1956 Ferrari 860 Monza

It gives ferocious yank, particularly through rock-hard vintage rubber

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The 860 Monza is one of the baddest, loudest, prettiest Ferraris ever built. While it keeps company with other legendary Ferraris including cars like the Testa Rossas, Monzas and 625 LMs, the 860 Monza really stands apart. It was big, it was hairy and it won races and championships. It was so good that Juan Manuel Fangio, the Ferrari team leader who could have any car he wanted, chose the 860 Monza when it was available. Without the car, which collected half of the Ferrari sports racers’ points-paying finishes, Ferrari would not have won the 1956 Marques’ Championship.

The 860 Monza was fitted with the largest, strongest four-cylinder engine ever built by Ferrari. Breathing through gigantic 58-mm Weber carburetors, it made 310 hp at 6,200 rpm and some unknown, yet certainly tire-shredding amount of torque from its 102-mm bore and 105-mm stroke, the first undersquare engine Ferrari ever built.

Constructed in parallel with the 290 MM, the 860 Monza shared the 290 MM’s latest Tipo 520 chassis with double wishbone independent front suspension and de Dion rear suspension with the four-speed gearbox in unit with the differential. The better balance of the Tipo 520 chassis was aided by the 2,350-mm wheelbase-100 mm longer than the 750 Monza.

Both the 860 Monza and 290 MM bodies were designed by Pininfarina and are essentially identical in concept. Scaglietti, however, exercised his usual refining touches during construction to make each fit as tightly and efficiently as possible over the underlying mechanicals. Thus there are minute but significant differences, aside from the 860 Monza having only one exhaust pipe. The 860’s hood is lower, as is its hood scoop, which also has a delicate valley down the centerline. While visually minor, the subtle reduction in frontal area and more gentle air penetration of the 860 Monza reflects Scaglietti and Ferrari’s concern for every possible edge.

With its prodigious torque and excellent chassis, it is a unique driving experience. The performance of 860 Monza 0604M will be a revelation to the new owner in drum-braked historic racing, and provides a competitive value that is unmatched among its contemporaries.

Thor Thorson

Thor Thorson - SCM Contributing Editor

Thor grew up in northern Iowa. His father bought a red Jag XK 150 in the late 1950s, and that was all it took; he has been in love with sports cars , racing cars and the associated adrenaline rush ever since. He has vintage raced for more than 20 years, the bulk of them spent behind the wheel of a blue Elva 7. When he’s not racing, he is president of Vintage Racing Motors Inc., a collector-car dealer and vintage-racing support company based in Redmond, WA. His knowledge runs the full spectrum of vintage racing, and he has put that expertise to good use for SCM since 2003.

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