1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa

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.

Steve Ahlgrim

Steve Ahlgrim - SCM Contributing Editor

Steve taught high school auto shop before moving to Atlanta, GA, where his love of sports cars led him to FAF Motorcars, the former Ferrari dealer where he served as General Manager and Vice President. He has been a self-proclaimed “one-trick pony,” coveting the Ferrari marque. He has been involved in concours judging for over 25 years and is a member of the IAC/PFA, an international committee overseeing high-level Ferrari concours judging. He is chief judge of the Celebration Exotic Car Show in Celebration, FL.

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