From the distinctive Scaglietti-styled,
“pontoon”-fronted early customer
cars, to pininfarina’s full-bodied design
(BELo W), all of the remaining Ferrari
250 Testa rossas are deeply into the
seven-figure price range these days.
Why? Because they’re rare Ferraris
with a fantastic competition record.
The Testa rossa (Italian for
“redhead,” referring to the scarlet
cam covers on the 3.0-liter, 300hp
V` 12 engine) won the 24 Hours of
Le Mans three times in four years
(1958-’ 61) and the Sebring 12 Hours
four times in five years (’58-’ 62),
piloted by such legends as phil Hill,
dan Gurney and olivier Gendebien.
Fact is, if the 166 started Ferrari’s
sports car racing legend, and the 375
and 500/750 models developed it,
the 250Tr cemented it for all time.
1969: Ickx’s victorious John Wyer-run GT40 comes up to lap the Hans Lehman-entered sister car.
for all the wrong reasons...
“The seven-liter engines used
in 1966 ended all the
disappointment… GT40 Mk IIs
finished 1-2-3 at Le Mans”
1964, the results were poor. Carroll Shelby
took over running the cars in ’ 65, but
after a win in the early-season Daytona
2000 (forerunner to the track’s 24-hour
race), again the year was a washout.
The seven-liter engines used in 1966
ended all the disappointment, however.
An upgraded Mk l won the 12 Hours of
Sebring, and “true” Mk IIs finished 1-2-3 at
Le Mans in ’ 66. Dan Gurney and A.J. Foyt
famously followed that up with another
victory in ’ 67 in the more streamlined Mk
IV. Following that win, engine regs were
altered to slow the cars down, but John
Wyer-run Mk Is of 4.9-liter capacity won
the ’ 68 and ’ 69 editions of the race.
After that epic final win, when Jacky Ickx
held off a Porsche 908 in a thrilling dice,
the German manufacturer duly did to Ford
what Ford had done to Ferrari, becoming Le
Mans’ most dominant marque. But Henry’s
purpose had been served: Ford had taken
its revenge on the Prancing Horse.
Whether it’s from complacency, poor
choices, or the competition raising its
game, a great car is often followed by
a flop. But here was an example of a
great car – the c-type, which won the
Le Mans 24 Hours in 1951 and ’ 53 –
being followed by an even greater one.
The d-type’s superb aerodynamics
allowed its 3.4-liter (later 3. 8), 260hp
engine to pull it down the Mulsanne
Straight at 172mph – some 10mph faster
than the more powerful Ferraris. Fuel
starvation issues held it back to second
on its Le Mans debut in 1954 but a year
later, Mike Hawthorn led Jaguar to wins
at both Sebring and Le Mans. The
privateer Ecurie Ecosse team took the
Jaguars to victory at Le Mans in ’ 56
and ’ 57, and in the latter event,
d-types took five of the top six spots.
So…a great car? Without question.