In the 1950s, Ferrari was all about racing and built a wide range of vehicles to participate in varying classes. One of the more rare models was the Ferrari 225 Sport, which only had 20 total units built until 1952. This model also acted as the stepping stone toward Ferrari’s leap in to the famed 3.0-liter V-12 engines.
Even rarer is the 225 Sport Spyder ‘Tuboscocca’ whose body was manufactures by the esteemed Alfredo Vignale. Not only is the body very much functional for racing, but it also screams sheer elegance. What’s even more impressive is that only 12 of these 225 Sport Spyders ever existed.
This retro racer has a storied racing history dating back to its first race on October 11, 1952 at the Bologna-Raticosa hill climb, where it took home 1st place. After its 2nd place run in 1963, this 225S Spyder went into storage for 17 years until it was exported to Italy, restored in 1983 and began racing in vintage races around the world.
The 1983 restoration was its final one, as it is currently being offered for sale via RM auctions in Monoco. It is due to be sold on May 12, 2012 and will likely fetch a rather pretty penny.
UPDATE 05/16/2012: The 1952 Ferrari 225 Sport Spyder Toboscocca was sold in Monaco for an impressive €2,520,000 (about $3.2 million).
Click past the jump to read our full review and see how much this car will fetch.
As we let you in on earlier, the body of this beautiful machine was designed and manufactured by the fames Alfredo Vignale. Its last restoration in 1983 brought it to this beautiful deep red tone that you will see today. As with all Ferrari racecars of its day, it features wire wheels at each corner.
There are three portholes on the front fenders, just behind the rear wheels – no they are not the stick-on type you can pick up at Auto Zone – to help extract heat. On the rear quarters there are two air inlets that keep the rear brakes cool.
On the rear you have a rounded backside with snake-eye-style brake lights. You also get dual exhaust, of course.
In order to make this car a little more driveable, it has a full-length windscreen installed.
Overall, this exterior is flat out sexy. There are few things in this world that are more beautiful that a 1950s Ferrari, especially one with the Vignale touch applied to it.
On the inside you can really tell that this car was setup for racing and that’s about it. You have two racing seats, which are nicely upholstered. You also get a wood-trimmed and rather large steering wheel, which you’ll need with it lacking modern amenities, like power steering. The rest of the interior includes simple instrumentation, a lot of metal and the obligatory fire extinguisher in case you happen to start a Ferrari BBQ.
It also includes a center-mounted rearview mirror, something that was not necessarily common in 1950s racecars.
Engine and Drivetrain
When most people hear the term “V-12” they think 500+ horsepower and a rocket of a car, but keep in mind this is a 1950s V-12 not a 2012. This compact V-12 engine displaces only 2,715 cc and cranks out 215 horsepower, which was rather high for its class in the 1950s. What’s even more awesome is the fact that all of the engine numbers match up to the 0192 ET chassis number, making this a true original.
In the era that the 1952 Ferrari 225 Sport Spyder ‘Tuboscocca’ by Alfredo Vignale raced in, the most common transmission to see was a four-speed manual. This was a true oddity, as it has a five-speed Tipo 212 gearbox, which was originally built in on March 12, 1952. This gives a buyer the opportunity to even drive this car in a non-racing environment without excessive engine noise, barring the final drive ratio – the axle ratio – being excessively short.
Overall, the drivetrain on this beast is impressive. No, it is not a powerhouse, but its compact size and lightweight are a perfect match for its small V-12. Like we said before, the best thing is that all of the drivetrain numbers match up to the chassis number.
Suspension and Brakes
Likely the biggest issues with classic racecars from the 1940s and 50s are the brakes and suspension systems. Engines continuously became more powerful, but little thought was given to these important handling components. Ferrari is one of the exceptions here, as despite the fact that its double wishbone, transverse lower leaf spring front suspension may seem rudimentary to us, it was modern for its time.
This suspension system features the double wishbone suspension we are all to familiar with, which is one upper and one lower control arm with a shock absorber in between them, which allows it to absorb bumps while keeping maximum tire tread on the ground and allows the two sides of the vehicle to move independently. With the addition of the transverse lower leaf spring into the system, this helps stabilize the entire front end, by preventing excessive wheel hop.
The rear suspension is the classic live axle and dual leaf-spring suspension seen in almost all cars of its era. Granted it was manufactured for racing, but it is still rather low-tech. That simply adds to its driving character though.
The other old-to-us system is the four-wheel drum brake system. Yes, drum brakes are the oldest form of brakes in the automotive realm, but in the 1950s many of these systems had hydraulic front brakes and mechanical rears, making the vehicle nosedive like a gunned-down fighter jet when stopping. The 1952 Ferrari 225 Sport Spyder ‘Tuboscocca’ by Alfredo Vignale has an all-hydraulic drum brake system, helping to better even out the braking power, preventing nosedive and lowering stopping distances.
An often overlooked component in handling is the contraction of the frame. The 225 Sport Spyder ‘Tuboscocca’ by Alfredo Vignale tubular outer frame rails with trusses – like the roof of a house – connecting the two tubular frame rails. This gives the Ferrari a strong frame that helps reduce body distortion and improves handling significantly.
Well, with exception to the 1967 Ferrari TRC Spyder we reviwed the other day, there is little competition. The TRC Spyder is not an original machine, though, so it is more built for a person looking to race it. This 225 Sport Spyder ‘Tuboscocca’ is 100% original, sans the paint, so it can work either as a vintage racer or as a collector’s item.
If you are truly concerned about its price, the 225 Sport Spyder ‘Tuboscocca’ is likely out of your price range. RM Auctions anticipates a sale price ranging from €1,800,000 to €2,200,000 ($2,381,393 to $2,910,591). So if you are heading to Monaco to toss a bid on this classic ride, you might want to hit up the ATM first…
Plain and simple, the 1957 Ferrari 225 Sport Spyder ‘Tuboscocca’ by Alfredo Vignale is simply amazing. Not only are you getting an extremely rare car, but you are getting one that is extremely close to its original form.
To boot, this car actually has the power to run with today’s compact roadsters, like the Mazda MX-5, in a straight line, so it is still a fun car to drive. There is no information given as to whether or not this classic roadster is street legal or not, but we would assume it is or could be with mild modifications. The only issue we see is that there are no bumpers, but the NHTSA did not pass a law requiring bumpers until 1971, so the 225 Sport Spyder ‘Tuboscocca’ by Alfredo Vignale would be grandfathered in.
Our opinion is that if you are a collector or a traditionalist vintage racer looking for an awesome and original racer to race or show, this 225 Sport Spyder ‘Tuboscocca’ by Alfredo Vignale is your pick. However, if you are looking for more of a rocket, the 320-horsepower Ferrari 625 TRC Spyder is a better choice.