Forget Formula One: in the 1950s and early 1960s, motorsport’s centre of gravity was the sports car world championship. And it was in this fiery crucible that the name Ferrari first became truly mythologised.
The Scuderia produced a bewildering array of racing cars during this era, often mixing and matching components, and developing ad hoc solutions as the need arose. However, the 250 Testa Rossa elevates itself above the rest on a purely empirical basis thanks to its three overall wins at Le Mans (1958, ’60, and ’61), leading to constructor’s titles for Ferrari in those same years, but also because the TR is about as beautiful as any racing car has ever been. (Feel free to nominate your choices below…)
Only 34 were made, most survive (although at least one was immolated not once but twice, and another had to endure the ignominy of seeing its V12 replaced with a Chevy V8), and they are now amongst the most desirable and valuable of all Ferraris in the ultra high-end collector’s market. That’s partly down to narrative and back story, things the mid-1950s competition scene was scarcely lacking in. It was also a time when some of Ferrari’s most revered drivers – Wolfgang Von Trips, Peter Collins, Phil Hill, Mike Hawthorn – also competed in world sports car racing.