Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa – Car Profile Page Two
In October 1957, the updated 250 TR was loaded onto a boat at the Genova docks, destined for South America. On November 3rd, before Ferrari officially announced the arrival of the 250 Testa Rossa, this car participated in the Venezuelan Grand Prix at Caracas.
As Caracas was the deciding race of the 1957 World Championship season, Ferrari sent along two 335 S models, as well as its TR prototypes. Count Wolfgang von Trips and Wolfgang Seidel were entrusted with 0666 TR, piloting it to an outstanding 3rd overall behind the giant 4.1-litre four-cam Ferraris. The Maseratis were all but destroyed in the effort. Ferrari had won the 1957 Manufacturer’s Championship and 0666 TR’s podium finish appeared promising for the 1958 season.
After Caracas, the Testa Rossa was left in the care of Ferrari’s South American distributor, Carlos Kaufman, who transported it to Argentina to take part in the first race of the 1958 season, the 1000 Km Buenos Aires held on the 26th of January.
Running alongside four other Testa Rossas – two Scuderia Ferrari team cars and two private entries – 0666 TR was driven by Von Trips, Gendebien and Luigi Musso to an impressive 2nd overall behind the winning team car of Phil Hill and Peter Collins.
The Targa Florio proved to be the last outing for 0666 TR as a Scuderia Ferrari team car. Held on May 11th, the great Italian road race was certainly a challenge of the new Testa Rossa’s stamina, as it demanded 40 arduous laps around the 45-mile Little Madonie circuit.
For this race, the two fastest team cars, 0666 TR and 0726 TR, were equipped with an experimental intake setup consisting of six Solex twin-choke carburetors. This unusual specification was purported to produce a dizzying 330 bhp, albeit with a severely limited power band.
Scuderia Ferrari assigned Wolfgang Seidel and Gino Munaron to drive 0666 TR and the pair drove a beautiful race until the very last lap. While maintaining 4th place, Seidel went off course and slid into a rocky patch. Despite his immediate return to the road, the adventure had torn a hole in the oil sump and the engine quit a mere 5 km from the finish. It was an unlucky end to an otherwise brilliant display.
That year, Le Mans was plagued by a devastating storm that caused great attrition. Around 10 p.m., in the dark and rain, Bruce Kessler collided with a privately entered D-Type Jaguar, resulting in a fire and the Testa Rossa’s subsequent retirement.
The incident required a comprehensive rebuild at the factory and a fresh pontoon-fender body from Scaglietti.
By the beginning of the 1959 season, Ferrari had constructed three new team cars, dubbed the TR59s, and signed Dan Gurney as a factory- team driver. Chinetti realized that 0666 TR would likely not be competitive enough for his needs and the beautifully finished TR prototype was offered for $12,500.
On March 9, 1959, 0666 TR entered a new phase of its career when it was sold to Rod Carveth, a talented privateer from San Carlos, California.
A high-performance parts distributor, Carveth had started racing in the early 1950s – first with Allards and Triumphs – before graduating to Aston Martin’s DB3S. In 1959, after capturing some 40 trophies and a prestigious SCCA Racing Driver’s Award, he began the search for a more serious machine.
After his quest for a DBR1 proved fruitless, he purchased this Testa Rossa and entered the former Ferrari team car in the 8th Annual 12 Hours of Sebring on the 21st of March.
Finished in a handsome silver-blue livery with a white center stripe, 0666 TR was listed as an official NART entry with Carveth and Gil Geitner driving. Racing in foul weather, the Testa Rossa kept within the top 10 until the late afternoon, when it ran out of fuel and rolled to a stop about a mile past the pits. Ever the competitor, Carveth single-handedly pushed the Ferrari for the four miles around the course so that it could be refueled. Sadly, an hour later, Carveth caught a rain-filled marker barrel, damaging the headlamps, thus ending its chance at an evening run.
After Sebring, 0666 TR was carefully prepared and shipped to the Nürburgring for the famed 1000 km event. While running in 8th place on the last lap, Geitner spun in the privately entered Testa Rossa at the Karussel, ending up in a ditch, unable to extract the car in time to continue racing.
In June of that year, the Ferrari traveled to Le Mans for the second time. In a race that saw most of the factory Testa Rossas suffer from mechanical trouble, Carveth’s mount fared no better. In the middle of the night, the engine failed while attacking the Mulsanne straight.
In early 1960, after a brief sojourn to Australia, 0666 TR settled at Rod Carveth Enterprises in California, its bodywork finished in metallic blue with a distinctive noseband.
With three years of experience at the top levels of international racing, the Testa Rossa was poised to take on the local competition in regional SCCA events. Shortly after returning to the US, it was entered in the Laguna Seca Examiner Grand Prix. Despite the best efforts of Phil Hill, the Testa Rossa’s Le Mans gearing proved a terrible burden at the twisting course and it failed to qualify.
In April 1960, after shorter ratios had been installed, 0666 TR raced at Cotati Raceway near San Francisco, where Chuck Howard drove it to a 3rd overall with a win in the 1,500+ Modified category. From there, Carveth ran the Ferrari at the Port of Stockton SCCA Regional event, finishing 5th in the B – E Modified race. The final race of 1960 took place at Laguna Seca, and 0666 TR finished 10th overall.
Over the Winter, Carveth’s Ferrari was prepared for the following season, the most notably visible addition being a spare hood in the style of the TR59, with a clear Plexiglas bulge above the carburetors.
Evidently, the development work paid off. On July 15, 1961, Carveth and Charlie Parsons won the 3-Hour Enduro at Cotati outright, trouncing the entire 45-car field. Following that success, Lew Florence drove the Testa Rossa to a 6th overall at Vacaville on August 20th. After a second outing at Cotati in November, the Testa Rossa was retired until the following season.
Carveth’s last outing in 0666 TR took place on April 15, 1962, at Stockton. Although he finished a credible 11th, the skilled driver couldn’t help but notice the increasing competition from mid-engine cars. Having raced the Testa Rossa throughout Europe and on both coasts of the US, he offered the car for sale, placing it in the window of his small San Carlos shop.
Enter 0666 TR’s fourth owner, Bev Spencer.