Monterey | Lot 352
1953 Ferrari 166 MM Spider Series II by Vignale
$3,855,000 USD | Sold
| Monterey, California
14 August 2021
- The fourth of six Vignale Spiders built on the second-series 166 MM; the 10th of 13 overall examples
- Extensive period competition history including the 1954 Mille Miglia; documented in a lengthy history report by Marcel Massini
- Comprehensive restoration by marque specialist DK Engineering completed in 2009
- Recipient of a Ferrari Classiche White Book in 2016, affirming its historical significance
- A rare and historically significant V-12 Ferrari competition spider ideal for participation in top-tier international motoring events
- A portion of the proceeds to benefit the Footprints Foundation Driven to Care program, in memory of John Weinberger
Ferrari achieved one of its earliest competition milestones at the 1948 Mille Miglia, when Clemente Biondetti and his mechanic Navone drove a 166 Sport to overall victory. The manufacturer soon honored its triumph with a new designation for a more purpose-built 166 variant called the 166 MM. Thirty-four examples of the 166 MM were built in a first series through late 1951 before being supplanted by a short run of 13 second-series cars with 2-liter V-12 engines, half of which were clothed with spider coachwork by Vignale.
The new spider featured a more rounded version of Michelotti’s original design highlighted by recessed headlamps, upward-cut front fenders, cut-down doors, and cut-away rear fenders for improved brake cooling. Intended primarily for privateer racing customers, the second-series 166 MM examples were exceedingly rare, and they constituted an important historical bridge between the early 166 model and the forthcoming 212.
CHASSIS NUMBER 0314 M: BUILT TO RACE
According to the research of marque expert Marcel Massini, chassis number 0314 M is the fourth of only six Vignale-built second-series spiders, and the 10th of 13 cars built overall. As one of the final examples constructed the car was fitted with several improvements developed in the factory’s competition program, including the gearbox, brakes, shock absorbers, and water radiators used in the 212 model, a rear axle from the 340 race car, and a large 117-liter competition fuel tank, as confirmed by factory build sheets.
After completing construction in spring 1953, this 166 MM was sold new to Edoardo Lualdi-Gabardi, an Italian textile entrepreneur who was soon to be one of the factory’s most regular preferred clients, eventually winning two Italian GT championships. Lualdi-Gabardi purchased and raced a dozen different Ferraris over the following 15 years, including four 250 GT Tour de Frances, two 250 GT SWB examples, a 250 LM, and two 250 GTOs.
Chassis 0314 M was the first Ferrari owned by Lualdi-Gabardi, and he entered the car in at least 10 Italian races over the next two years, including the 1953 Pescara 12 Hours and the 1954 Mille Miglia. The 166 MM debuted at the VIII Varese-Campo dei Fiori hillclimb in June 1953, where it finished 5th in class and 5th overall. Similarly competitive results followed, most notably with a 3rd-in-class finish at the Circuito di Senengallia in August 1953. Later that year the 166 MM was returned to the factory for engine upgrades, and the displacement was enlarged to 3 liters to match the new 250 MM engine specifications. It was also fitted with larger racing carburetors and a larger intake that necessitated a new hood with a raised scoop.
In May 1954 Lualdi-Gabardi sold the spider to fellow countryman Primo Pezzoli, who continued to campaign the car in local hillclimbs and sports car races during the following season. The car was sold by Pezzoli in April 1955, passing to a chain of six more Italian owners over the next seven years.
In August 1961, the Ferrari was spotted for sale by Helmut Frevel, a German shipwreck hunter and racing enthusiast vacationing in Italy. Frevel purchased the car and prepared it for further racing activities, which included fitting a one-piece windscreen and a soft top. Almost a year later the 166 MM finished 2nd in class at the Turckheim-Les Trois Epis hillclimb in France, a remarkable achievement given the model’s advanced age, and a testament to the longevity of the car’s design.
