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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It is possible to outline a chronology of the various V6 engines by the dates of the fundamental designs (for example, those dealing with the crankcase and the drive shaft) and in this way we discover an amazing number of different engines, more than ninety in the three configurations used: the first at 65°, the second at 60° (derived as half of a V12) and the third at 120°. Since 1987 there has been a fourth variation destined for the Formula 1 of the period; the turbo engine came into being for the 1981 season with a light alloy cylinder block and an angle of 120° which was to be modified in 1987 with a cast iron cylinder block and an angle of 90°. There is a total of another ten variations. This leads us to subdivide the treatment of the subject into four chapters corresponding to the same periods. These are: front-engined sports cars and single-seaters from 1957 to 1960; rear-engined sports cars and single seaters from 1960 to 1970; Dino GT cars; Formula 1 turbo racing cars in the eighties.
Not all the types are known since in many cases they had experimental engines with different heads, different distribution systems, tested and then shelved; the strength of Ferrari also lay in this enormous mass of information gathered from experimentation. For a more coherent system it is therefore necessary to resort to two different numeration systems. These are the «public» series in which the first two digits represent the cylinder capacity divided by 100 and the third digit, which is always 6, for the number of cylinders. However it is also important to bear in mind the series of the internal project number, which are in progressive sequence with the various models without taking the number of cylinders into account. Except for some small variations, these numbers indicate the chronology of the Ferrari projects.
Another interesting element is the fact that with the V6 we see the transition from the old type of chassis composed of two big tubes to the trellis structure and later to the aluminum sheet-plated trellis structure which forms the resistant «skin» of the body.