Intrigued with the notion of a miniature bolide bearing his name, Enzi Ferrari proudly unveiled a diminutive engine late in 1959. The 854, which stood for shorthand the four cylinder 850cc engine. You know this type and line of car well. A replica of the Ferrari 250 line was used in the 1986 film “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” In the movie, the replica Ferrari 250 was the characters Cameron Frye’s dad’s car. Interestingly enough the automotive company that produced the replica 250 sports car , was later sued by Ferrari for the unlawful use of the Ferraro logos . Later forcing the replica company to shut down to avoid further legal action and potential financial judgments against itself So much for copying the rich and famous.
The most famous Ferrari 250 of them all was the 250 GTO. Often called the “First Supercar” this led to the radically restyled GTO/64 in 1864 of which only 39 cars were ever built. .
The diminutive 853 went resembled a section of the 250GT’s SOHC V-12 engine right down to the characteristic black crinkle paint on its tiny valve cover.
After several false starts, a prototipo appeared at the prestigious 1961 Turin Automobile show. Called the Mille (for 1000), the petite fastback’s lines were drawn by the then rising Bertone star Giorgetto Giugiaro. No Ferrari badges were evident, but cognoscenti knew Maranello was responsible for the twin Weber, 96 barrel horse power (bhp) one liter engine. The tubular chassis (a miniature Ferrari knockoff) was designed by Giotto Bizzarini himself.
Ferrari himself had no plans to finance the venture. Driving a proptype around enthusiastically, the “old man” sought other partners for that purpose. His well known legendary showmanship worked. Exactly one year later, the little car reappeared at Turin, now badged as a Ferrari ASA 1000GT, sponsored by a trio of well known racing drives – ingegnere Bizzarini and a corporate sponsor.
Yet again after several more false starts, production models finally bowed in 1964. Luckily for American motor vehicle enthusiasts and consumes most of these special little sports cars were destined for the U.S. sports automotive markets. The American Ferrari distributor of the time, Luigi Chinetti offered the little berlinetta at a price of $ 6200. Perhaps at this price point the sports car was unrealistically priced since a contemporary Chevrolet 427 Corvette sold in the region of $ 4500.
Despite an ambitious, Targa Flora racing effort and an overbored alloy Competizione version, called the Berlinetta 411, sales faltered. Prices were drastically reduced to clear the remaining “orphans”. Perhaps fifty to seventy-five ASA 1000GTs, including a few fiberglass-bodied convertibles was built in total. Of this amount thirty two found American homes and registration. The whole venture folded ingnomiously by the year of 1967.
Driven around today in 2008, the midget has a distinctive raspy “bark”. Due to the tubular , independent front suspension and full four wheel disc brakes handling of these now classic Ferrari sports cars has been always been much more than would be considered decent and acceptable for a car of its time and sports motor car vintage and pedigree.
In the end the demise this little jewel of a sports car, the Ferrari “Ferrariana”, was at the wrong place at the wrong time. Detroit’s 60’s “Muscle Cars” were just too powerful with their massive V-8 engines as well as being less expensive for car buyers to purchase or finance.