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ATS Tipo 100

ATS Tipo 100 1960s Italian classic F1 car

In development terms, few cars can match the ATS Tipo 100 for intrigue. In '61, Ferrari's race division was riding high. As F1's new 1.5-litre era dawned, prospects for the prancing horse marque looked rosy. The fire-engine red, shark-nosed Ferraris ruled the F1 roost. Enzo Ferrari - founder of the firm - was, no doubt, a happy man. Not so, though, some of his employees. At the end of the '61 season, Enzo fell out with his top engineers. As a result, they picked up their spanners and left.

Ring-leader of these motor racing dissidents was Carlo Chiti. Rotund of frame - and temperamental by nature - many considered him a design genius. He was also thought of as a thoroughly good egg! Chiti took his troop of disgruntled technicians to Sasso Marconi - near Bologna. Before long, he had set up a factory and foundry. Chiti had financial clout - courtesy of a trio of industrialists. He was a man on a motor racing mission. After the mass walk-out from Modena, Ferrari now had a rival. Specifically, ATS - Automobili Turismo Sport. There was a new race team on the Bologna block. And Carlo Chiti was in charge.

The V8-powered Tipo 100 debuted at the '63 Belgian GP - at Spa Francorchamps. It created a stir from the start. In a nice piece of PR, ATS purposely parked their transporter away from the paddock. When the two Tipo 100s hit the grid, the buzz was electric! The build-up, though, was not backed up on the track. The cars were far from well-sorted. Indeed, their chassis had had to be sawn and re-welded - to change the engines! Bear in mind, these were no amateurs. They were ex-Ferrari race engineers. High-calibre drivers had been recruited to the ATS cause. Namely, Phil Hill - a former world champion - and Giancarlo Bhagetti, winner of the '61 French GP. However - to ATS' chagrin - even their combined talents could not save the Tipo 100 from under-achieving. Through '63 - and the following two seasons - results ranged from disappointing to dire! In time, the ATS project petered out. Its gallant challenge to the might of Ferrari failed. Chiti - and his renegade team - had displayed courage and integrity. Ultimately, ATS - and the Tipo 100 - just ran out of steam.


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