The ex-Franco Cornacchia/ 1951 Tour de France entrant

1951 Ferrari 195 (for restoration)

An evolution of the original 166 recipe, Ferrari's Tipo 195 is one of the epoch-making first generation from the great Italian marque, first entering production in 1950. Its chassis, like the 166, was a cross-braced ladder frame with two oval main tubes, double wishbone and transverse leaf front suspension and a live axle and transverse leaf spring at the rear. Gioacchino Colombo's classic V12 engine was bored out from 1995cc to 2341cc which saw power climb to 170 bhp in racing tune. Front and rear track were unaltered from the 166 Sport at 1270mm (front) and 1250mm (rear).

In the combined Targa Florio and Tour of Sicily in 1950, Alberto Ascari's 195 dominated until forced to retire at half distance. Raymond Sommer and Dorino Serafini in a 195 berlinetta led the early hours at Le Mans and shattered the lap record until forced out with a broken dynamo bracket. Gianni Marzotto's 195 won the Dolomite Cup, Serafini took the Tour of Calabria and Giovanni Bracco the Italian Mountain Climb Championship.

Since Ferrari has never made its own bodies, customers ordered directly from the carrozziere of their choice, and there was a roughly even split between those who chose an open barchetta or spyder and those who opted for a closed berlinetta or coupe. It was a debate highlighted by the finest hour of the 195 – first and second in the 1950 Mille Miglia.

It was an extremely wet race which Gianni Marzotto's berlinetta led for most of the way. He arrived in Brescia just over seven minutes ahead of Dorino Serafini's barchetta, but what a contrast. Serafini was cold, bedraggled, soaked to the skin. After nearly 14 hours in the car, Marzotto emerged looking immaculate in a double breasted suit with contrasting waist coat, silk shirt and tie, and without a hair on his head out of place since a crash helmet was not compulsory. It was one of the most stylish gestures in the history of motor racing – a triumph for Ferrari, Marzotto, and his tailor.

This Ferrari 195, chassis '0123S', was supplied new to faithful Ferrari dealer and racer Franco Cornacchia whose Milan-based Scuderia Guastalla was one of the factory's most active early entrants. Cornacchia chose Touring of Milan to body his car and opted for the firm's trademark coupe style, reprising stylistic themes from both the berlinetta and the barchetta but better suited to a dual purpose sports/ grand touring role. The factory's Certificate of Origin was issued on 17th April 1951 and the price paid for the new car was recorded as a princely Lire 3,300,000. It appears that Cornacchia already had a client in mind for the Ferrari as just a few days later it was entered for the Tulip Rally in Holland by Roy Clarkson and Leslie Onslow Bartlett who, with race no. '182', drove their new acquisition home to 31st overall. An article the following week in the British magazine Autosport showed the car with temporary Italian licence plates 'BO4130'.

5th May saw Roy Clarkson again at the wheel of chassis '0123S', this time for the fiercely contested Production Car Race at Silverstone. Here, with race number '8' painted on its shapely flanks and showing the UK registration 'QD3936', the Ferrari competed against a strong field but its final placing is not known. Later that month Italian records indicate that the car was re-registered on Milan plates, although given the delay due to Italian bureaucracy it is probable this procedure had been started before the car was sold to England. At the beginning of June the Ferrari was again called into action, this time for the annual RAC International Rally with Roy Clarkson again piloting, this time with race no. '81' (result unknown). Its most important event, however, was the 1st Tour de France, a grueling challenge for man and machine which lasted from 30th August to 12th September 1951 although, alas, 'our' faithful 195 with Roy Clarkson partnered by co-driver Weisbarol were not recorded among the finishers.

The following year '0123S' was advertised for sale on p.341 of the Dutch magazine Auto Revue, and just a week later ownership was transferred from Scuderia Guastalla to Boris Said, resident in Milan. Soon the car was on its way across the Atlantic where it passed through the hands of one Phil Bagley before spending many years with Arnold Rudolph and Peter Zorn, both in Ohio, before purchase by popular enthusiast Gerry Sutterfield in Florida. The previous owner's chosen mode of storage had been outside under an avocado tree so it's not surprising that when Gerry sold the car in May 1990 to the present owner the bodywork was in a sorry state.

The Ferrari was imported to the UK with all taxes paid and a complete restoration was embarked upon. Leading Ferrari specialist Bob Houghton was commissioned to perform a mechanical rebuild. The chassis was sandblasted and painted in primer; the engine was dismantled but new parts (incl. Carillo pistons and liners) were acquired and are with the car; a single Weber carburetor is present; the distributors are new as is the dynamo; the starter motor was rebuilt; the original gearbox was rebuilt; the suspension (stub axles, Houdaille shocks, leaves etc) is believed complete but requires rebuilding; the brake drums have new liners and the shoes are present; the back axle was rebuilt; the dashboard switches are present but like the dash lights need restoring whilst the instruments were rebuilt; the steering wheel, window winding mechanism and seat frames are present; the Borrani wheels were replaced but have not yet been located. The body, apart from the boot lid and badges, was discarded. Due to force majeure, the project was laid up and is now available for public sale on behalf of its owner of the past 16 years.

Considering the prices attained recently in both private sales and auctions by rebodied barchettas, (usually based on pedestrian saloons with no racing history and mismatched components) and by early Ferraris with genuine closed coachwork, we feel that this car offers the Ferrari collector the choice of either restoring it to its original Touring coupe configuration, in which case it should be eligible for all the major historic events (Mille Miglia, Tour Auto, Shell Ferrari-Maserati Challenge etc), or as a faithful recreation of the 195 Touring barchettas which raced so actively in the early 1950s. We have obtained quotes for both options from Carrozzeria Bacchelli & Villa in Bastiglia (Modena) and these are available for inspection, as are Bob Houghton's bills (totaling £21,397.00).
A major but potentially extremely rewarding project with a very attractive upside.