The ASA Mille was the first car not made by Ferrari to have a Ferrari engine. The prototype was built in 1958 and was road tested by Enzo Ferrari, who used it as his day-to-day car for a year. With a four-cylinder twin-cam engine of 850 cc, it was nicknamed the Ferrarina. Ferrari, however, had no intention of putting it into production himself because his factory had no spare capacity. He therefore looked about for a company which would take on the design, and finally entered an agreement with Niccolo de Nora, a wealthy industrialist.
In 1962 de Nora established a new company called Autocostruzioni Societa per Azioni whose staff included the racing drivers, Lorenzo Bandini and Giancarlo Baghetti and whose technical adviser was Giotto Bizzarrini, who had been chiefly responsible for the immortal 250 GTO.
When production began in 1962, the engine had been enlarged to 1,032 cc and was producing 84 bhp. This was the same, size for size, as the three-liter V12 Ferrari engine, but it was in essence two-thirds of one cylinder bank of the V12. Indeed, the little car followed Ferrari practice throughout, from the jewel-like valve-gear of the engine to the chassis and suspension. Unusually for a car of its size at the time, it also had four-wheel disc brakes. With a top speed of 118 mph it was the fastest car of its size in the world. Not surprisingly many ASAs were raced, events entered including the Targa Florio.
Bertone was entrusted with the coachwork and delivered a crisp Berlinetta which had something of the 250 GT Lusso about it. Production of the car was slow, however, and it was perhaps too expensive. Before long, the company was in financial trouble.
No more than 70 ASA cars of any description were made so this excellent, original example, finished in silver, is a rarity indeed. It has resided for many years in a small private Italian collection that also included an ASA Spyder. It was offered due to the advancing years of their owner.
|Vehicle:||1964 ASA Mille GT berlinetta|
S/N 01050 sold at the 30th January Coys auction for $27,523. ASAs are part of the group of esoteric collector cars that “require an explanation” whenever their value is discussed. For those who value the Ferrari design of the engine, the price paid was fair enough and in line with the current market.
But if you don’t care who built the engine, nearly $30,000 seems like a lot of money for a 1,000 cc coupe. In today’s market you could probably find a real Ferrari, perhaps a 250 or 330 GT, with a 12-cylinder engine for about the same price.
ASAs are not for the casual collector. While their Ferrari heritage insures that they will always be desirable, their following is small, and buyers who still pay full pop are hard to find. They are a second-tier collectible. – ED.