Close but no Cigar!

Enzo Ferrari believed that horsepower was all.  A chassis was merely something in which to sit a powerful engine and on which a beautifully shaped aluminium body could sit.  This philosophy served Ferrari well throughout the 1950s but as that decade drew to a close, three marques (Cooper, Lotus and Porsche) began building successful racing cars in which chassis design, low weight and weight distribution were brought to the fore.   Engine power was almost incidental but the position of the engine, behind the driver, was crucial.   Ferrari’s cars became outmoded and outclassed almost overnight.  Ferrari was stubborn but not stupid and soon his mid-engined Dino Grand Prix and sports racing cars were taking on – and often beating – Cooper, Lotus and Porsche at their own game.   While conceding the technicalities around the location of the engine, Ferrari still held fast to the idea of a racing car as a thing of beauty and the Dino 196SP, seen here, is no exception.  An all-star driver line up of Bandini, Scarfiotti and Mairesse fought hard throughout the 1963 Targa Florio but missed victory by just 12 seconds to the Porsche 718GT of Jo Bonnier and Carlo Mario Abate  over the tortuous Sicilian course.  By the end of the decade, the rivalry between the two marques reached its zenith – producing the 512 and 917 series’ respectively which engaged in some of the most exciting races of all time.        


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