Six decades after the first Model T rolled off an assembly line on wooden artillery wheels, the Ferrari 250 TR was devouring racetracks at over 100 miles per hour.
The “horseless carriage” had evolved into a space-age beast producing enough horsepower to propel it to dizzying speeds. However, the rickety Model T and the 250 TR had something in common: they were pioneers carrying people into the future. And they would both become very, very rare.
REMPCO Vintage has had the honor of working on many rare vehicles full of history, but the one that tops the list is the 0770TR. Set apart by its chassis number (0770), this Ferrari speed demon began its career in 1959 and competed in the 1960 24 Hours of Le Mans, where it got its racing number 9. Since then, it has made its way around the world. Fortunately, the 0770 recently found a home with a passionate enthusiast who wanted to restore it to its 1960s glory. The REMPCO Vintage team is extremely honored to have created new gears for the 0770TR’s transmission. Getting to play a part in its restoration to 1960s racing form is an experience we will never forget.
The Journey of the 0770TR
The 0770TR has its roots in what may be considered the Golden Age of racing: the 50s and 60s. Two World Wars had driven technology to new heights, the world had its eye on the moon, and the world of racing was a bit like the Wild West. While NASA pushed the limits of aerodynamics, power, and technology to win the space race, auto designers and engineers were doing the same thing to achieve the perfect race car. They sculpted their vehicles with mind-bending curves and swoops that sliced through the air. They sabotaged fuel, stole components, and did whatever they had to in order to pursue their passion. They risked their lives chasing the ever-moving target that is performance. As a result, the 50s and 60s produced some of the most iconic car silhouettes (and dramatic races) in history. The timeless yet radical styling of these vehicles makes them instant showstoppers to this day, even when parked beside newer vehicles trying to mimic their undeniable beauty.
Keeping Up in the 60s
As the 50s came to a close, the International Automobile Federation required a maximum engine displacement of three liters in order to compete for the World Sportscar Championship. Ferrari had fought hard to dominate the race circuit against Aston Martin and other elite teams and wasn’t about to back down. Their answer to the new regulation was the 1959 Testa Rossa 250 (250 TR59), which traded out the Testa Rossa’s existing four-cylinder engine for a three-liter V12 designed by Columbo. Thirty-three TR59s, including the 0770, were produced and featured five-speed transmissions right behind their engines as well as a more aerodynamic design and disc brakes.
The TR59s needed to carry the Ferrari name into the 60s, but it wouldn’t be easy. They were expected to deliver a fantastic racing season in 1959, but the team lost the World Sports Championship to Aston Martin by a maddeningly small margin. The 0770TR itself placed 5th in both the 1000km Nurburgring and RAC Tourist Trophy (Goodwood) with drivers Dan Gurney, Cliff Allison, and Tony Brooks. It was unable to finish the other three races of its season.
This would not do. Something had to be done before the 1960 season rolled around. Even though Ferrari had several other cars in development, they knew their best option was to pour whatever time they had left into the 250 TR. They selected three 1959 250TRs, including the 0770, and had their crack engineer Carlo Chiti and his team create the extremely rare 250 TR59/60 model.
The laundry list of 59/60 improvements included performance upgrades as well as changes to meet racing regulations. The old wet sump lubrication system was replaced with a dry system, which lowered the engine within the chassis. The resulting low center of mass made the vehicle easier to handle and made its razor-sharp front profile even more aerodynamic. And this was a good thing, too, because regulations were actually going to make the vehicle harder to race.
Research done by the Customer Satisfaction Index showed that customers favored Grand Touring (GT) styles. Therefore, prototype sports cars were required to be styled like grand touring cars. As a result, when Ferrari got to work on the 0770 and its two mates, they had to install larger windscreens, add windshield wipers, incorporate trunk space, mount the exhaust down the sides, and tighten the vehicles’ turning radius. The larger windscreens reduced aerodynamics and made it harder to see in the rain, but rules were rules, and the three unique Testa Rossas had to take on the 1960s World Sportscar Championship circuit. The 0770TR was ready to do its part.
The 1960s Racing Results for the 0770TR
We’re jumping into the 0770TR’s journey in 1960, but it’s important to note the chassis already had a year of racing under its belt before being modified. 1960 was its first year as a 59/60.
- 1000km Buenos Aires
January 31, 1960
The only World Sportscar Race in South America, the 1000km Buenos Aires was an endurance race dominated by Ferraris. The 0770TR was driven by Graf Bergh von Trips and Richie Ginther and took second place overall. It was a solid start to the year.
- Le Mans Test
April 9, 1960
The 0770TR continued its upward journey at the test for 24 Hours of Le Mans, where it took second place overall under the driving team Cliff Allison and Phill Hill.
- 1000km Nurburgring
May 22, 1960
In another great race, the 0770TR took third place overall in the 1000km Nurburgring. It was driven by a four-man team consisting of Cliff Allison, Willy Mairesse, Phil Hill, and Graf Berghe von Trips.
