1958 Ferrari 250 TR

It has been proven on numerous occasions that racing improves the breed, with safety scrambling to keep pace. The birth of the 250 Testa Rossa program was a direct result of the technology and tragedies of international motor sports during the 1950s. The Commissione Sportiva Internationale (CSI) implemented new rules and classifications aimed at making the sport safer following the disaster at Le Mans in 1955 and Alfonso de Portago's crash in the 1957 Mille Miglia, in which he and his co-driver, along with nine spectators were killed.

Ferrari began the 1957 season with the 3.8-liter 315 S, which was later developed into the 4.0-liter 335 S. Despite the tragedy at the 1957 Mille Miglia, Ferrari went on to take The Sports Car Championship at the final round at Caracas.

With Mercedes-Benz's departure from the sport in 1955, the highest levels of sports car racing was left to Ferrari and Maserati to battle for top honors, with increasing threats from Jaguar, Porsche, and Aston Martin. Ferrari was also forced to re-evaluate its U.S. based efforts, as its four-cylinder TRC had little hope of attaining an outright victory in SCCA competition. Flanked on all fronts, Ferrari forged ahead and created one of the greatest sports racing cars in history, the 250 Testa Rossa. The name 'Testarossa' was first used by Ferrari on the four-cylinder 500 TR, with the name meaning 'red head' due to the car's red painted cam covers.

With the tragedies of the mid-1950s, Ferrari anticipated a reduction in capacity for sports cars by the CSI for the 1958 season. They began work on a car powered by the 2,953cc, 250 GT, V-12 engine. Enzo intended the engine to be a more powerful version of the four-cylinder car while retaining its reliability and handling characteristics. Developed under Carlo Chiti's engineering team, the engine was given a revised cylinder head design, high compression pistons, special conrods, and six Weber twin choke carburetors.

Inspired by the Aston Martin DBR1, Ferrari development focused on building a reliable, production-based, three-liter sports car with forgiving handling traits and aerodynamic bodywork. Work began in early 1957 with the first prototype example being chassis number 0666 TR. It was constructed on the tipo 525 chassis with A-arms and coil springs in the front, and a De Dion tube and transverse leaf-spring setup in the rear. The initial engine was of the contemporary 250 GT-type, and tuned beyond the factory-prepared Tour de France specification. The fully enveloping coachwork was similar in style to the 290 MM models of 1956. Since it was a works-team car, it was given right-hand-drive arrangement.

The Testa Rossa prototype was completed in May of 1957 and made its racing debut at the ADAC 1000 Km Nürburgring. During the practice session, the Scuderia Ferrari-works drivers were all given an opportunity to try the new race car, including Phil Hill, who had only recently joined the factory team. During qualifying, Olivier Gendebien and 0666 TR posted the sixth fastest time, behind the large-displacement Ferrari and Aston Martin works entries. Masten Gregory had been hired to co-drive the car and following a confusing driver shuffle, Gregory left believing he would return in the morning as a spectator, not as an entrant. He thought wrong! Moments before the start of the race, a frenzied Ferrari mechanic burst into Gregory's hotel room informing him of his mistake. The disheveled Gregory arrived just in time and set off at a rapid pace. Within a few laps, he was running as high as 6th. Driving duties were eventually handed over to Olinto Morolli who had no time practice in the new prototype and little experience with the track. His lap times reflected his inexperience, some three minutes slower than Gregory. 0666 TR would finish 10th overall and despite the slower pace, it was a respectable debut.

Chassis number 0704 was the second Testarossa prototype and wore a body by Scaglietti featuring distinctive pontoon fenders, causing a sensation when it arrived at Le Mans. Scaglietti later described the car as a 'Formula 1 car with fenders.' Chassis 0666 and 0704 were entered for Le Mans but both suffered problems with new pistons. 0666 failed to start and 0704 retired, having run as high as second place.

