The latest look at old classified advertisements features a Ferrari 196 S race car offered for sale in the April 1978 issue of Road & Trackmagazine for $45,000.
The Ferrari 196 S (1983 cc, 6 cylinders) was introduced in 1959 during the end of the front-engined sports car era. Although it was powered by Ferrari’s powerful F1 engine, it was quickly outclassed against the more advanced Cooper mid-engined race cars. Its Fantuzzi body was nothing short of stunning, however.
This particular Ferrari 196S, which we believe is chassis 0776TR, has enjoyed an illustrious group of owners over the years. These include, as the ad suggests, the racing Rodriguez brothers, plus Luigi Chinetti, Jo Siffert, Rob Walker, and presently Sir Anthony Bamford.
Chassis 0776TR’s racing success was not as impressive, with the Rodriguez brothers piloting 0776TR to a 7th place finish at the 1960 Targa Florio (despite being rolled) among other less notable finishes. While the results were generally disappointing, again the Ferrari was outclassed by the new mid-engined racers.
The Ferrari 196 S was produced is too small numbers to be listed in any current price guide. With that said, it is generally accepted to be part of the larger Ferrari Testarossa family which can lead to a decent guess at its current value. We approximate that it is worth between the 1957 Ferrari 500 TRC (4-cylinder) that did not sell at the Gooding & Co. Monterey auction for $3,200,000 and roughly $10,000,000 it would take to buy a 12-cylinder Ferrari 250 TR with a similar provenance.
Therefore, powered by Halloween candy and not much else, we estimate that a 1959 Ferrari 196 S would be valued at $6,000,000. If you bought the Ferrari for $45,000 in 1978, your purchase would have returned an annualized 18% over 30 years.