One of the most significant Ferraris in the world just changed hands without ever hitting the open market.
Gooding & Company has just announced the private sale of the only remaining unrestored 250 Testa Rossa. The California-based auction house didn’t go into specifics about the price, other than to say that—unsurprisingly—the open-top racer sold for a “considerable figure.”
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The 250 Testa Rossa was introduced in late 1957 in response to a rule change that limited maximum engine displacement to three liters for cars competing in the crown jewel of the motorsports calendar, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The new V-12-powered vehicle would prove to be a huge success, claiming victory at the famed endurance race in 1958, 1960, and 1961, as well as helping Ferrari win the World Sports Car Championship constructor’s titles in those same years. The marque would build just 33 units between 1957 and 1961, 19 of which were left-hand drive “pontoon fendered” customer cars styled by Scaglietti.
This 1957 example, chassis 0704 TR, is one of only two surviving envelope-bodied racers from Ferrari’s victorious 1958 season, as well as being the only unrestored 250 Testa Rossa still around. The body wasn’t the only difference between the purpose-built racer and customer versions. Those employed by Scuderia Ferrari, like this one, also were right-hand drive and utilized a De Dion rear axle. All 250 Testa Rossa are powered by a 3.0-liter Tipo 128 Colombo V-12 that can produce more than 300 horses and push the car to a top speed of 168 mph.
Chassis 0704 TR competed in both the 1957 and 1958 racing seasons when it was driven by a who’s who of great drivers of the era, including Phil Hill, Olivier Gendebien, and Maurice Trintignant, among others. It finished first overall at 12 Hours of Sebring and Buenos Aires 1,000 Km in 1958, and would also the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Targa Florio, and the Nürburgring 1,000 Km. Following the end of its racing career, it was part of the Henry Ford Museum Collection from 1967 to 1997, and has since gone on to earn plaudits at numerous car shows in the years since, including the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
While Gooding & Company is unlikely to reveal how much the car sold for anytime soon, we’d be willing to wager it sold for at least eight digits. Early last decade, the first 250 Testa Rossa sold for $16.39 million, while another is rumored to have sold for just shy of $40 million in 2014, according to Jalopnik. Another 250 Testa Rossa, this one a customer version with nowhere near the racing pedigree, is expected to sell for between $34 million and $38 million at auction next month.
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