Furhter development followed and the Testa Rossa's next appearance was at the Swedish 6-hour Grand Prix in Kristianstad, where it was equipped with the experimental 3.1-liter engine that had recently been tested at Le Mans. Gendebien and Maurice Trintignant were tasked with driving duties for 0666, however, after an hour and a half of racing, the engine, suffering from various ailments, forcing an early retirement. Upon its arrival back home, the CSI had confirmed the new three-liter limit for the 1958 season.

Between September and October 1957, the enveloping body of 0666 TR was removed and replaced by Scaglietti in the pontoon-fender style, with inside door hinges and an air vent installed on the right side between the fender and hood. Its driveline was updated with the tipo 128 LM Testa Rossa motor (number 0666 TR, internal number GES N 6) and four-speed gearbox.

At the final round of the championship at the Venezuelan Grand Prix at Caracas (November 3rd), Wolfgang von Trips and Wolfgang Seidel finished third in 0666 with Maurice Trintignant and Gendebien in fourth with 0704. The two TR prototypes had been joined by two front-running 335 S models. This effort help Ferrari win the 1957 Manufacturer's Championship.

0666 TR was left in South America with the Ferrari 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. At the race, the car was joined by four other Testa Rossas (two Scuderia Ferrari team cars and two private entries). Von Trips, Gendebien and Luigi Musso drove 0666 TR to a 2nd overall behind the winning team car of Phil Hill and Peter Collins. Hill and Collins would win at the Sebring 12 Hours, and Luigi Musso and Gendebien won the Targa Florio. The 24 Hours of Le Mans was won by Gendebien and Hill. At the end of the season, having won four of the six races, Ferrari was awarded its third consecutive World Sports Car Championship for Constructors.

With the introduction of the new racing regulations for the 1958 season, Ferrari was the only manufacturer to field a competitive car during the early part of the season. Ferrari's sole competition were from privately entered Maserati 300 S machines, but not to the same extent as the prior year. Maserati had withdrawn from competition following the Venezuela Grand Prix in 1957 which had proven to be a disastrous race for the team. As the season progressed, so did the competition, especially from the Aston Martin DBR1 which won the Nurburgring 1000 Km. The race had presented Enzo Ferrari with several new challenges, specifically rules requiring teams to use an inferior brand of fuel. Enzo threatened to withdraw but instead instructed his team to make the necessary changes to the engines to cope with the fuel. Although they did not run properly with the fuel, a 250TR finished in second place.

The 250 TRs that raced at Le Mans in 1958 wore enclosed bodywork to improve aerodynamics, reduce life, and to take advantage of the track's high speed and long straight stretches. The Ferrari Works Cars were dubbed the TR58 to help distinguish them from the privateer entrants.

By the close of the 1950s, Scaglietti had become sidelined due to the increased output of Ferrari road cars. The redesign of the bodywork for the 1959 season was handed to Pinin and built by Fantuzzi. 1959 brought the introduction of a new technology to the 250 TR - disc brakes. Enzo had been a strong supporter of drum brakes as he believed they were more reliable and predictable in how they faded compared to disc brakes. Drivers preferred the discs as they were easier to operate and the long-lasting pads were better suited for endurance races.

The 1959 250 TR, known as the TR59, was both lighter and slightly more powerful than its 1958 predecessor. The engines received coil valve springs and other minor improvements helping to increase horsepower to 306. A new Colotti designed five-speed gearbox required the engine to moved four inches to the left in the chassis.


The first race of the 1959 season was at Sebring, since the Argentinean race in Buenos Aires had been dropped. While the TR59 of Dan Gurney, Chuck Daigh, Hill and Gendebien took victory at Sebring in March there were to be no further wins and Ferrari finished second to Aston Martin in the Championship.

Only minor changes to the 1960 regulations resulted in minor changes to the TRs. Since the gearbox was the source of many issues during the 1959 season, various versions were used and tested through the 1960 season. Three of the five TR59s were updated to the new specification and are commonly known as the TR59/60.

