“Once-In-A-Lifetime Event For Ferrari Fans” At Concours Of Elegance With Two Race-Winners Added To Line-Up
This year’s Concours of Elegance promises to be a “once-in-a-lifetime event for Ferrari fans”, as two race-winning Ferraris have been added to an already healthy line-up of the Italian machines at the show taking place at the UK’s Hampton Court Palace in September. The additions are a 500 Mondial as well as a 290MM/250TR which was driven by legends such as Phil Hill. These join around ten other rare and significant Ferraris at the event on September 6 to 8.
Both of the newly-added Ferraris have fascinating and impeccable histories. The 500 Mondial is one of just 19 built and of five bodied by Scaglietti, and it won the Ethiopian Grand Prix in 1955 with owner and racing driver Guido Petracchi at the wheel. Earlier that year it had also competed in the 1955 Coppa Mare a Monti, again with Petracchi driving, and finished third.
The car remained in Ethopia for much of its life, competing again at the Cote de Asmara race in 1956 where it took overall victory with Gaetano Barone driving, and after two further victories the car was put into long-term storage in Ethiopia. It was discovered in 1970, when car collector and dealer Colin Crabbe was on vacation in Asmara, Ethiopia, and a local led him to a small lock-up containing the original 500 Mondial. Crabbe bought it on the spot!
The 290MM, later known as a 250TR Spyder, also has a noteworthy as well as a somewhat convoluted past. It won the 1956 Swedish Grand Prix with famous pilots Phil Hill—later a Formula 1 champion—and Maurice Trintignant at the wheel. The car had recovered from its previous outing at that year’s Nürburgring 1000km, when driver Luigi Musso flipped the car end over end, landing upside down in a ditch.
In 1959, after a spell with Ecurie Francorchamps, the car’s 290MM V12 engine was replaced with a V12 Testa Rossa power unit, and the car left the Ferrari factory once more to be sold to Brazil as a new 250 Testa Rossa Spyder. It won a number of races there between 1960 and ’62 before an enormous accident. The rear of the car—relatively undamaged in the smash—was used to build up an American V8 special, which raced throughout the 1960s, before being laid up and then rediscovered in 1986.
It was initially restored as a totally different 250TR Spyder chassis in a case of mistaken identity, then more recently was returned back to its true 250 Testa Rossa identity, including being painted in the livery it raced in Brazil with. Both cars will line up at the Hampton Court show alongside a special 70th anniversary display of four Ferrari 166MM chassis, including the very car that took debut victory in the 1949 Le Mans and Mille Miglia—the only car of any marque to achieve that feat.
“This year’s Concours of Elegance is a real once-in-a-lifetime event for Ferrari fans,” said Concours of Elegance director Andrew Evans. “We’ve always said that it’s the stories the cars on display tell that makes them so special, and both the 500 Mondial and 290MM/250TR coming to Hampton Court Palace have a novel-worthy history of racing victories, far-flung lands and mistaken identity.”
Images courtesy of Concours of Elegance