These cars brought Maranello four World Constructors Championships and four victories at Le Mans. Few, if any, cars have a more impressive resume

In 1957, the Commission Sportive Internationale contemplated new rules to make sports car racing safer after the 1955 disaster at Le Mans. Anticipating a reduction in capacity for sports cars, Ferrari began working on a car powered by the 3-liter V12 engine. Ferrari first used the name Testa Rossa or "red head" on the 4-cylinder 500 TR, because the car's cam covers were painted red. The new V12 car would retain the same name.

The first prototype was fitted with an envelope body. The second Testa Rossa prototype was bodied by Scaglietti with distinctive pontoon front fenders. The car was said to be one of Scaglietti's favorite designs. He explained, "Formula 1 was the inspiration for the shape. In many ways the Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa was a Formula 1 car with fenders."

In all, 34 250 Testa Rossas were built, including prototypes and the 330 TRI/LM. The car presented here, 0714TR, is the fourth Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa and the second customer car. It was sold new to Piero Drogo, who was then living in Modena. The Drogo family immigrated to Venezuela, where Piero raced extensively. He later returned to Italy, where in the early 1960s he started Carrozzeria Sports Cars. They produced bodies for the stunning P3 and P4 Ferraris and also the square-backed car, which became known affectionately as the "Breadvan."

Drogo shipped 0714TR back to Europe and competed in some minor events. The 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa was then sold via Luigi Chinetti to Texan Alan Connell in 1958. He raced extensively in SCCA National events before selling the car back to Chinetti, who resold it to Charlie Hayes. Hayes also raced the car before he sold it to Carl Haas, who sold it to Wayne Burnett.

Burnett competed in nine events during 1961-62. In 1962, the original engine was removed and the dry-sump unit from 0770 TR was installed. Disc brakes were added, as well as a clear TR59-type carburetor cover. Burnett raced the car six more times in 1963. It was then was acquired by Robert Dusek of Solebury, Pennsylvania, in 1970, and he restored it to its original specification, reuniting it with engine 0714. Mr. Dusek sold 0714 to Yoshijuko Hayashi of Japan, where it went on to the Matsuda Collection.

RM Auctions had the pleasure of test driving 0714 and confirms the car performs beautifully. The steering is light and the throttle response immediate. The 12-cylinder engine easily revs to the 8,000 redline. The symphony of the powerplant will make any enthusiast's hair stand on end. The 4-speed gearbox is precise and confidence-inspiring. Easier to drive than a Ferrari 250 GTO, 0714TR is a truly fantastic racing car. The performance is breathtaking, and the view over the bonnet is one of the best in the world.

0714TR is one of only 21 cars to feature the desirable pontoon fenders, making it rarer than the 36 examples of the 250 GTO, and the car would be welcome at all historic events. These cars rarely come to market and are one of the most coveted models in the marque's history. With breathtaking looks and fantastic performance and handling, this is a true connoisseur's Ferrari.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa
Number Produced:21 (pontoon fenders)
Original List Price:$12,000 approx.
Tune Up Cost:$2,500
Distributor Caps:$450 each (takes two)
Chassis Number Location:Left frame member by steering box
Engine Number Location:Right rear above motor mount
Club Info:Ferrari Club of America PO Box 720597 Atlanta, GA 30358
Investment Grade:A

This 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa sold for $12,402,500, including buyer’s premium, at RM’s Leggenda e Passione auction in Maranello, Italy, on May 17, 2009.

It is our pleasure to introduce the new world record holder for a car sold at auction. No doubt some private sales have exceeded this amount, but in a public forum, this is the undisputed winner. The previous champ, a $10.9 million Ferrari 250 SWB California Spyder, was crowned at the same Maranello venue just one year ago. While the Cal Spyder sale was a bit of a fluke, selling at well over the market, this sale was the real deal.

All Testa Rossas are even-numbered competition cars

Someone needs to write a Ferrari Sports Racers for Dummies book. There are at least eight Ferrari sports racers with TR or Testa Rossa in their names. A TR 58 is not a 250 Testa Rossa; however, a 1958 250 Testa Rossa could be a TR 58. Contradictions like this muddy the history of Ferrari sports racers and make learning the models a challenging task.

Ferrari identified cars built for competition by giving them even chassis numbers. Even-number Ferraris are generally the most valuable Ferrari models. All Testa Rossas are even-number cars, but their value can vary greatly. The 500 TR, an early 4-cylinder model, starts the line at around $1.5m. The upper end is populated by the 12-cylinder cars, which start at around $7m and top out in the teens.

The incredible market value of the Testa Rossa line can be credited to an equally incredible competition record. Testa Rossas first competed in 1956, and the model was still defending Ferrari’s honor well into the 1960s. They competed everywhere, from the top races in the world to regional events in banana republics. The top professionals drove them, as did well-heeled amateurs. They brought Maranello four World Constructors Championships and four victories at Le Mans. Few, if any, cars have a more impressive resume.

The pontoon-fender Testa Rossa’s claim to fame comes from its looks as much as its racing results. The famous front fenders were a brilliant idea and cooled brakes as intended, but the design proved to be aerodynamically unstable at high speeds. Ferrari quickly discovered the defect and immediately abandoned the design for the factory team, but they continued to produce the pontoon-fender model for customer cars. The iconic design may not have made the best race car, but customers loved them and the pontoon model is probably the most valuable of all the Testa Rossas.

Remarkably authentic and mostly unmolested

Underneath the primping, 0714TR is remarkably authentic for a former race car. Despite a rich life as a racer, it has remained mostly unmolested. Credit goes to Bob Dusek for returning the 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa to its former glory. He bought it as a tired race car at the end of its career. Fortunately, the correct engine was still with the car, as were all the major pieces. He reinstalled the correct engine and carefully restored 0714TR for a new mission. Over the next 14 years, he campaigned the car in nearly 50 vintage and club events.

The $12.4m sale of 0714TR hit right in the middle of our SCM Price Guide and at the upper end of the $10m-$12m range in Cavallino magazine’s guide. The car had been on the market for a while: Symbolic Motorcars had offered it publicly at $11m back in 2005. It was then quietly offered a little longer before RM picked up the consignment for the Maranello sale. RM flogged the car within an inch of its tires, drawing more press than an alien abduction. There couldn’t have been another penny left in the car when the bidding stopped.

The purchaser, a long-time SCMer, was a phone bidder whose well-known representative placed bids from the floor. The transaction was captured electronically and is showing on YouTube, where it doubles as a sleep aid. The TR will not be the most valuable car in the billionaire’s collection, nor will it be a garage queen. He uses his cars, and we’ll probably see the 1957 Ferrari 250 at the Monterey Historics, where it will be driven as intended-competing for a win.

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