It is well-known to the enthusiasts that the V6 Ferrari engines belong to the various "families" which began with the 156 used in the 1957 F.2. However, a more thorough research, stimulated by information received from the late lamented Aurelio as early as 1960, has enabled us to bring to light a much earlier project regarding a family of V6 engines with an angle of 1200 dating back to the beginning of 1950.
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The project for the frontally-mounted V6 «Dino» engine began in the spring of 1956, receiving the progressive number 134 which identified the design of the two rows of cylinders at 65°, with the left row a little forward than the right (looking at the engine from the driver's position). The construction of the engine, cylinder block, heads and crankcase were in light alloy, distribution with double overhead camshafts for each row of cylinders,twin spark plugs for each cylinder and carburetion with three Weber 38 DCN twin choke carburettors.
The distance between cylinder axes was 110 mm a dimension dictated also by the need of staggering both crankpins of each pair, and this also allowed to use big bores.
In effect to compensate the 65° angle between the two rows of cylinders the connecting rods of the two facing cylinders did not use the same crankpin of the crankshaft but two cranks offset at 55°. In this way, the equidistance of the engine impulses was obtained. The two magnetos were located at the front end of the intake camshafts and as the engine evolved the number was reduced to one «twin» magneto which was able to feed the twelve spark plugs. With a bore and stroke of 70x64.5 mm a unit cylinder capacity of 248.2 cc. and a total of 1489 cc. Was obtained. A maximum power rating of 180 HP at 9000 rpm was achieved. The engine was installed offset to the left so that the drive shaft could run alongside the driver seat. A rear mounted gearbox also contained the conical gear, the multi plate clutch, the 4 speeds and the ZF limited slip differential. Independent front suspensions with helical springs and De Dion rear axle. Drum brakes. The car made its debt on 28 April 1957 at the Circuito di Posilippo in Naples with Luigi Musso at the wheel finishing in third place behind Collins and Hawthorn, who were both driving the 8-cylinder F. 1 Lancia Ferraris. Meanwhile, the evolution of the engine was already under way with the 2-litre version fo late 1956 being given project number 138. The bore and stroke became 77 x 71 mm, the unit cylinder capacity was 330.6 cc., the total being 1984 cc. Bigger carburettors, the 42 DCN, were also used. Special versions were also constructed, like the 134 S which was in fact the 134 modified as a sports car with dynamo and coil ignition; the 138 B with chrome-plated cylinder rods and the 138 S also modified as a sports car with dynamo and coil ignition.
In March '57 project 143, the version for Formula 1 later to be known as the 246, was set up. It had a bore and stroke of 85 x 71 mm, unit cylinder capacity of 402.9 cc. giving a total of 2417.3 cc. This engine had been tested at a maximum power rating of 290 HP at 8250 rpm and made its debut in a non-championship G.P. in Casablanca, Marocco on 27 October 1957. The new engine was mounted on the same chassis as the F.2 and driven by Collins, while a different version (No. 145) with bore and stroke of 81 x 71 mm., unit cylinder capacity of 365.8 cc. for a total of 2195 cc. giving a maximum power rating of 240 HP at 8300 rpm was driven by Hawthorn. The two cars did not finish the race for reasons not connected to the engine which, on the contrary, showed great promise.
The official debut took place in Buenos Aires in January '58 with Musso finishing second behind Moss, who was driving the little rear-engined Cooper; it was the beginning of the evolution towards the «all in the back». On of the immediately visible differences between the single-seater F.2 and F. 1 cars was in the shape of the exhaust pipe, running low in the former case and bent upwards in the latter. Further differences were to be seen in the location of the fuel tanks which were initially contained in the sides of the body, later changed to just one in the side with the other being placed in the back. The brakes were still the drum type and during the course of the season a front brake with helical fins was experimented with before moving on to discs in 1959. 1958 was a year of intense activity regarding the development of the V6; a new version (No. 146) had already been realised at the end of the previous year with a bore and stroke of 85x87 mm, unit cylinder capacity of 493.7 cc. for a total of 2962 cc. giving a maximum power rating of 300 HP at 7800 rpm. The cylinder block was newly-designed and the heads were similar to the 143, with twin cam shaft and double ignition.
This engine was in fact one of the rarest long-stroke engines ever to be produced by Ferrari and three new engines were immediately derived from it; the 147 with bore and stroke of 80x82 mm, unit cylinder capacity of 412.2 cc. for a total of 2473 cc.; the 149 with a bore and stroke of 87x90 mm, unit cylinder capacity of 535 cc. for a total of 3210 cc. and the 150 with a bore and stroke of 87x87 mm («square» engine), unit cylinder capacity of 517.2 cc. for a total of 3103 cc).
The 149, which produced 330 HP at 7500 rpm was only used once in a race between European and American cars, known as the Monza Indianapolis, on 28 June 1958. It was driven by Phil Hill but did not finish the race. The 150 was never used.
Before the Monza race the 2-litre 138 S engine had been tried out in a sports car called the 206 S driven by Collins in the Sussex Trophy at Goodwood on 7 April 1958. This engine had a power rating of 207 HP at 8200 rpm. It finished in second place behind Moss in the Aston Martin; on 3 May in the Daily Express sports car race at Silverstone Hawthorn gave the 3-litre engine its debut in the 296 S sports car, finishing third.
Still in 1958, two new types of engine were studied; with the relatively recent project numbers of 151 and 152, and having the same engine block with a V of 65° deriving from the original 134, it had, however single camshaft heads and single ignition. It was in fact an adapted design of the contemporary 128 LM V12, better known as the Testarossa.
In the case in point, the 151 had a bore and stroke of 72x64.5 mm, unit cylinder capacity of 262.6 cc. for a total of 1576 cc. giving a power rating of 165 HP at 8000 rpm. The 152 derived indirectly from the 134 and more directly from the 143. It had a bore and stroke of 84x72 mm (the 143 was 85 x 71!), unit cylinder capacity of 399 cc. for a total of 2394 cc.