Ferrari Club of America - Southwest Region

Oldtimer's Corner - Midden

By: Ed Niles

Midden is one of those marvelously obscure words; archaic, arcane, medieval. It is used by archeologists to indicate a refuse heap, especially of a primitive habitation.

For years, there was a midden at the Ferrari works at Maranello. On this refuse heap could be found complete engines, or the remains of engines, especially super-exotic and experimental types. One used to hear rumors, and I would positively salivate at the thought of rescuing some of these esoteric trivia. What does one do, after all, with a 248 SP engine? But on the other hand, what a delightful object to have.

Phil Hill tells a wonderful story about how, years after winning the world championship for drivers, he found himself in Italy, and went to pay his respects to Enzo Ferrari. After passing the time of day in his Santa Monica-accented Italian, and just making conversation, Phil asked Ferrari what had ever become of the heap of old engines out back. As Phil tells it, Ferrari flew into a rage, accusing Phil of visiting him only to try to spirit away some of those pieces in the treasure trove. Needless to say, it was the end of the interview, and it was many years before they spoke again.

But somehow, shortly thereafter, Anthony Bamford succeeded in acquiring most, if not all, of the engines in the trash heap. As I recall, the selection included engines of such types as 206 SP, 246 SP, 248 SP, and the infamous 2-cylinder experimental engine.

The 2-cylinder engine, which Bamford found in his assortment of goodies, was one of the most bizarre of the Ferrari experimentations. This engine bears the number 61 in the official Ferrari project register, but was referred to as a type 116 and also known as a type 252 Formula 1 engine. Its 2 cylinders had a bore and stroke of 118 mm x 114 mm, displacing a total of 2493.4 cc. When Bamford first inspected the engine, he and his mechanics concluded that it was some sort of experimental 4 cylinder engine for the reason that, with 4 valves per cylinder, it had 4 intake and 4 exhaust valves, and the dual ignition completed the deception. In other words, externally, it appeared to be a 4 cylinder engine. It was only after the engine had been sitting around in Bamford?s shop for many months that someone thought to tear it apart, and it was then discovered that he had the prized "one only" 2-cylinder engine.

So far as is known, this engine, which developed approximately 175 hp at 4800 rpm, was never actually installed in a car. The project was abandoned as a result of unexplained problems, but one can take an educated guess that it was one of the great vibrators of all time.

The discussion of the Bamford find brings to mind the great 246/S fiasco.

In 1971, Chuck Betz sold me a derelict Ferrari sports racer, which resembled a 1959 250 Testa Rossa. However, I was told that the car was actually a Dino. Its serial number was 0778TR. Although the engine was missing (the car had been set up for a Chevy engine) it did come with gear box, rear end, and most of its instruments. The body was fairly straight, although the car needed a total restoration, and of course, an engine. I didn?t quite know what to do with the car, although I was quite taken with its lines. I happened to mention that I owned the car one time when I was visiting the great French collector, Pierre Bardinon, at Mas du Clos. Nothing would do but that he own the car, and we quickly struck a deal.

Part of the deal was that I agreed to furnish what I had been told was the original engine, badly broken, together with a spare engine which I had hoped to acquire from Anthony Bamford?s pile of junk. I sent money off to Texas for the purported original engine, and to Bamford for the spare 246 engine.

These cars, of which only 3 were built, were campaigned with 2.0 litre and 2.4 litre engines. Each was a 2 cam V-6 "Dino" derived from an earlier<

For a complete look at Sempre Ferrari, you may want to check out the rest of the articles from Volume 2, Issue 5 - June 1995