ART CLASSIC CARS
ASA - FERRARI Vetroresina 1966
"One of one"
This is the one and only ASA-Ferrari berlinetta with Vetroresina bodywork. She is a mystery :
Is she the car raced by the factory at the Targa Florio 1966...
or a prototype version of the 411 with fibreglass body?
History of the Asa-Ferrari berlinetta
Ferrari or ASA ? Chassis and engine have been designed by Ferrari engineers in Maranello.
1963 Geneva Motor show
The sign says: "du prototype de Ferrari à la série..." , which means "from the Ferrari prototype to the production car"
One cannot put it more clearly: the ASA is a Ferrari, assembled and sold by ASA, a small Company created for the circumstance
When Enzo Ferrari
presented its first 4-cylinder 1-litre engine in 1959, Ferrari had already
recorded many successes with 4-cylinder racing engines : two World Championship
Titles in F2, and many victories with the 750 Monza, and 500 Testa Rossa, all
with four cylinders engines. This architecture, designed by Aurelio Lampredi,
was one of the most effective during the period 1952-1958 for Ferrari.
This small straight-4 all-alloy OHC engine was soon fitted into a Berlinetta, designed by no less than Giotto Bizzarrini for the chassis, Chiti and Colombo (engine) and Giugiaro (Bertone) for the style... A pure Ferrari thoroughbred ! It is important to remember that this engine is the one and only Ferrari engine with a 1-litre displacement, and one of the most powerful (in terms of power/litre), actually more HP/litre than the 275 GTB.
the last moment, Enzo decided however to entrust the sale of his brainchild to
ASA, a newly formed company, headed by one of Enzo's friends. This wonderful GT
toook part in famous races like Targa Florio, with very
encouraging results, and racing ASA models raced at Sebring, Daytona, and Le
Mans... The Ferrari DNA was truly there.
Only around 95 berlinettas and 11 spiders were built before ASA sadly had to close in 1967. Remaining examples in good condition are probably less than 50 - another reason why they are so sought-after by Collectors.
The first prototype of the small Ferrari (left) was powered by the 850cc first engine, and road-tested under an anonymous bodywork...
Right : the Ferrari factory book lists the second version, 1032cc, as delivering 97 HP @ 7000 t/mn : more HP / litre than the 275 GTB/4 !
Left : the 1-litre ASA engine designed and built by Ferrari is actually "one third" of the 3-litre Ferrari 250 V12 "Colombo" (right)
ASA in competition
Targa Florio 1965 (left) : two production ASA 1000 take 17th and 22nd position overall. Amazing for the 1st attempt of a road-car in one of the toughest races
Right: in the very difficult Rallye Jolly-Hotels (2650 km on mountain roads), the ASA 1000 takes the 9th place out of 55 participants
Left: the prototype 1000 GTC designed by Bizzarrini, showing clearly the Ferrari 250 GTO DNA
Right, 24 H du Mans 65 : the ASA prototype RB 411 retired. The car N°61 was sold 297.000 € by Artcurial in July 2012
Left : 24H du Mans 65. Right : Suzy Dietrich and the ASA RB 411 at Daytona in 1967 - Note the prancing horse on the door.
The ASA RB at Daytona in 1967
Left & centre : an ASA with Ferrari cam cover, was tested by Olivier Gendebien, Scuderia driver, 4 times Le Mans winner on Ferrari. Note the Ferrari badge on the wheel.
Right: Enzo Ferrari just before driving an ASA prototype. The 1000GT had side vents, later dropped on the following "411" model.
Two beauties: left, Ferrari 275 GTS (Pininfarina 1965) ; right ASA-Ferrari (Giugiaro 1963), "designed on the track, made for the road"
ASA FERRARI "Vetroresina" (1966)
This intriguing ASA berlinetta, the only one with Vetroresina bodywork, bears the last Chassis Number
Is she the Works car raced at the Targa Florio in 1966 ?
...or a prototype based on the late 411 model, but with lightweight Vetroresina bodywork ?
This berlinette would then have announced - ten years in advance - the famous Ferrari 308 GTB "Vetroresina"
Magnificent Ferrari-style dashboard is very well preserved. Right: Borrani two-metal spare wheel and aluminum fuel tank
For any Collector, retracing the History of an unknown car is always a most exciting task, especially when it concerns a Ferrari-designed berlinette, hand-built in tiny numbers !
The ASA 1000 GT has always fascinated Ferrari enthusiasts. The model shares the "non-Ferrari" name and "non-cavallino" badge with the Dino 246 GT, in both case for an obvious reason: the Commendatore didn't dare to alter the image of his powerful V12 sports-cars. However, the Dino prestige today shows that Enzo was wrong, since all Maranello (Enzo era) cars are now highly sought-after, regardless of their four, six, or twelve-cylinder engine. A Dino 246 with its V6 is actually two times more expensive than a V12 powered 330 GT, and three times the price of a 365 GT4 2+2 for example.
