This 1947 Ferrari 159S Spyder Corsa, chassis number 002C, is believed to be the single oldest Ferrari automobile existence. It also happens to be owned by James Glickenhaus, who is well known for his one-off Ferrari P4/5 and his P4/5 Competizione privateer racing program. I had a chance to talk to Mr. Glickenhaus briefly and he’s a very nice guy, happy to talk cars with any curious enthusiast who passes by.
With a car like this, he was definitely getting a lot of attention at the Concours this year. It certainly isn’t hard to see how this thing took “Best In Show”, being the oldest Ferrari left. This 159S is also in truly immaculate condition, and that’s a good thing because from what I’ve found, it was the only 159 ever produced. You need to remember that Ferrari only built racing cars in their early years, and the 159 turned out to be a stopgap model between the Ferrari 125 and the Ferrari 166. The racing life of this car was short-lived, but that may well be the reason for its survival.
Under the hood lies an enlarged version of Gioacchino Colombo’s V12, at 1.9L. It makes around 125hp, but keep in mind how featherlight the car is. Back in its day, this thing was quite rapid. I just love looking at old racing cars because they show how the design of the automobile has evolved over the years. Racing cars of this era are so simple and functional, and that often makes them beautiful in a very pure way. Just look at the details of this 159 and you will see that it as much a work of art as it is a mechanical tool for speed.
It was such a treat to see this car in person and be able to take these photos of it. Congratulations to Mr. Glickenhaus on the “Best In Show” win. Enjoy the gallery.