Unique 1950 Ferrari 166MM/212 Export ‘Uovo’ to star in the 2024 Salon Privé Concours

1955Ferrari166MM212Export'Uovo'FrontLeftThreeQuarterview
1955Ferrari166MM212Export'Uovo'FrontLeftThreeQuarterview

A unique 1950 Ferrari 166MM/212 Export ‘Uovo’ is to be a headline attraction at this summer’s Salon Privé Concours presented by Aviva Private Clients at Blenheim Palace, 28-29 August. ‘Uovo’ is Italian for ‘egg’, which perfectly describes this futuristic car’s attention-grabbing design, and its presence at the UK’s most exclusive automotive garden party is certain to cause a stir.  

Described as one of the most famous Ferraris ever built, it was created by a young and enthusiastic team as an ultra-aerodynamic one-off designed to perform better in high-speed road races such as the Mille Miglia. Racing driver Giannino Marzotto (a two-time Mille Miglia winner) was the driving force behind ‘Uovo’. He admired Ferrari’s V12 engines but was certain that improved aerodynamics could unlock even more performance. So, with his brother Vittorio, he placed an order for two Ferrari 212 Export chassis, to be delivered with engines and running gear, but without bodywork.

He discussed his ideas with coachbuilder Paolo Fontana, plus talented young engineer and designer Franco Reggiani. The idea for a sleek, low and rounded coupé, backed up by a very rigid frame that would ensure the suspension could work without undue disturbance from rough roads started to take shape. Reggiani, who had worked in the aeronautical industry during the war was eager to achieve a lightweight car of a beautiful shape, with a steeply reclined windscreen and a rounded, tapered profile. Despite it being incredibly difficult to work with, he crafted the bodywork using ‘Peraluman’, a lightweight aluminium alloy incorporating magnesium. Reggiani designed a low nose, a narrow body to slip through the air and pronounced and rounded front and rear wings framing a slim cockpit. Uniquely, instead of traditional A-pillars, the car had braided steel cables that held the roof in place, while the windscreen was shallow (and made from Perspex, rather than glass). He also positioned the driver’s seat towards the rear of the car following guidance from Enzo Ferrari that sitting towards the rear helps the driver have a better perfection of oversteer.

Although Marzotto had ordered 212 Export chassis, they were late in arriving, so they used an existing 166 MM Touring Barchetta chassis. When the two 212 Exports finally turned up, the engine was removed from one of them to be fitted in the new car. It was based on the original 1.5-litre V12 Ferrari, but now had a capacity of 2.6 litres, and produced 190bhp.

A key feature of the Uovo was its extra-large fuel tank, configured with long-distance road races in mind, which allowed the driver to cover more than 300 miles between stops. This was a key factor in doing so well in the 1951 Mille Miglia and in scoring its breakthrough victory at the 1951 Coppa della Toscana.  It then scored a memorable victory in the 1952 Trento-Bondone, driven by Giulio Cabianca and subsequently spent a few years racing in North America, before being retired into a private collection.

This unique car appeared as one of the legends of the marque at Ferrari’s 50th anniversary celebrations at the Museo Enzo Ferrari in 1997, but ‘Uovo’ remains a concours rarity so the 2024 Salon Privé Concours presented by Aviva Private Clients provides a rare opportunity to inspect this car up close.

“This exceptional car has been something of an undiscovered gem for decades,” said Salon Privé Concours Chairman Andrew Bagley. “It is an icon that has spent its life largely hidden behind closed doors, so I am thrilled that we have secured it to be one of the star draws at Blenheim Palace this August. I know it will be a memorable attraction for our guests, who will relish the opportunity to finally see this wonderfully unique and iconic Ferrari up close.”

Entries are almost closed for the 19th edition of the Salon Privé Concours presented by Aviva Private Clients, with entries only now accepted for the following classes:

  • Porsche ‘RS’ Pre-2004
  • Legendary Liveries

Those who would like to enter a car into the 2024 Salon Privé Concours presented by Aviva Private Clients should contact Concours Coordinator Nick Wilkes on +44 (0) 7795 213 361 or on: [email protected]

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