And when you find a "forgotten" Ferrari-designed ASA somewhere in the United States, stopped for decades, and looking like a race-prepared car, your heart starts beating faster. Actually, there is no certainty about the orign of this unique Vetroresina ASA : is she the race car raced by Giorgio Pianta at the Targa Florio '66 as mentioned in Franco Varisco's book, or a prototype for a special version of the late ASA 411 ?
ASA production (models for the road)
First of all, let's summarise the short-lived ASA production :
- one hundred ASA 1000 GT berlinetta - all steel-bodied,
- four 411, all with aluminum bodywork by Marazzi. The 411 was very close to the 1000 GT but with slightly bigger engine, reclined headlights, an air scoop on the front hood, and no side vents.
- only the ASA spider, of which a dozen were built, had a vetroresina (glassfibre) body.
Historian Franco Varisco wrote that ASA considered a vetroresina bodywork for the 411, but nobody had ever seen such a car ever built - so far...
ASA racing history facts
For their first Targa Florio in 1965, the two ASA-Ferrari did very well, taking 3rd and 4th position in class, 17th and 21st overall.
Then in 1966, ASA entered three cars: a berlinetta 411, the new racing model 1000 GTC (knick-named “small GTO” due to its shape), and a berlinetta 1000 GT with 1800 cc engine. Historian Franco Varisco describes this latter car as follows: “the ASA 1000GT driven by Pianta and Moretti [was] fitted with a plastic bodywork and a new 1800 cc engine”. This is the only mention of an ASA berlinetta with fibreglass bodywork, hence the the hypothesis that the car that we offer for sale could be this Targa-Florio 1800 race car, later retrofitted with standard 1-litre engine ; but it could also very well be a one-off prototype for a possible vetroresina version of the short-lived 411.
Left: the 1800 ASA at the 1966 Targa Florio. Right: the vetroresina car for sale, same unique combination of reclined headlights AND side air vents.
On all production ASA, it's either side vents (1000 GT & Spider) OR reclined headlights (411).
This car, race # 202, retired after a crash, not too severe though, as seen on the pictures. No records exist after the race but it was clearly not damaged to the point of being wrecked. What happened then ? Since it was, apart from the bigger engine, similar to a production car, it is probable that the Targa-Florio car was retro-fitted with a standard engine, and once the bodywork was repaired, sold to a client.
To support this hypothesis, our car is the only ASA Berlinetta known with fiberglass body ; it also has actually the same rare reclined headlights (found only on the rare 411 model). Also, it bears the last S/N known: #01302, which suggests that the car was the very last sold, probably just before the Company had to close, so as to pay the last bills. This is what could have happened, if the damaged Targa Florio car had been parked somewhere in the factory, and never raced again - and then, when the Company failed, re-commissioned and sold to bring in some cash.
Also, let's mention that some historians suggest that the 1800cc Targa Florio car was not in glassfibre but in aluminum, which would mean that this vetroresina example is not the race car. And in that case, it would be a one-off 411 prototype with vetroresina body - a "prequel" of the Ferrrai 308 GTB Vetroresina 1976 !...In either case, the Vetroresina Asa berlinetta is indeed absolutely unique in History, as far as we know.
One specific combination of details suggests strongly that this ASA is the Targa Florio car : excactly as the race car, she has the distinctive reclined headlights of the 411, and the front side air vents of the 1000 GT... Whilst the standard 1000 GT don't have reclined headlights, and standard 411 don't have side vents...The only ASA known which combine such headlights and side vents is the Targa Florio car.
As far as the engine hood, which is different, this part can be replaced easily so it may not be a decisive fact ; also, the air scoop could possibly have been added later.
Since there is no official record to definitely confirm which hypothesis is true, it would be extremely exciting to do even more research so as to find additional documents about the history of this very unique ASA-Ferrari.
Cockpit is stripped from carpets and fitted with sports seats. Window trim and frames are in aluminum, whilst normally made of steel on the ASA 1000 GT
Condition of the car for sale
The car needs a restoration, but nevertheless appears to be healthy, well-preserved and complete. Bodywork is of course very good, as well as glasswork, and aluminum-made bezels around the windows. Chassis doesn' look damaged, and engine appears to be complete, not seized, with Weber carburetors looking in good condition, exhaust, and original gearbox/transmission. The spare wheel is still in the rear boot.
Engine bay in suprisingly well preserved condition, and period bucket-seats.
Possibly a factory 411 prototype, or even better: the Targa Florio 1966 race car. Who will dig out the true History of this ASA-Ferrari ?
This car has a French title and European Taxes have been paid. We can deliver our Classics to any Country in the world.
PRICE : 150.000 €
AUTODROME PARIS - Specialist Lamborghini - Ferrari - Aston-Martin - Pagani - Tel: +33 (0)630 096 491 / +33 (0)145 311 249