Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa (Italian for red head) also referred to as Ferrari 250TR is one that continued to put Ferrari as an outstanding automobile.
Developed as a result of rule changes for the 1958 24 Hours of Le Mans that would require a maximum engine displacement of 3 litres. 250TR predecessor the 500TR used a 4-cylinder 2.0L engine that was improved by integrating a Colombo-designed 3.0L V12 engine. With the arrival of a new engine, Testa Rossa would require a new chassis and bodywork which resulted to Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa.
The main objective of the car was for endurance racing success that focuses on durability rather than overall speed which actually did pay off. Enzo Ferrari himself was involved in 250TR successes pushing engineers to create a unique car.
The 250TR went through constant upgrade during it’s time from 57′ – 62′ to be its best at each competition it raced. The then Chief designer Carlo Chiti played a major role in the development and many revisions kept 250TR competitive through 1962, Andrea Fraschetti who died in a test drive helped in developing 1957 first 250TR prototype and Giotto Bizzarrinni helped with aerodynamics improvement had major roles to play.
Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa went through rigorous experimentation and continuous development throughout it’s time (1957-1962); which saw a record of 33250 TRs of different types being built.
For more efficiency, the 250TR utilised a Colombo-designed 3.0L V12 engine used in 250 GT road and racing cars with a 4 speed manual gearbox of 5-speed manual gearbox transmission.
The 1959 250TR was the first Ferrari sports car to use disc brakes (manufactured by Dunlop), which are less susceptible to heat build up.
Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa a front engine, rear wheel drive due to continual design had a quite different bodywork for each year with 1958 design being unique.
1958 250TR was not the conventional fully enclosed front end, the new body had a distinctive cut-away nose resembling a Formula 1 car. The reason for the design was to reduce persistent heat-related problems to the brakes leading to the introduction of disc brake in 1959 250TR.
The collaboration between Scaglietti (an automobile design and coachbuilding company) and Carlo Chiti who were responsible for the distinctive cut-away nose bodywork of the 1958 250TR cars that became the most iconic 250TR style although had too much drag at high speeds.
250 TRs were extremely competitive during this time, winning 10 World Sportscar Championship races including the 1958, 1960, and 1961 24 Hours of Le Mans; the 1958, 1959 and 1961 12 Hours of Sebring; the 1958 Targa Florio! the 1958 and 1960 1000 km Buenos Aires and the 1961 4 hours of Pescara.
Notable drivers included Olivier Genbedien, Phil Hill,Luigi Musso, Peter Collins, Dan Gurney, Wolfgang von Trips and Mike Hawthorne, among others.
First 24 Hours of Le Mans win was by Olivier Genbedien and Phil Hill with a 12-lap gap ahead 2nd place Stirling Moss team Aston Martin DB3S in 1958.
In 1959, out of 10 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa only 3 finished with Stirling Moss winning.
1960 saw Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa come back with Olivier Genbedien and Paul Free winning.
1962 saw Ferrari with the final win, with Olivier Genbedien and Phil Hill.
In 2011,Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa sold at an auction for $16.39 million as most expensive, another sold at $12 million in 2009.
An unrestored, 1957 250 Testa Rossa was reportedly sold for over $39 million, making it the most expensive car ever sold in the United Kingdom. Just for perspective, $39 million is about 28 LaFerraris or roughly 128 F12 Berlinetta.