In 1963 Herr Frevel moved to South Africa to pursue one of his dreams, a quest to locate the wreck of the Grosvenor, an East Indiaman sailing ship that had sunk off the South African coast in 1782 while carrying Indian treasure. He brought 0314 M with him, and it became his daily driver in Pretoria over the next four years. In 1967 Frevel shipped the Ferrari back to Germany and it was then domiciled in Freiburg for an astounding 22 years. In late 1989 the well-preserved car was removed from storage and reintroduced to the enthusiast niche, becoming the centerpiece of feature articles in four different magazines, including the April/May 1990 issue of Cavallino.
LOST, FOUND, AND GLORIOUSLY REBORN
After 30 years of ownership Frevel finally sold the 166 MM in September 1991, and it passed to fellow German Peter Gläsel, who submitted the car to the esteemed marque specialists at DK Engineering in Great Britain for a comprehensive two-year restoration. Acquired in January 1998 by Stuttgart resident Walter Fink, the Ferrari was campaigned in the Mille Miglia Storica in 1999. Fink returned to the Mille Miglia a year later, but unfortunately 0314 M was stolen outside of the Hotel Majestic in Brescia, disappearing for nearly seven years.
In March 2007, the Ferrari was found at last, however it was missing many of its original components. After being purchased in March 2009 by British banker Phillip Hylander, the 166 MM was again submitted to DK Engineering for a comprehensive refurbishment. At this time, the paintwork was refinished in a two-tone color scheme, with Rosso used on the fenders and door tops, and Grigio aesthetically balancing the hood, trunk, lower doors, and dash panel. The interior was upholstered in sumptuous beige leather, combining for a breathtaking cosmetic appearance.
In order to more freely participate in the most prestigious motoring events worldwide, Mr. Hylander applied for and received both an FIA Historic Technical Passport and a FIVA Identity Card. The Spider was then presented at an assortment of international vintage rallies and concours d’elegance, including a return to the Mille Miglia in May 2010, participation in the Goodwood Revival four months later, and display at the 2012 Cavallino Classic (where it garnered the Peoples’ Choice Award).
In June 2012, the 166 MM was sold to quintessential Chicago “car guy” John Weinberger, the longtime owner of Continental Ferrari in Hinsdale, Illinois. While initially presenting the car at regional events and enjoying it on the 2012 Colorado Grand and the 2013 California Mille, Weinberger eventually wanted to return the spider to the highest possible state of authenticity. He therefore retained Ferrari Classiche to install proper mechanical components to match the specifications of its period drivetrain. Ferrari Classiche built and stamped a new 2-liter 166-specification engine, a 212-specification gearbox, and a 340-specification rear differential.
Following this exacting work, in July 2016 the factory issued a Ferrari Classiche White Book for vehicles of special historical significance (“Attestato per vetture di interesse storico”). As clarified by Lucia Giglio of Ferrari Classiche in correspondence with the owner, “Only very special cars with well documented history can achieve the Attestato”, and furthermore “the “White Book” gives [the] car a much greater value than the ‘Red Book.’” To highlight the achievement of its refurbishment to original standards, 0314 M was presented at the first Ferrari Classiche Concours d’Elegance in Daytona Beach, held in conjunction with the Finali Mondiali in December 2016. The car was also displayed at Casa Ferrari in Pebble Beach during the 2017 Monterey Car Week, participating in the manufacturer’s 70th Anniversary commemorative celebration.
The unique 166 MM Spider Series II is now offered to its next caretaker. It is perfectly poised for presentation at major worldwide concours d’elegance and Ferrari events, claiming rarity, period competition history, and refurbishment to its original specifications per the demanding standards of Ferrari Classiche. Further bolstered by the rare factory-issued Attestato, and documented with factory build sheets, invoices from DK Engineering, and an extensive history report from Marcel Massini, 0314 M would make a superb acquisition for nuanced marque enthusiasts or specialists in 1950s racing spiders, affording a rare opportunity to acquire a foundational element of the Maranello legend.
A portion of the proceeds from this sale will benefit The Footprints Foundation Driven to Care program (www.driventocare.org) and MD Anderson’s research in multiple myeloma. Lisa Weinberger established these programs in John Weinberger’s memory.
Driven to Care is dedicated to providing scholarships for those pursuing careers in automotive engineering, vintage automobile restoration, skilled automotive trades, and automotive dealership management, marketing, and communications.