‘Ferrarini’ ASA Spider on Russo and Steele’s Scottsdale docket

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‘Ferrarini’ ASA Spider on Russo and Steele Scottsdale docket
One of perhaps six cabriolets produced, this ASA 1000 CC Spider is headed to auction with a special Le Mans-prepped engine | Russo and Steele photos

Sometime in the late 1950s, and although he had no intention of putting such a powerplant into production, Enzo Ferrari had his engineering department design and build an inline four-cylinder engine.

And not just any four-cylinder engine, but one inspired by the 3.0-liter V12 Gioacchino Colombo created for the Ferrari’s fast 250-series sports cars, with aluminum head, double-overhead camshaft and topped by a pair of Weber carburetors.

Ferrari wasn’t about to put such an engine into any of the cars he was building, but he figured to license the rights to someone willing to produce the engine and a car to house it.

Toward that end, Giotto Bizzarrini revised the tube frame chassis from a 250 GTO. The Bertone studio created bodywork to cover the car and its engine and the “Ferrarini” was displayed at the Turn auto show in 1961.

Larger Le Mans-spec engine provides enough power for car to reach 115 mph

The car appealed to Oronzio and Niccolo del Nora, Ferrari-owning father and son who also owned a company that manufactured electromechanical components. Father and son launched Autocostruzioni Societa per Azioni, or ASA for short, and in 1965 introduced the Mille, a small sports car available as a coupe or convertible.

By then, Ferrari’s 4-cylinder engine had grown to 1032cc, providing around 90 horsepower, enough to speed the cars, built on an 86.5-inch wheelbase and equipped with 4-speed manual gearboxes and 4-wheel disc brakes, to 115 mph.

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“The hope was the ASA would offer the mystique of a Ferrari at half the price,” Russo and Steele auction company reports in announcing that one of the ASA Spiders will be on the docket for its annual Scottsdale sale scheduled for January 17-21, 2018.

Instrumentation

However, the auction house added in its news release, “The de Nora’s production capacity was limited, and sales were never prolific, so the cars never really built a following.”

ASA production ended in 1967 as producing only 50 cars, including a short-lived 6-cylinder Rollbar GT Spyder which, to save costs, wore a fiberglass body.

“During production only a handful of Spiders were built, some estimate only six,” Russo and Steele said, adding that the Spider being offered at auction is one of only two equipped with a 1100cc engine developed for a potential Le Mans 24-hour racing effort.

The cockpit

 

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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