09 February, 2017

The Ferrari Uovo may be a lesser known model from the famous Maranello manufacturer but it is one with a very interesting back story and in case you were wondering, it’s ingeniously named after the Italian word for egg. No prizes for guessing why.

The car is due to go on sale at RM Sotheby’s Monterey auction in August for a massive £4.4m but in the meantime, let’s take a look at the story behind such a unique car.

It’s full name is the Ferrari 166MM/212 Export Uovo and it’s had quite the history, originally built for the heir to a massive fashion and textile business, Count Giannino Marzotto. The Marzotto family very close to Enzo Ferrari and bought a number of race cars from him over the years.

Marzotto was also quite the driver and at 22, he became the youngest driver ever to win the Mille Miglia in 1950 when he famously took the checkered flag. However, if that feat wasn’t impressive enough, he also beat the soon to be 5 time Formula 1  world champion, Juan Manuel Fangio, by a more than 20 minutes and all whilst wearing a perfectly tailored, double-breasted suit.

Prior to the 1950 race, Marzotto was testing the Ferrari 195 but complained of it being slow compared to the 166 that he had used previously. Suspicious of this lack of performance, he consulted Enzo Ferrari and it came to light that a Ferrari engineer by the name of Luigi Bazzi had restricted the engine’s performance to protect both the young Marzotto and the 195.

Bazzi eventually restored the car to its full power and the rest became history, as Marzotto drove the car to victory beating both the Jaguar XK120 and the fearsome Alfa Romeo 6C Competizione.

Racing must run in Marzotto blood as Giannino was one of four brothers to compete in the 1950 race, Vittorio finishing 9th in another 195 S and Umberto and Paolo also taking part driving 166MMs instead.

Enzo Ferrari was famously very proud and difficult to criticize, a certain Ferruco Lamborghini brought the shortcomings of Ferrari’s inferior clutches to Enzo’s attention but his concerns were quickly dismissed.

That was until Lamborghini successfully modified one of his personal Ferrari 250GTs to outperform stock models, before leading him to launch his own rival car company.

More than a decade earlier, however, Marzotto had approached Enzo Ferrari to discuss the aerodynamic properties of the current Ferrari race cars and was, of course, told that they were perfect from an indignant Enzo.

Now we are beginning to get to how the Uovo got it’s name, Marzotto was adamant that he could improve the car and show Ferrari the power of aerodynamics so he turned to sculptor Franco Reggiani and coachbuilder Paolo Fontana to prove his point.

Equipped with a race car featuring an ultra-sleek aluminium body bolted to a 166MM chassis and powered by a 2.6L Ferrari 212 Export engine churning out 165bhp, they entered the 1951 Mille Miglia and roared into a 10-minute lead after 370 miles.

That’s when things started to go wrong, a series of troubling noises would force the Uovo’s eventual retirement. The story goes that the car was in fact in fine mechanical condition and it was, in fact, a delaminated tyre that had caused the issue.

The car would go on to prove its racing pedigree when, with an improved 185bhp and no tyre troubles, it won the Giro di Toscana before going on to spend some time in the Ferrari Museum.

We are currently running a classic car auction ending 28th February featuring a host of fantastic classic, prestige and sports cars to include the world’s fastest E-Type, the only 1954 Chevrolet Corvette in the UK and a one of a kind Porsche 993.

Find it here.