IN February of 1961 the automotive press came to Maranello, Italy to see the results of Carlo Chiti’s secret project: The Ferrari 156 was a stripped-down thin-skinned stunner with tapered torpedo lines. Beneath its gleaming red skin a 400-horsepower V6 engine nestled behind the driver. Chiti had sunk it near the middle of the chassis so that the entire car would have a lower center of gravity and handle more deftly than its predecessors. The result was a harmonic convergence of power and weight.
Chiti shaped the car with the help of a wind tunnel. It consequently had a swept-back jet age posture. The driver now leaned way back in a half-recline behind a low wrap of windscreen. It looked dazzlingly fast, and it was. In test runs von Trips touched 180 mph. It would take its nickname from the twin intake nostrils fitted on either side of its sinister snout: the Sharknose.
Much of the road testing was done by Phil Hill’s lifelong friend, Richie Ginther. Enzo Ferrari called him “an odd little man, his narrow face covered in freckles, his eyes lost in some melancholy daydream or suddenly sparking into life, his legs so skinny they seemed hardly to fill his trousers."
It looked as if the Sharknose would put Ferrari back on top. The race for horsepower had been won before the first starting flag dropped. The only question was which Ferrari driver would prevail.