At the end of the 1950s, in order to participate in the growing market of small-displacement sports cars, Ferrari began experimenting by building, in 1960, a Gran Turismo with an 850 CC four-cylinder engine, mounted on a Fiat 1200 Pininfarina Coupé. modified.
After the construction of this first and only example, the engine was increased to 1032 cc and, in 1961, at the Turin Motor Show, a new sport car appeared on the Bertone stand with a small rectangular emblem on the bonnet depicting the Italian flag. with the word “mille” in blue on a yellow background with a font very similar to that of the Ferrari logo.
The bodywork was designed by the very young Giorgetto Giugiaro and built by Carrozzeria Bertone.
The frame designed by Eng. Giotto Bizzarrini along the lines of that of the Ferrari 250 GT was tubular, with elliptical cross members and elliptical reinforcement cross members.
Despite Ferrari’s decision to deny the logo with the prancing horse, the new car was immediately renamed the “Ferrarina”.
The engine, which was not shown at the Turin show because it lacked registration with ANFIA (National Association of Automobile and Related Factories), was nothing more than the evolution of that 850 cc four-cylinder mounted on the Fiat 1200 Coupe Pininfarina.
The displacement was increased to 1032cc (bore and stroke 69×69) powered by two Weber 40 DCOE9 double-barrel carburettors.
After various vicissitudes, the production was entrusted to Oronzio De Nora, a Milanese industrialist in the electrochemical sector who, under pressure from his son Niccolò, was willing to enter the automotive field.
For this purpose, the company ASA (acronym for Autocostruzioni Società per Trasporti) was established, chaired by Niccolò De Nora and based in Lambrate, then an industrial suburb of Milan, adjacent to the “De Nora” plants.
Technical assistance to the newborn ASA was provided by Ferrari with the supply of chassis and engines and with the advice of Chiti and Bizzarrini (who in the meantime had left Ferrari), as well as by Bertone for the car body and for the final assembly.
The sale of the project provides that the “Ferrari” logo should not appear on any part of the car, but for the enthusiastic public it kept the nickname “Ferrarina”.
Production of the new coupé, announced in 1962, actually began in 1963 at the Bertone factories which built a dozen of them.
Production continued at Ellena and the car was distributed without ever using the Ferrari sales network with the exception of the United States where it was marketed by Luigi Chinetti, official Ferrari importer in the USA.
At the 1964 Turin Motor Show the spider 1000 was presented in its final version with fiberglass bodywork, always made by Bertone, which involved a reduction of about 120 kg compared to the prototype presented in Geneva the previous year.
Despite the performance and the high technological content, the “1000 GT” did not have the luck it would have deserved, perhaps due to the absence of a brand with sporting prestige, together with the selling price (L. 2,520,000 in 1965, both for the coupe and the spider) not exactly competitive.
Even Luigi Chinetti, a former Ferrari driver and dealer for the United States, who advertised the car by making clear its noble origins, did not produce appreciable results.
For participation in competitive activities, in 1962 Giotto Bizzarrini built an ASA racing car prototype GTC (Gran Turismo Competizione) with an engine under one liter intended to compete among the Prototypes in the 1963 World Championship.
The ASA GTC was built by Giotto Bizzarrini’s “Autostar” workshop in Livorno, “…. with tubular chassis, aluminum body made from Modena’s” Sports Cars “body by Federico Drogo, ASA 1000 engine, 5-speed gearbox, Koni shock absorbers , AC Dunlop disc brakes, rigid axle with 4 struts on unibal, self-locking differential…. “As Bizzarrini himself described it.
In 1964 the “411” model was exhibited at the Paris Motor Show, with an engine increased to 1,092 CC and a power of 104 HP.
The car was called “lightened” with a body completely in aluminum and side and rear windows in plexiglass. The side windows were sliding. The weight of the “411” was reduced to 650 Kg. Against the 740 of the normal version.
Only four examples of the “411” were built. The 1092cc engines were then installed on normal coupes bearing the ASA 1100 GT lettering.
For participation in the competitions, a single plastic prototype of the GT was also created with an unprecedented four-cylinder engine of 1800 c.c. The prototype driven by Giorgio Pianta was destroyed in an accident during the 1966 Targa Florio.
Two years later the “613 RB” was presented, an interesting “Coupè-spider” variation with fiberglass body and roll bar, which could be equipped with a 1,290 cc straight six-cylinder or 1,800 cc four-cylinder engine. .
The RB613 was built by the Corbetta body in only 4 specimens. One of these with a 1300cc six-cylinder engine was sold in the USA and competed in 1967 in Sebring and Daytona.
Of the remaining three, two equipped with the six-cylinder remained in Italy. The third one with the 1800cc four-cylinder engine was sent to Japan.
In 1967 the ASA adventure was about to end: former Ferrari engineer Giovanni Cadorin designed and built a Formula 3 single-seater on which he mounted a Cosworth engine while waiting to be able to mount an ASA engine. : it seems that the car is today in an advanced restoration phase with original ASA engine.
At the end of the 70s some cars were assembled using the original materials recovered after the closure of the ASA. We recall an RB613 equipped with a 1275cc six-cylinder engine, as well as several GTs and a couple of spiders.
Very recently, a racing GT equipped with one of the two 1800 cc four-cylinder engines was assembled in Northern Italy: it is a replica of the car destroyed during the 1963 Targa Florio but with an aluminum body instead of fiberglass.