The 1960 season consisted of five rounds and due to Aston Martin's withdrawal from competition, Ferrari was once again the favorite. Testarossas won at Argentina (Hill/Gendebien) and Le Mans (Gendebien/Paul Frere) and took the Championship once again. The factory team did not race at Sebring since they would be forced to use the sponsor's fuel. A privately entered TR59 was able to secure four points behind the Porsches. Porsche would win again at the Targa Florio and Maserati won at the Nurburgring 1000 km. A fully independently sprung TRI60 prototype had been used during the Le Mans test day, and although it was lighter, the TR59/60s handled better, finishing in first and second place.

Using the independent suspension of the TRI60, Ferrari adapted it to a completely new spaceframe chassis for the 1961 season. The new car, called the TRI61, was lighter and stronger than its predecessors, and wore a new body style with new front-end treatment and a Kamm-tail in the back. While the TRI61 was best suited for high-speed tracks, it was complemented by the newly introduced and nimble, mid-engined 246 SP. This proved to be a successful arrangement, as the TRI61 secured victories in the Sebring 12 Hours and Le Mans 24 Hours. The 246 SP won the Targa Florio, helping Ferrari earn another World Championship title.

The CSI introduced new regulations for the 1962 world championship season, allowing both GT and prototype racers to contest overall victory, but only the GT cars were eligible to score points.

Between 1957 through 1962 a total of 33 250 TRs of all types were built, including 19 'customer cars' sold to independent racing teams. All of the customer cars were equipped with left-hand drive, Scaglietti 'pontoon fender' bodies and live rear axles. During its racing career, the 250 TRs won 10 World Sportscar Championship races included the 1958, 1960, and 1961 24 Hours of Le Mans. They won the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1958, 1959 and 1961, and the 1958 Targa Florio. Victories were also earned at the 1958 and 1960 1000 km Buenos Aires and the 1961 4 hours of Pescara races. The 250 TRs helped Ferrari win the Constructor's World Sportscar Championship titles in 1958, 1960 and 1961.


by Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2020

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In the post World War II era, the world was anxious to get back to racing. There were many interesting creations created during this time. Some were competitive, others were not. Sports Car Racing was becoming more and more popular as the years progressed. This progression came to an end in 1955, when the entire world was in-tuned to the worlds greatest racing stage, the 24 Hours of LeMans. The 24....
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1958 Vehicle Profiles

1958 Ferrari 250 TR vehicle information

Spyder
Coachwork: Scaglietti
Designer: Scaglietti

Chassis Num: 0722TR

Ferrari 250 TR with chassis number 0722 was bodied by Scaglietti and fitted with a 2953cc V12 engine. Its first owner was Alfonso Gomez-Mena from Cuba who intended to raced the car in the Cuban Grand Prix. It was damaged in an accident during pract....[continue reading]

1958 Ferrari 250 TR vehicle information

Spyder
Coachwork: Scaglietti
Designer: Scaglietti

Chassis Num: 0738TR

Chassis number 0738/TR was raced extensively in Brazil from 1958-67 and in Europe since 1997. It was ordered new by the Official Central and South American Ferrari Concessionaire Carlos Kauffman in Caracas, Venezuela, for Brazilian Jean-Louis Soares,....[continue reading]

1958 Ferrari 250 TR vehicle information

Spyder
Coachwork: Scaglietti
Designer: Scaglietti

Chassis Num: 0748TR

This car (chassis 0748TR) was delivered in May 1958 to Gotfried Koechert of Austria, who, with co-driver Erik Bauer, finished tenth at the 1000-km Nurburgring race. Bauer thought the checkered flag was meant for the Porsche crossing the start-finish ....[continue reading]

1958 Ferrari 250 TR vehicle information

Spyder
Coachwork: Scaglietti
Designer: Scaglietti

Chassis Num: 0742TR

This car (chassis number 0742TR) is a standard LHD customer 250 Testa Rossa, first sold to Tore Bjurstrom, the Ferrari importer in Sweden. After being raced by the Finnish racing team of Scuderia Askolin, and after several crashes in the mid-1960s, i....[continue reading]

