Sbarro's interpretation of the 1957 Ferrari 335S is in some ways prettier than the one Scaglietti built in the 1950s

At the age of 17, Franco Sbarro, whose real name is Francesco Zefferino Sbarro, left his native Italy for Neuchâtel, Switzerland, in order to live his dream of being an auto mechanic.

In 1957, he found employment in the field and met Georges Filipinetti, owner of the famous auto racing team. Sbarro became his chief mechanic, and while maintaining the racing cars he designed his first car, the Filipinetti coupe.

In 1968, he left Filipinetti and created the ACA-Ateliers de Construction Automobile-in Grandison, on the shore of Lake Neuchâtel. From that time, he has concentrated on the construction of cars, either replicas of legendary models, or prototypes of his own design.

Inspired by the famous, rare, and expensive 1957 Ferrari Testarossa, the car we present was finished in the colors of the American Cunningham race team, which ran Testa Rossas at the beginning of the 1960s. Based on a Ferrari 365 GT4 2+2, the frame was removed from the original body, as well as all the comfort features of the 365 (air conditioning, heating, electric windows...), cutting the weight of the car by 500 kg (1,100 lbs). The wheelbase was reduced to 2,400 mm.

Sbarro wanted to be able to use this Ferrari "barchetta" on the road as well as the racetrack, and of the four he built, two were short-chassis models, this one with short doors. The body is made of a composite material and the car is equipped with Borrani wire wheels and Michelin tires with a period design.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1968 Chevrolet Corvette L88 AIR
Number Produced:216
Original List Price:$5,267.90
Distributor Caps:$25
Chassis Number Location:Lower left windshield frame
Engine Number Location:On block in front of right cylinder head
Club Info:National Corvette Restorers Society 6291 Day Road Cincinnati, OH 45252-1334
Investment Grade:A

This 1973 Sbarro Mille Miglia sold for $188,380 including premium at the Artcurial Classic and Racing Cars “Luxe, sport et collection” sale, in Paris, France, held December 10, 2007.

Many levels of cars are “inspired” by other vehicles. At the high end, they include manufacturer-built duplicates of competition models such as the Frazier-Nash LeMans Replicas, as well as craftsman-built copies of racing cars either lost or extremely rare, as in the case of the Lancia D50 grand prix cars recently built in the U.K. These D50 replicas were constructed in the original manner around many original mechanical parts.

From fakey-doos to genuine alternatives

On the other end are fiberglass Porsche Speedster look-alikes with VW power or Fiero-based “Countaches.” While some of these tributes may indeed be worthy of Publisher Martin’s pet phrase “fakey-doo,” others are reasonable alternatives for the owner of a rare or very original car who wants to use it but has fear of wearing it out, or for someone who wants the look and feel of a legendary car but can’t stretch the budget far enough.

Yet another category includes cars that are unique creations by a designer, intended to honor a car or an era, but which are not a direct copy of any other vehicle. They are aimed at a clientele that could more than afford a vintage car but wants to swan about with the look and none of the headaches of an old car. One example of such is Brooks Stevens’s Excalibur-at least the earliest ones-and another is this Sbarro Mille Miglia.

Franco Sbarro is a brilliant and iconoclastic auto builder, best known for the wild and crazy specials he and the students of his design school have displayed at the Geneva Auto Show.
Many of these are amorphously shaped fantasies for the road, including motorcycles with hub-less wheels, cars with diamond-pattern wheel layouts, various six-wheeled conveyances, and individual engines inside car wheels years before any major automaker thought it remotely practical. Even his first car, the Filipinetti coupe, was an unusual and dramatic shape for a 1960s GT.

He has also produced a number of more traditional replicas, including an accurate BMW 328 sports car that faithfully followed the form and details of the original. Further, Sbarro built and sold his versions of the Ferrari P4, Ford GT40, Mercedes 300SL, Lola T70, Mercedes 540K, and even a Bugatti Royale.

The Mille Miglia is not an exact copy of the 1957 Ferrari 335S that won the final edition of the great Italian road race, but rather Sbarro’s interpretation of the iconic shape. It is, in some ways, actually prettier than the one Scaglietti built in the 1950s.

Making all the right noises, and fast

With a genuine Ferrari platform and drivetrain, it would make all the right noises, and the dramatic weight reduction of over 1,000 lbs compared to the source car, combined with 340 hp, should make it go like the best of the products of the Prancing Horse. It’s also nice that the donors these days for “specials” such as this have moved from period 250s, which are too valuable, to 365 GT4 2+2s, which most people consider more expendable.

Four examples of the Mille Miglia were built in 2005 and 2006 and they all vary somewhat in design and specification. They are similar in appearance to an earlier “Mille Miglia Brescia” open car Sbarro produced in 1985 with Lancia power.

Some have high-backed bucket seats with twin headrest humps on the rear deck, and the number and arrangement of body and hood scoops differ from car to car.

This 1973 Sbarro Mille Miglia is one of the simplest configurations and was designed to look more like a 1950s circuit racer than a grand touring car. Low-backed seats with four-point racing harnesses are set in a fully carpeted and trimmed interior. Painted, rather than chromed, wire wheels add to the period look. It appears to be very well finished with a high-quality composite body and excellent panel gaps. SCM’s correspondent at the auction reported the car to be in #1 condition, which is not surprising as it is still practically new. He also agreed with my assessment of the look of the car from photographs, that it is very attractive.

The final question: “Is it worth $190,000?”

If you are hoping for a stealth entry to the Mille Miglia Storica, Le Mans Classique, Goodwood Revival, or Monterey Historics, this isn’t it. In fact, you’ll likely be directed to the parking lot if you drive it to Cavallino. However, it is a very limited production car from the atelier of one of today’s most noted designers and undoubtedly very drivable, as it has hard-to-obtain German TÜV approval. For the intended buyer, someone for whom $190,000 is pocket change, it has to be counted a good buy.

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