- 24 Hours of Le Mans
June 25-26, 1960
Under the number 9, the 0770TR had a great start under the driving team Phill Hill and Wolfgang von Trips. However, about three hours in, the car ran out of fuel and could not finish.
- Road America 500, Elkhart Lake
September 11, 1960
In its first race on American soil, the 0770TR was driven by Augie Pabst and Bill Wuesthoff. They won second place.
- 25 Lap Governor’s Trophy, Nassau
December 3, 1960
The 0770TR finished its first full year of racing being driven by Pedro Rodriguez. Unfortunately, it was unable to finish due to an accident.
After the 1960 Season
Despite the lighter, more agile Ferraris that were starting to take over the racetrack, the 0770TR really hit its stride in ‘61 and part of ‘62 under drivers George Reed and Owen Coon. It took 12th place in the ‘61 12h Sebring, placed first in Wilmot Hills both ‘61-‘62, and dominated other races in between.
Mid-1962, a 290 MM engine from chassis 0628TR was installed. This seems to have played a part in the 0770TR’s waning dominance, as the vehicle was unable to start/finish for three of the four remaining races of the year.
In 1963, a Ford V8 engine was installed in the 0770TR. It raced a majority of the year under the number 95 and was driven by George Reed. Unfortunately, the rest of ‘63 and ‘64 saw a string of races in which the car could not finish for various reasons.
After the mid 60s, the 0770TR’s journey becomes a bit more spotty. It made an appearance at the Merchants’ Classic Car Championship rounds in 1975, driven by Colin Crabbe. Through the rest of the 70s and 80s, it passed to Philip Walters Dowell and then to James Allington in Great Britain. At this point, its racing career was solidly behind it, as it appeared in a show or two but was hidden the rest of the time.
It wasn’t until 1997 that the 0770TR was reunited with its original engine. It came under its current ownership soon after and was restored to its full 59/60 glory, including the #9 it wore in the 1960 Le Mans race. REMPCO Vintage was honored to handle the complex task of building the transmission while remaining true to 1960s Italian engineering.
After its loving restoration, the 0770TR has been winning awards and making jaws drop at numerous car shows. Some of its most notable appearances have happened at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where it has been reunited with other extremely rare Ferraris, including a fellow 59/60, the 0774TR, which bears an #11 from the 1960 Le Mans race. Though its racing days may be in the past, it has a bright future thanks to the care with which it has been restored.
Continuing a Tradition of Passion
Back when the beloved 0770TR was born, the work of NASA had captured the world’s imagination. Not everyone could build spaceships, but they could work together to build the ground-based equivalent. The automobile became a focus-point for dreamers, racers, and engineers, and the 1959/60 Testa Rossa is a shining example of what passion, ingenuity, and relentless drive can accomplish. REMPCO Vintage is proud to have been able to contribute to its journey into the future.
A Brief History of Ferrari
When Enzo Ferrari formed Scuderia Ferrari in 1929, his only goal was dominating the track. His “Ferrari Stable” got its start with Alfa Romeo, essentially functioning as the brand’s racing division. Enzo bought, prepared, and fielded racecars for gentleman drivers. He also supported many famous drivers. About 10 years later, Alfa Romeo made Enzo the manager of their racing department, which essentially disbanded Scuderia Ferrari.
It wasn’t more than a year later that Enzo left Alfa Romeo. He would not be allowed to use his name in connection with racing cars or races for a minimum of four years, so he immediately founded Auto Avio Costruzioni in the old Scuderia Ferrari headquarters. At first, the company produced aircraft accessories and machine tools. However, in 1940, they produced a racecar on a Fiat platform and called it the Tipo 815. Unfortunately, World War II put racing on the back burner, so the Tipo didn’t really get to compete. Mid-war, the Ferrari factory moved to its current location in Maranello, where it was bombed by the Allies. Ultimately, the factory’s destruction worked in Enzo’s favor, as he was able to rebuild it with the capability to produce both road and race cars.
In 1947, the very first car with a Ferrari badge rolled out of Scuderia Ferrari. Powered by a 1.5 liter V12 engine, it was called the 125 S and became part of the vehicles Enzo built and sold in order to fund his company. While he didn’t want to do this, it was necessary in order to keep Scuderia Ferrari afloat. The good news is, he wouldn’t have to sell his vehicles away to make his dream possible for long. Skip forward twenty years, and Ferrari found support in Fiat, who took a 50 percent stake in his company. As a result of increased funds, Enzo was able to make his company what he wanted it to be. Not long after, the Scuderia Ferrari name was attached to factory racing cars, which includes the 0770TR.
Ever since its inception, Ferrari has been heavily involved in motorsports, but it dominates the world of road vehicles as well. Passion for design and performance makes their creations highly coveted around the world. By offering high performance to everyday drivers, they allow a wide array of people to experience the joy of the road. Not only that, they continue to push the limits of what is possible when it comes to both racing and road cars. REMPCO Vintage is honored to be able to help preserve a key piece of Scuderia Ferrari’s heritage.
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