1958 Ferrari 250 TR vehicle information

Spyder
Coachwork: Scaglietti
Designer: Scaglietti

Chassis Num: 0724TR
Engine Num: 0724TR

This car (chassis number 0724TR) is a standard LHD customer car with a live rear axle and outside door hinges and was the ninth Testa Rossa built in 1958. Its first owner was Jacques Swaters of Ecurie Nationale Belge. This car first raced in the 1958....[continue reading]

1958 Ferrari 250 TR vehicle information

Spyder
Coachwork: Scaglietti
Designer: Scaglietti

Chassis Num: 0728TR

This car (chassis number 0728TR) is one of the most famous of all Testa Rossas, finishing first overall at the 1958 LeMans driven by Phil Hill and Olivier Gendebien, and third overall at the 1958 Targa Florio driven by Mike Hawthorn and Wolfgang von ....[continue reading]

1958 Ferrari 250 TR vehicle information

Spyder
Coachwork: Scaglietti
Designer: Scaglietti

Chassis Num: 0736TR

This car (chassis number 0736TR) was delivered to the Ecurie Francorchamps team in 1958. It finished sixth overall in the 1958 LeMans 24 Hours with Jean 'Beurlys' Blaton and Alain de Changy driving. It was bought by Colonel Ronnie Hoare of Maranello ....[continue reading]

1958 Ferrari 250 TR vehicle information

Spyder
Coachwork: Scaglietti
Designer: Scaglietti

Chassis Num: 0752TR

This Testa Rossa (chassis number 0752) was delivered to Luigi Chinetti in New York in 1958 and sold to Charles Hughes of Denver, Colorado. It was driven by Dan Collins in SCCA events during the 1958 and 1959 seasons, including several first- and seco....[continue reading]

1958 Ferrari 250 TR vehicle information

Spyder
Coachwork: Scaglietti
Designer: Scaglietti

Chassis Num: 0754TR

The 250 Testa Rossa was one of Ferrari's most successful race cars on the track; it had three overall victories at LeMans among many other wins, leading to three world constructor's titles in 1956, 1957, and 1958. Other outright victories included th....[continue reading]

1958 Ferrari 250 TR vehicle information

Spyder
Coachwork: Scaglietti
Designer: Scaglietti

Chassis Num: 0756TR

The Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa, developed in early 1957, had a new 3.0-liter V-12 engine designed by Gioacchino Colombo installed in a chassis based on the earlier Ferrari 500 TRC. The first prototype made its racing debut in the 1,000 kilometers at the....[continue reading]

Spyder by Scaglietti
Chassis #: 0722TR 
Spyder by Scaglietti
Chassis #: 0738TR 
Spyder by Scaglietti
Chassis #: 0748TR 
Spyder by Scaglietti
Chassis #: 0742TR 
Spyder by Scaglietti
Chassis #: 0724TR 
Spyder by Scaglietti
Chassis #: 0728TR 
Spyder by Scaglietti
Chassis #: 0736TR 
Spyder by Scaglietti
Chassis #: 0752TR 
Spyder by Scaglietti
Chassis #: 0754TR 
Spyder by Scaglietti
Chassis #: 0756TR 

Recent Vehicle Additions

Performance and Specification Comparison

Model Year Production

#1#2#3Ferrari
1963Chevrolet (2,237,201)Ford (1,525,404)Fiat (957,941)
1962Chevrolet (2,061,677)Ford (1,476,031)Fiat (957,941)
1961Ford (1,338,790)Chevrolet (1,318,014)Volkswagen (807,488)
1960Chevrolet (1,653,168)Ford (1,439,370)Toyota (1,068,321)
1959Chevrolet (1,462,140)Ford (1,450,953)Volkswagen (575,407)
1958Chevrolet (1,142,460)Ford (987,945)Volkswagen (451,526)
1957Ford (1,676,449)Chevrolet (1,505,910)Plymouth (726,009)
1956Chevrolet (1,567,117)Ford (1,408,478)Buick (572,024)
1955Chevrolet (1,704,667)Ford (1,451,157)Buick (738,814)
1954Ford (1,165,942)Chevrolet (1,143,561)Plymouth (463,148)
1953Chevrolet (1,346,475)Ford (1,247,542)Plymouth (650,451)

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