The new 500 TR (Testa Rossa, red-topped cylinder heads) was introduced in 1956 as a replacement for the previous 500 Mondial and although designed for customers only, a few factory-entered races were undertaken while development work was progressing with the new 250 Testa Rossa. The first three cars were bodied by Touring and were identifiable by large cut-away front wheel arches and in the 1,000km Supercortemaggiore race at Monza all three cars finished 1st, 2nd and 4th. Another success was a class win and 4th place overall behind four Jaguar D types at the 12-Hour Reims Grand Prix. At Le Mans the new prototype regulations stipulated 2 1/2-litre capacity so Ferrari installed the ex-Grand Prix 625 engine into the 500 TR chassis and the Trintignant/Gendebien car came 3rd behind the winning Jaguar and Aston Martin. In 1957 a revised Scaglietti-built 500 TRC was introduced complying to the new Appendix C regulations and was available with either the four-agent who ordered two cars with the 625 engine for himself and his then manager, Richie Ginther.
The first car was Chassis No. 0672 MD and was painted silver, being Neumann’s race team color. The first outing was at Avandaro, Mexico where it won convincingly followed by eight further victories at Sacramento, Pomona, Hawaii and Laguna Seca. It also won its class in a number of European Hillclimbs. In 1958 Neumann acquired one of the first new 250 Testa Rossas which he raced until the end of 1959 when thoughts of creating a hybrid competition Ferrari were finalized by combining the superb road holding of the 500 TRC with the power advantage of the V12 250. This shoe-horning exercise was undertaken by Richie Ginther and the resultant increase in performance was quantified by winning ten events during the next year, beating much more powerful competitors such as Jaguar D types, Corvettes and 860 Monza Ferraris.
The beautiful looking silver painted Ferrari 625/250 TRC pictured here is the first john von Neumann Chassis Number 0672 MD.TR which throughout its competition life in America is believed to have won over 50 races and been driven by such notables as Richie Ginther, Phil Hill, Caroll Shelby, Ken Miles, Jack Nethercutt and John von Neumann, and is one of the most successful Ferrari chassis of all time in private ownership.
In 1991, the car had just had a complete nut and bolt rebuild by Neil Twyman, the renowned Ferrari competition specialist. It was described as being in perfect condition and ready to further its race-winning career; with 300 bhp and a superb handling chassis, it must be a serious contender for outright honors in historic sports car events. It represents the sculptured beauty of the 500 TRC coupled to the race winning 250 Testa Rossa engine; it is a unique and sensational competition sports car.
|Vehicle:||1957 Ferrari 625/250 TRC|
0672 was offered at the Christie’s Monte Carlo sale in May of 1991, and was declared not sold at a high bid of $1,103,000. Our sources tell us that, as an indication of the resurgence in the high-end Ferrari market, the car’s retail value would be between $1,000,000 and $1,200,000, with a wholesale, write-the-check-now buy number in the $800,000-$900,000 range.
The fact that it is fitted with an incorrect, later V12 engine does not diminish its value significantly, as the more powerful engine makes it easier to drive in vintage competition events.
Writing a check won’t be enough to purchase 0672 today. We are told it was seized by Interpol in October of 1993, and is still being held by that organization while charges of loan fraud and other practices of the financially challenged are being sorted out.
When it once again appears on the market, it will most likely be snapped up by one of the new, serious collectors who are frequenting this market. – ED.