After attracting the attention of US Ferrari importer Luigi Chinetti in 1957 Dan Gurney found himself at the wheel of a North American Racing Team Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa, owned by Chinetti at Le Mans in 1958 and drove the car up to 5th place before handing over to his team mate Bruce Kessler who got caught up in someone elses accident before the car retired. That drive impressed Ferrari sufficiently to earn Dan a drive with the works Ferrari team.
For their 1959 Le Mans effort Ferrari built today’s featured Ferrari 250 TR chassis #0774 for Gurney to share with Jean Behra the car managed twice as many laps as Dan’s first attempt but still fell way short of a result.
Next time out Phil Hill and Olivier Gendebien drove the car at Goodwood in the TT Race where they also failed to score a result both the 1959 Le Mans and Goodwood TT had been won by Aston Martin in what turned out to be a championship winning season for them.
1960 would see a return of fortune for the Ferrari sports car team and chassis #0744 played an important role winning two championship races first Phil Hill and Cliff Alison won the 1000 kms at Buenos Aires and then Olivier Gendebien and Paul Frére won the Le Mans 24 hours scoring Ferrari’s third win in the Endurance Classic and helping Ferrari to their sixth World Sports Car title.
Between these successes #0774 was loaned to Chinetti’s NART team for Ritchie Ginther and Chuck Daigh to drive in the Sebring 12 hours but they failed to finish and after Le Mans the car was sold to Eleanor von Neumann who entered it for Phil Hill to drive in the 1960 LA Times Grand Prix at Riverside where he finished 7th overall.
In 1963 Tom O’Connor bought the car for his Rose Bud racing team which promptly stripped the motor out and fitted it to their Lotus 19 chassis 952 that featured here on GALPOT a couple of years ago.
Under the ownership of Paul Pappalardo #0774 was reunited with it’s original motor in the 1980’s and the car won two class Concours d’Elegance awards at Palm Beach and Pebble Beach in 1993.
In a twist of biting the hand that feeds irony Dan Gurney eventually won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1967 with co driver AJ Foyt driving for Ferrari’s sworn enemy Ford in a Mk IV.
After 26 years in Paul’s custody ownership of #0774 passed to Hong Kong sourcing and logistics magnate William E ‘Chip’ Connor who kindly took it to the 2012 Gooodwood Revival for the Tribute to Dan Gurney Parade.
Thanks for joining me on this “Biting The Hand” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t for get to come back now !