1958 Ferrari 412 Sport news, pictures, specifications, and information
Sport Roadster
Chassis Num: 0744
Engine Num: 0744
Sold for $5,610,000 at 2006 RM Auctions.
Enzo Ferrari powered many of his early racing vehicles with V-12 engines placed into small and sturdy chassis. Aluminum bodies were a favorite, due to its rigidity and light weight characteristics. Mounted in the front and powering the rear wheels, this satisfied Enzo's basic philosophy that the 'horse came before the cart.'

In 1955 the Championship was won by Mercedes with drivers such as Fangio and Stirling Moss. After a tragic and deadly accident at the 1955 LeMans race, Mercedes Factory Racing canceled its racing endeavors.

The first race of the 1956 season was won by Stirling Moss driving a Maserati 300 S at the Buenos Aires 1000km. At the 12 Hours of Sebring it a pair of Ferrari 860 Monza's beating Maserati. At the Mille Miglia it was two Ferrari 290 MM model's and two Ferrari 860 Monzas in the top four positions. The Maserati 300 S was the quicker car at the 1000 KMs of Nurburgring. At Le Mans Ferrari came in third behind a Jaguar D-Type and an Aston Martin DB3S. Next was the Swedish GP which a pair of Ferrari 290 MMs dominated, capturing the first and second place. At the close of the season, Ferrari had twice as many points as Maserati and easily won the World Title.

In 1957, Phil Hill, Eugenio Castellotti, Oliver Gendebien, Peter Collins, Luigi Musso, Alfonso de Portago, and Wolfgang von Trips signed with Ferrari as their drivers. The brilliant engineer Aurelio Lampredi left Ferrari for Fiat. This meant a comeback for the V-12 engine, though the tipo 130 engine, or 290 MM, retained some Lampredi characteristics but with a shorter block and a new design. With Lampredi's departure, this left Vittorio Jano, Luigi Bazzi, Alberto Massimino, Vittorio Bellantani and Adrea Fraschetti responsible for the Ferrari engineering and chassis development.

The Ferrari vehicles had twelve cylinders engines, including the 290 S, 315 S, 335 S and the 412 S. The tipo 130 engine produced 320 horsepower and was powerful enough to combat the Maserati 300 S. It was not enough to battle the Maserati 450 S which was powered by an eight-cylinder 4.5 liter engine that produced 400 horsepower.

Maserati was determined to have a better season in 1957 and their hopes lay with the potent 450 S. The inaugural race for the 450 S in 1957 was at the Argentinean 1000 km race where it was piloted by Stirling Moss and Juan Manuel Fangio. The 450S immediately proved to be the top contender and easily lead the race for many laps. Unfortunately, due to a clutch problem the transmission seized and the 450 S was forced to retire from the race. Shortly thereafter, the 450 S made an appearance at Sebring where it was driven by Juan Manuel Fangio and Jean Behra. In the hands of these capable drivers, the Maserati 450 S easily captured its first victory. The 450S was the quickest vehicle on the track. Its shortcomings that would continue to plaque the 450S would prove to be its mechanical failures and poor luck.

At the mille Miglia, Ferrari swept the first three positions with a 315 S (0684) piloted by Piero Taruffi in first place. In second was a Ferrari 335 S (0674) driven by Wolfgang von Trips and in third was a Tour de France Berlinetta (0677) driven by Olivier Gendebien.

Jaguar took top honors with their DBR1 at the 1000 km of Nurburgring and at Le mans. Ferrari 315 S (0684) finished in fifth place. At the Swedish Grand Prix Behra and Moss piloted their Maserati 450 S to a first place finished and put Maserati back in the running for the Championship. At Venezuela, Maserati's endeavors were halted due to a string of bad luck and a series of accidents. Ferrari 335 S s/n 0700 and 0674 captured the first two places. At the conclusion of the season, Ferrari had won the World Constructors' Championship and Maserati retired from racing.

New regulations for the 1958 season left the 450 S and the Ferrari 335 S obsolete.

Ferrari 412 S

This Ferrari 412 S was assembled at the request of John von Neumann. It carries chassis number 0744 and was originally a 312 Sport. His goal was to have a vehicle that could compete on the American racing circuit and defeat Lance Reventlow's Scarabs. At a reported $20,000, von Neumann was presented with a 4-liter, 12-cylinder ex-Spa tipo 524 racer that had over 440 horsepower.

At its inaugural debut, von Neumann placed the Ferrari 412 S in the capable hands of the legendary driver, Phil Hill. After mechanical difficulties and handling problems, specifically faulty shock absorbers, the car suffered a DNF. Phil Hill was again behind the wheel for the cars second racing appearance, the well advertised Rigerside GP. The car quickly proved its potential and proved to be a worthy contender for the American racing league. Unfortunately, a vapor lock cancelled Hills attempts at a first place finish. Instead, it was retired prematurely from the race.

It made a second appearance at the Riverside Times GP, this time piloted by Richie Ginther. At the drop of the checkered flag, it was #0744 in first place. At the conclusion of the race, the car returned back to the factory where it was fitted with disc brakes, making it one of the first Ferrari's to have this feature.

It was sent back to the US in time to compete in the Nassau Speed Week. It was later sold to Jack Nethercutt and then to Fred Knoop. The Ferrari 412 S later passed to Bill Harrah who had Skip hudson drive it in competition. It was later sold to Charles Pinkham. When Mr. Pinkham passed away it became the property of his widow. By 1973 it was in the ownership of Steve Earl who used it as a promotional tool for the first Monterey Historic Races. Since that time it has passed through several owners.

Ferrari 412 S with chassis number 0744 has since won its class at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.
By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2007
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