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1947 Ferrari 159 S

The second Ferrari. The 159 S was an evolutionary step up from the 125. Same tube frame chassis and suspension. Bigger, more powerful 1.9-liter V12 engine under the good. Only two ever built. 

The second Ferrari ever was the 159 S. Built as as successor for the 125 S, it has a bigger engine and some body modifications (extra vents on the front). It was a very rare car with only two ever built (one of these rebuilt as a Ferrari 166 Spyder Corsa so think of the 159 S as a production run of 1 car). The 159 S was an evolutionary step up from the 125 S and onto the 166 S which Ferrari built in decent numbers.

The 125 S had a 1.5-liter 60 degree V-12, designed by Gioacchino Colombo. For the 159 S, it was bored and stroked up to 1.9 liters. With a bore/stroke of 59 x 58 mm it produce 125 bhp at 6,500 rpm which was only up from 118hp in the 125 (thanks to lowering of compression vs the 125). It was advanced for the time with its single overhead camshaft design, 2 valves per cylinder and three Weber 32DCF carburettors. Transmission was a five-speed manual.

The body like the 125 was steel tube-frame chassis with independent wishbone suspension with transverse leaf springs in front and a live axle in the rear and hydraulic shock absorbers all round. Drum brakes were specified front and rear. The 159 has some work done to improve the aerodynamics of the car which you can see visually by some venting.

The 159 S is about as close to a single-seat grand prix car of the day as a road car could be. The interior is pure race car interior with two small seats, a steering wheel, a massive tacho and nothing else (literally nothing else). The car was really only technically road legal though, it was built entirely for racing purposes, which explains the lack of doors I suspect.

Ferrari 159 S Racing

The 159 S debuted for Scuderia Ferrari on August 15, 1947 at the Circuito di Pescara with the company’s driver, Franco Cortese, coming in second. It led the race for a while but couldn’t sustain the paxce. Like the 125 before it, the 159 S was no match for the Maserati’s of the time.

While it had a short racing career the 159 S did help Ferrari win its first international race, the Turin Grand Prix in 1947 with Raymond Sommer behind the wheel.

As with its predecessor, the car got disassembled and the parts were allegedly used to build the 166 Spyder Corsa (which is why while two were built, it is technically one one).

Ferrari 159 S Photo Gallery

There just aren’t that many photos of the 129 around, but we did manage to find a few.

Ferrari 159 S Stats & Performance

submitted by Richard Owen
type Racing Car
built at Maranello, Italy
production 2
engine V12
valvetrain SOHC 2 Valves / Cyl
displacement 1902 cc / 116.1 in³
bore 59 mm / 2.32 in
stroke 58 mm / 2.28 in
compression 8.5:1
power 93.2 kw / 125 bhp @ 7000 rpm
specific output 65.72 bhp per litre
bhp/weight 166.67 bhp per tonne
driven wheels Front Engine / RWD
front brakes Hydrualic Drums
rear brakes Hydrualic Drums
steering Worm & Sector
curb weight 750 kg / 1653 lbs
wheelbase 2420 mm / 95.3 in
front track 1255 mm / 49.4 in
rear track 1200 mm / 47.2 in