The late 1960s were not exactly awesome for the Ferrari Formula One program. There were winning on average of about one race a year and the company’s once dominant place in the sport was basically gone. The Cosworth DFV engine was the plant of choice for winning teams and it seemed that the world has passed Ferrari by. Understanding that they were basically in a crisis situation, Ferrari decided to embark on an engine development program which yielded them the beauty you will see below. This 2.9L 183ci Flat 12 was exactly what the doctor ordered and it, along with a new chassis took Ferrari back where they needed to be, at the front of the pack.
The year that the engine and chassis debuted, Ferrari came in second for the constructors championship and by the time the middle 1970s came around, they were once again World Champions with some of the most interesting and electrifying drivers in the world back on their team.
This engine is cool and some of you F1 geeks out there may note that the power numbers for this engine seem down a bit. While it makes a pretty awesome (for 183ci) 365hp at 9,800 RPM, other engines of the day made about 100 numbers more than that. Some research yielded the fact that these engines were also used in endurance racing cars for events like LeMans. Obivously an engine that was designated to run at full bore for 12 or 24 hours would not be set up with as aggressive camshafts and other components as others that were more prone to compete in sprint style events.
Our money says that this was an endurance engine with the less aggressive internals. The guys at Carobu Engineering did the engine for a customer who has it in one of the vintage open wheel cars and runs races in Europe. After they built it, it was run for years and then sent back for a rebuild, which is when the dyno tests were done.
We love the fire coming from the headers when the thing is running at full throat!