This engine goes to a very early Ferrari 166 that needs to be overhauled. The heads have some major cracks which is allowing coolant to completely fill a few cylinders. We’ll weld the heads and convert the original “hair pin” valve springs to coil type springs. I am sure it needs new connecting rods since it hydraulic locked a few times and the crankshaft is undercut so much that we may need to make a new one. We’ll get this thing back together eventually and see if she can spit hot flames once again.
After years of extremely taxing labor, we finally finished up the 1950 Ferrari 166 Touring Berlinetta in preparation for its maiden voyage, the 2013 Mille Miglia in Italy. It was an incredible task spearheaded by Casey who had more on his mind than just completing the car in time to catch a flight to Italy, he was going to celebrate his honeymoon in Italy after the Mille Miglia!
In 1999, a gentleman from Tennessee asked us to begin a restoration on this car and as we dug into it, he wanted everything modified. He wanted an alternator in place of the generator, he wanted fuel injection in place of the carburetors and insisted on aircraft wiring harness and “bear claw” door latches, the list went on and on. We suggested he buy a brand new BMW Z3 and drape a classic style Ferrari body on it but he didn’t think that this was a great idea. He wanted all of these modifications ANY take it to Ferrari shows such as the Cavallino Classic and win! He wanted to have his cake and eat it I guess. Anyhow, we couldn’t destroy this car so we dragged our feet for 10 years and eventually he asked us to sell the car.
The current owner asked us to put the car back together and paint it the original “Touring Blue” color that it was from new. This was a true body off restoration with not one screw or part that wasn’t thoroughly “massaged” and if we didn’t massage the original parts, we made new stuff, lots and lots of new stuff.
We bought brand new parts and restored them because they weren’t good enough such as the re-plating the new headlight rings because horrible chrome that was dull, and restoring the brand new push button start switch that didn’t work. The entire grille and front end was re-made since the car was crash damaged and had ’55 Ford headlights installed as well as the windshield surround that was too delicate to reuse.
This car was a labor of love and it brings me to one of my favorite subjects, Human Energy! There was so much Human emotion to dream up these cars and then tons of human effort to build them because every part is hand made and custom fitted to each car. Every day that we touched this car, we were in disbelief at how long it must have taken for it to be build. So, with all of that energy, we essentially built it all over again which takes even longer than building it the first time around!
Needless to say, the car in incredible and it drives very well. It completed the Mille Migila gracefully only needing a brake adjustment and a replacement distributor cap. It rained every day but the little blue coupe took the weather, the mountains, the stop and go pace through town with ease.
And Casey spent the following week in Italy with his lovely wife Jessica.
Here are two cars that have been together for over 50 years. The unfinished aluminum body is rumored to have been on Ferrari 340 America serial number 0030MT, a car raced for a number of years by the Marzotto team in the early 50′s. The red painted car, chassis number 0086 was a Marzotto Team car as well and in the mid-50′s the body (the bare aluminum one in the photo) came off the chassis 0030 and was fitted to 0086. Who the hell knows why but it looked ridiculous because chassis 0030 was inches longer than 0086 so the wheels didn’t line up in the fender openings.
In the 1952 Mille Miglia, chassis number 0086 was cloaked in a body identical to the one we made for the car which is shown in this photo. So I suppose these two Fontana cars will be together for another half-century or more.
Here are a series of photos of the block sanding process on the Ferrari 166 Touring Berlinetta. The sheet metal is all sorted and gaps are perfect but the body needs hundreds of hours of serious elbow grease (sanding) to make sure it is all straight as an arrow. Syl isn’t scared of the “mud”, he completely fills in all of the door and hood gaps allowing him to block sand right across them so when the light hits the highly polished top coat you won’t see any waves or change in reflection.
Even though the grill we made fit the opening in bare aluminum, Syl spends hours making it perfect with skim coats of body filler and attacks the headlight rim contact areas with the same level of perfection. There isn’t any room for error when working with super fine trim that is used all over this car like the delicate headlight rings and the low profile windshield and rear glass surrounds. Imagine these surrounds, start with a long section of 1/4″ aluminum rod and whittle it down so only a quarter of it is used. We re-made this trim because the delicate original material was destroyed when the car was disassembled.
Right now, the car is sealed up in high build primer with a blue tinted epoxy primer that seals the polyester filler from moisture and greasy finger prints. Now we have some more fitting here and there before it goes back to Syl’s shop to work out some more details such as the incredibly complex belt-line crown that goes from the headlight to the tail light..
We’ll probably have more hours in sanding and painting the dashboard that it would take to paint an entire late model car like a Mercedes or Honda. The dash on this car is a thing of beauty but it requires a perfectionist sicko to finish it because like the rest of the car, the trim that surrounds the gauges and switches are like string bikinis
This is so cool, it must be some sort of World War II Aircraft Manufacturing technique for welding aluminum by smashing it together that was used for cars. This trunk lid was made by Carrozzeria Touring in the late 1940′s and as much as I curse the way they build cars, this is some of the most amazing craftsmanship I have seen. Since it isn’t adding any new material its keeps the panel very light and super strong and without the heat of welding, the panel doesn’t warp and distort. I’m guessing that the force of smashing the two aluminum pieces together in a focused area causes enough heat to melt and stick them tight.
I’d like to see other examples of this attachment procedure and find out what it’s called.
Since I have the jigs, stainless steel tubing and motivation, I decided to stock up on some commonly used water pipes for Ferrari 250′s. The top photo is a mixture of trashed original parts and my re-made parts that attach to the water pump and have a barb for the heater return and a threaded boss for the thermostat bypass. The pipe in the next photo is a custom job for a repilca 250 that was sent to me for duplication. This part doesn’t follow any of my jigs so I made a crude jig to complete this order. I’ve done 4 pipes recently for 1962 Ferrari 250′s, an early 1962 GTE, a ’62 250 PF Cab and two 1962 Short Wheelbase Berlinetta. Even though they should all be the same, all 4 of these are significantly different with barbs going in different directions and the main bend radius unique from one to the other. I’d like to know how these were made originally because there isn’t any consistency in the style of construction or shape.
These headlight rims were purchased with headlights and buckets to “bolt in” to the front end of the Touring Body 1949 Ferrari 166 Coupe. The parts are beautiful and very expensive (even though the chrome plating is flaking off) but there is no way to secure them to the car! I have to make these brass tabs which will be soldered onto the rims so I can use a bolt to secure them to the bodywork. I drilled the holes in the parts for more surface area for the silver solder to adhere the tab to the rim. Once I am done I’ll send the rims to the engraver to have the delicate “Carello” script scanned into the computer so when they get re-chromed we can engrave this important detail back in. What an expensive detail!
If I were making a production run of something, this isn’t how I would do it. Ferrari made thousands of “250″ series cars all with these goofy water pipes for the cooling system which vary drastically throughout the 10 year production run. They are so complex and hard to duplicate that re-making them nearly impossible. This “J” shaped pipe has a compound curve with barbs that have to be welded on in exactly the right location even though they appear to be stitched on at random locations. If they are off one millimeter, they will hit the oil filter or run into the fan.
These pipes are for the Lusso/GTE series of 250, but I can make a number of other styles from 166 up through the 275 cars utilizing my incredible and growing stockpile of bends and flared ends. Right now I am making a short run of the water pipe that connects the thermostat housing to the engine on a 275 GTB/GTS Two-Cam engine.