The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, held Sunday, August 16th, 2009, will host some of the rarest, most illustrious Ferraris ever built, including ten 1949 166 MM Touring Barchettas and the world’s four remaining Ferrari TR 59 race cars.
For many automotive historians, the sleek, compact styling of the 1949 166 MM Touring Barchettas helped to define the Ferrari brand, creating its legend and mystique and drawing legions of fans worldwide. Just 25 of these cars were built and the Concours will reunite 10 of them.
“The 166 MM Touring Barchetta was the first beautiful Ferrari and fundamental to the brand’s success,” said David Seielstad, a Ferrari historian and expert on the 166 MM. “There was nothing cooler on the Cote d’Azur than the V12 ‘little boat’ for swanning around in the early 1950s. Its styling was unlike anything seen before and has influenced the design of vehicles from the AC Bristol to the latest Ferrari California.”
Ferrari’s 166 MM Touring Barchetta was also one of its most successful race cars, winning at competitions such as the 1949 Mille Miglia (this the MM in its name) and the 1949 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Ferrari TR 59 also won a number of major races, including its 1959 debut at Sebring and the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1960. All four existing TR 59s, of the five ever built, will be displayed in August at Pebble Beach, chronicling the modifications this works racer experienced during two seasons of Ferrari racing.
The TR 59 featured a tubular chassis with coachwork designed by Pinin Farina and built by Fantuzzi. It was more powerful, lower and lighter than previous Testa Rossa models, and incorporated newer technologies, including disc brakes and coil valve springs. By the following race season, modifications to the TR 59’s windshield, turning radius, transmission, conversion to a dry sump engine and the addition of a small trunk and windshield wipers significantly changed the works racer’s appearance.
“The TR 59 is one of the most exciting, beautiful sports-racing cars ever built,” said Ed Gilbertson, Ferrari expert and Chief Judge at the Pebble Beach Concours. “Everything you’d expect to see in a great early racing car, from scoops and rivets to elegant curvature, is exemplified by the TR 59. Each one is unique, and discerning spectators at Pebble Beach will see their differences as the cars are lined up side-by-side according to their evolution.”