This superb miniature Spyder, called the “Bimbo Racer Vl2," was best known by the nickname "Ferrarina". Styled by Giovanni Michelotti and based on the Ferrari 375MM Spyder, these wonderful micro cars were imported into the USA by Ferrari, Inc. of San Francisco. They were advertised as being 'A Real Car - for pre-teen men and women of distinction'. It is powered by a 12 Volt rechargable electric motor with chain drive to rear axle, has a top speed of 7mph and a maximum range of 35 miles.
The manufacturer was the firm called SILA of Turin. At that time, Turin was a center for many companies active in the automotive industry. SILA had a factory making spare parts for real cars and the founder, Edoard Brero, had the amusing idea to make a special spider version for children. Brero did not have permission from Ferrari to call his incredible creation Ferrarina, however within a short time, this Bimbo Racer V12 assumed the Ferrarina name due to its similarity to the real car.
Certainly such an extravagant automotive toy was not available to many children. Although we don’t know the actual original price, it appears that it could have been more than an actual “real” car like a Fiat 500 at the time! In spite of the cost, several thousand of these children’s cars were produced. Unfortunately, very few still exist and have been found, making this “Bimbo Racer V12” one of the rarest and most valuable miniature cars.
The fiberglass body is 66” long and supported by a strong steel chassis. The support is needed, as even without a battery the car weighs almost 100 lbs. It is 27” wide and 26” tall. The car has a range of about 3.5 hours at a maximum speed of 5-7 mph. The battery, placed behind the seats, provides 120 watts of power and can be recharged in about 10 hours. On the dashboard, there is a light switch that controls both the front and rear lights. The horn is placed at the center of an impressive and beautiful steering wheel. In the middle of the floorboard, there is a gearshift lever that can be set for three positions: forward, reverse or neutral. In addition, there is always a second lever that acts as a handbrake. The comfortable seat easily provides enough room for two children. In its operation, the driver always has the control and choice of two pedals, the accelerator on the right and brake on the left.
This hard-to-find example is very original and complete running condition, finished in Ferrari red over cream interior and has it original windscreen and floor mats. These cars were owned by no less that President Eisenhower’s grandchild and also the grandchild of Premier Kruschev of Russia!
The car has had longtime ownership for the past 20+ years and can be inspected in the Seattle area by appointment. Put this under the Christmas tree and watch the little faces light up with joy!