos Aires where he finished fourth overall behind Ascari, Fangio and Villoresi.

Less than one month later, on January 8th 1950, Fangio made good on his promise to Evita Peron and drove 011F to a fourth overall in the Eva Peron Cup race in Palermo.  On January 22nd, the car was turned over to Sr. Campos again for the Grand Prix of Rosario at which he finished second overall, just behind Luigi Villoresi.

In April of 1950, Fangio and chassis 011F returned to Italy for the Grand Prix of Modena and the Grand Prix of Monza, however mechanical problems forced Fangio to retire on both occasions.  In August of 1950 the car was shipped back to Argentina for the upcoming season of races.

Chassis 011F was then given to Jose Froilian Gonzalez while a newer Tip 166 was assigned to Fangio for the Parana Grand Prix and the Santiago, Chile Grand Prix.  In both races Gonzales scored a second, finishing both events just behind Fangio’s newer car.

1949 Formula Two Season

June 26, 1949

Grand Prix of Monza Fangio 34 1st Overall

July 17, 1949

Petites Cylinder Reims F2 Fangio 8 DNF

(Wimille Cup Race)

1949/1950 Formula Libre (supercharged) Season

December 18, 1949 

General Peron Grand Prix Campos 6 4th Overall

January 8, 1950

Eva Peron / Palermo Cup Race Fangio  4th Overall

January 22, 1950

Grand Prix of Rosario Campos  2nd Overall

1950 Formula Two Season

May 7, 1950

Grand Prix o f Modena Fangio 16 DNF

May 28, 1950

Grand Prix of Monza Fangio  DNF

1951/1952/1953 Formula Libre (supercharged) Season


Parana Grand Prix Gonzales  2nd Overall


Santiago, Chile Grand Prix Gonzales  2nd Overall


Buenos Aires Premio Grand Prix Gonzales 10 1st Overall


Buenos Aires Grand Prix Gonzales  1st Overall


Rio de Janeiro Grand Prix Gonzales  1st Overall


Buenos Aires Grand Prix Gonzales  2nd Overall


Sao Paulo Grand Prix Gonzales  3rd Overall


GP Ciudad de Buenos Aires Lopez  13th Overall

Ferrari 166 Formula Libre s/n 011F
Ferrari 166 Formula Libre s/n 011F
Ferrari 166 Formula Libre s/n 011F
Ferrari 166 Formula Libre s/n 011F
Ferrari 166 Formula Libre s/n 011F
Ferrari 166 Formula Libre s/n 011F
Ferrari 166 Formula Libre s/n 011F
Ferrari 166 Formula Libre s/n 011F
166 Formula Libre s/n 011F
166 Formula Libre s/n 011
166 Formula Libre s/n 011
Ferrari 166 Formula Libre s/n 011F
166 Formula Libre s/n 011F
166 Formula Libre s/n 011F
166 Formula Libre s/n 011F

Unit D, 200 Rickmansworth Road, Watford, Hertfordshire WDl8 7GL England


+44 (0)1923 255246


+44 (0)7798 851 981
Email - Jeremy Cottingham

Ferrari 166 Inter Vignale Coupe s/n 0065S
 Previous page
 Next page
The Classic and Sports Car Portal
Created with StudioLine Web

Tipo 166 F2/Formula Libre - Chassis 011F

Find your dream car !

... where you find your dream car