On the 24th of June 1956 Ferrari entered three 2 litre 122 cui Ferrari 500TR’s with bodies by Touring into a sports car race at Monza. Today’s featured car chassis #0642MDTR driven by Peter Collins and Mike Hawthorn started 3rd and won the race by 26 seconds from the Maserati 200S driven by Cesrae Perdisa and Stirling Moss with the two remaining factory Touring bodied cars #0632MTDR and #0652MTDR coming home 3rd and 4th respectively.
After the fatal tragedy at Le Mans in 1955 and due to low build volumes Ferrari were barred from entering there larger engined 860 Monza or 290MM models which were considered prototypes, a class now restricted to 2.5 litre motors.
So in late July 1956 #0642, #0632 and #0644 took part in the Le Mans 24 hours in 500TR/625LM spec fitted with 2.5 litre / 252.5 cui 4 cylinder motors. Olivier Gendebien and Maurice Trintignant drove #0644 to a third place finish behind a Jaguar and Aston Martin both considered to be production cars and consequently allowed to run with larger motors.
Phil Hill and André Simon retired #0632 with a rear axle problem while #0642 carrying the #11 and scheduled to be driven by Alfonso de Portago and Duncan Hamilton was involved in an incident between two works Jaguar D-Types that saw all three retire in the opening laps. #0642 was repaired at the factory and returned to 500TR spec with a 2 litre motor re-fitted before being shipped to US agent Luigi Chinetti in New York.
From December 1956 to 1963 the car was raced by privateers amongst whom David Ash scored a victory at Thompson when he was driving the car for Robert Publicker in 1957. Lloyd “Lucky” Crasner won at Opa Locka when he was owner of #0642 in 1958, two years later owner William Kimberely also recorded an overall victory in the car at Lime Rock.
In 1963 Arthur ‘Art’ Burmeister recorded a class win at Frayling in the cars final year of competition. Up until 1994 #0642 remained in the USA whence it returned after a ten year spell in Japanese ownership.
My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for sharing today’s photographs of #0642 which were taken at the Blackhawk Museum.
Thanks for joining me on this “Caught In A Cat Fight” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you’ll join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a self build vehicle has a tenuous link to NBA super star Wilt Chamberlain. Don’t for get to come back now !