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Fantuzzi Replica: 1959 Ferrari 196S Dino Spyder


Looking at this alloy bodied sports car, it would be easy to believe that this really is one of the rare Ferrari 196S Dino Spyders. After doing some research however, we discovered it is one of twelve replicas built by a group of former employees of Carrozzeria Fantuzzi. Don’t fear though, this isn’t a poorly built kit car. A few of the other replicas that were built have crossed the auction block in the past few years and reached the six figure mark. The seller claims it was parked in the ’80s after someone began restoring it and that’s where it has stayed. It can now be found here on eBay.


The seller found this old photo of the Ferrari that inspired this replica and as you can tell, it is a very accurate remake. Carrozzeria Fantuzzi was an Italian coachbuilder and built bodies for both Maserati and Ferrari. There isn’t much information about the people who built this replica, as they did so in secrecy to protect their identities and their pensions. What is known is that they were “Old Timers” at Fantuzzi and knew how to build a complete car. Given that this is a replica, we can’t help but wonder if there were more built then the claimed twelve cars, but we doubt we will ever know for sure.


The real 196S was Ferrari’s first V6 powered sports car. To keep this replica as accurate as possible, the builders installed a Dino V6. While it is slightly larger, it was developed from the race engine and offered similar performance. Ferrari’s parent company Fiat built the motors and installed it in their own version of the Dino, so this motor was likely pulled from a Fiat. The seller has boxes full of parts for it, including the Dino V6. We aren’t sure how much of the engine is still with the car, but hopefully the hard to find bits are still with it.


While this isn’t a true Ferrari, it is appears to be a well done reproduction. It is going to need to be put back together, which could be a massive and expensive undertaking. Thankfully, the aluminum body and tubular chassis are in excellent condition. Would you take this project on or would you leave it in the garage?


  1. jean Lecointe

    The front suspension and front frame look so much as an E type Jaguar that I wonder what sort of replica it is. It does anyway look fabulous.

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  2. rancho bella

    A fork lift to move it around……………that’s the ticket………….gawd…………..
    No reserve…interesting.

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  3. Your Name

    IF THIS IS WHAT HE CLAIMS IT TO BE, but gives no papers, no guarantees and bill of sale only, nor would he finish this project, what have you got after a high dollar purchase?
    Could be somebody’s kit car/ home built little toy.
    I see 1000lbs of aluminum(if even that =$1200), one used Jaguar rear axle ($200) and odd pile of parts and gauges ($20) for a grand total of $1420.
    Anything more is speculation and the BUYER is left hanging.

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  4. Dolphin Member

    Years ago a few Ferrari fans bought reconstructions of 250 TRs that were based on 250 GTE chassis and drivetrains. The real Ferrari chassis and drivetrain would allow the car to run in Ferrari-only Ferrari club track events, and the 250TR body would make it look racy, all without too much financial risk involved.

    Now that 250 GTEs are themselves collectible and NLA for cutting up, the kind of recreation in this eBay sale is a way to go to track days in something that looks terrific for not too much cash. And a bunch of bidders seem to agree, since it`s already at $35K with 5 days left. Either that, or they see some valuable parts in the pictures that they desperately need to complete a resto of the real thing.

    A caution here is, where will you run it when it`s up and running? Probably won’t qualify for the road in many jurisdictions, so you might have to find a run-what-you-brung club that isn’t particular about whether a car is “real” or not.

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  5. Steve

    I dont think this has ever seen the road. Looks like a stalled project, albiet a very nice one. The guages look too modern too.

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  6. Connor

    I would restore it for the main reason being; I will likely never own a genuine 1959 Ferrari 196S dino spyder.

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  7. Dolphin Member

    $45K was the highest bid submitted (later retracted), next highest was $36K, but all bids were cancelled, so no sale.

    This car was presented as a “Ferrari Dino” that “Looks like to be one of the 12 Fantuzzi dino spyders”, in other words a genuine Ferrari race car built by the factory.

    There are reasons to doubt this:

    There were only three 196S race cars made, not 12.

    There is no VIN given, and it was stated in the listing that “No numbers to be found anywhere on the car.”. Ferraris have the VIN stamped on the tube frame in addition to any VIN tag, so that says the frame is not from Ferrari.

    The photo of the Ferrari race car that appears in the listing is of a different car. The hood scoop and air cooling scoop next to the right headlight in the photo are not on the car in this listing.

    The engine shown in 2 of the photos has a wet sump, and the same 2 photos show a cast iron exhaust manifold. I believe a Ferrari 196S Dino race engine would have used wet sump, and definitely did not used heavy cast iron manifolds. They would have had headers. Even some Ferrari road cars used dry sump, including many of the early 308 road cars.

    Unfortunately the photos don’t show the heads, which if real 196S should be a SOHC design, as shown in this photo, which also shows the asbestos-wrapped headers:


    I think this is a reconstruction, in other words, a replica that was not made by Ferrari. If the heads were shown in the listing I think they would probably be a DOHC design, like the DOHC Dino V6 engine in this modern replica of a 1959 Dino 196S race car:


    I think what’s shown in the listing photos is a Fiat-built DOHC Dino engine block and wet sump.

    The car seems to be a reconstruction / replica, and the high bid should have been enough to buy it.

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  8. KE100

    With the cost of the car+ the restoration cost it may be more than its worth IMO

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  9. buk

    @dolphin…I don’t think you read the article or the ad. The car wasn’t presented as a genuine Ferrari, but a Fantuzzi replica.

    Studying available pics of other Fantuzzi 196 replicas, this car looks legit. The frame is built in much the same fashion with like materials and other areas look the same. It might have been a car that was never completed by the builders.

    Doesn’t seem like a bad deal to me..so long as you can hold a wrench and have some cash to blow. What you’d get in the end is an awesome looking ride that you can thrash without worry. When someone asks if it’s real…just give the alloy body a quick knuckle knock and walk off. Cheaper than building a legit looking Cobra replica!

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