The September issue of Cincy featured an article on the local connection to Ferrari's success on the racetrack, an integral part of establishing itself as the world's most iconic brand and one of the most well known products ever produced.   Over the next several issues we will highlight the facts and figures of these racers the races and the cars.  These automobiles are some of the most beautiful machines ever produced with looks that matched the performance.  This issue we will examine the cars local drivers and the Ferrari 500 & 250 Testa Rossa that were at the zenith of the success for the Scuderia Ferrari.

Enzo Ferrari started building cars bearing his name after racing for Alfa Romeo for more than 15 years.  As WWII ended Ferrari's factory at Maranello in Northern Italy, in a region none for producing machine tools and other fine machinery, lay in shambles.  Rebuilt and ready to pursue his passion for racing Enzo Ferrari found that he could not afford to produce the racecars, and the Ferrari road car business was created to fund the racing efforts. In March of 1947 Ferrari debuted the 125S, a 1.5 liter sports car, the rigors of competition pushed the engine displacement up leading to the creation of the 166MM Barchetta, which many experts denote as the first car Ferrari produced to sell.

Ferraris started winning major international races immediately, adding a LeMans victory in 1949 with Luigi Chinetti at the wheel of a 166MM Barchetta.  Mr. Chinetti urged Enzo Ferrari to build more 166 models to sell to racers and sportsman, especially in the United States where Chinetti owned the distributorship.  The Queen City of the West harbored a group of six young men that appreciated the performance of the Ferraris and would soon be loyal customers of Luigi Chinetti and Enzo Ferrari.  First to take to the race track was E.P. Lunken (Ebby), in a 166MM Barchetta in July 1952: from that point for the next eight years six Cincinnatians drove over 20 different Ferraris in 146 starts winning 39 times.  It was quite a ride into the record books.

The victories included several wins at the 12 Hours of Sebring, Elkhart Lake Road races, Nassau Bahamas and National Championships for Lunken (1956) and James Johnston (1958).  The National Championships for Ebby Lunken and James Johnston came in the famed Testa Rossa Models that have now become some of the world's most valuable automobiles commanding millions of dollars to purchase and regularly setting auction records.  Recently the 1957 250 TR prototype car #0666 sold for $16.1 million at the Gooding Auction topping the previous high of $12.1 million from several years ago for another 250 TR.  The Testa Rossas were phenomenally successful racecars in both displacements offered by the Ferrari Factory and even in some displacements necessitated by component availability.  The coachwork on the 500 TR, 500 TRC and the 250 TR Testa Rossas that came to Cincinnati were all the creations of Scaglietti.  1956 saw a trio of Ferrari 500 TRs come to town for E.P. (Ebby) Lunken #0612MDTR, John Quackenbush #0634MDTR and Howard Hively #0654. 

Lunken drove his 500 TR to five victories early in the 1956 season; dominating on the Airport circuit at Lawrenceville Illinois with three victories before winning at the new Road America circuit in Elkhart Lake Wisconsin and at the Beverly Sports Car races before an engine change became necessary after a failure at Road America in September.  E.B. Lunken (a.k.a. "Young Ebby") explains that Chinetti did not have another 500 engine available, but had a 2.5 liter 625 engine ready to go that Lunken installed and took victories at Smartt Field Mo. and Nassau Bahamas.  The SCCA E-Modified National Championship went to Lunken for 1956 despite running D-Modified the later part of the season with the larger 625 engine.  After Ebby finished with 0612 the car went to Jimmie Johnston in 1957, and then to Augie Pabst who raced the car in 58, 59 and 61 before selling the car to Dudley Davis Jr.  Davis raced 0612 through the 1964 season and then the car was apparently parked for several decades before resurfacing in 1984 for the VSCC Golden Jubilee races at Silverstone in the hands of a driver named Pile, no first name noted.  Pile also raced the car in the 1986 Historic Mille Miglia with co-driver named Brooks, again no first name and no results.  In 1987 Mexican collector Nicolas Zapata started campaigning the car heartily across Europe in historic races, showed the car in 1994 at Pebble Beach and Galleria Ferrari in 1999.  Zapata's last race in the 500/625 TR was July 2006 when he swept both races at the Ferrari Maserati Historic Challenge at Circuit Paul Ricard in France.  Ebby Lunken's Ferrari 500 TR is one of the most raced Testa Rossas.

Quackenbush scored a pair of victories at Smartt Field and took a Seventh place with Roger Bear at the Road America Six Hour in September 1956 in 500 TR #0634.  John Quackenbush campaigned the car in to the 1958 season with more wins and a number of top five finishes.  For 1959 the TR 500 #0634 MDTR was raced by Dick Hogue.  The latest information is that 0634 is now back in its native Italy.  

Howard Hively's 500 TR #0654MDTR spent the early part of the 1956 season in Europe at LeMans and the 12 hours of Rheims.  Hively took possession of the car in late 1956 and finished second to Lunken in a race Nassau Bahamas; taking a victory in the 20 lap Governor's Cup later in the event.  Hively had Ferrari Grand Prix driver Peter Collins pilot #0654 in the February 1957 Cuba GP at Havana.  Hively sold 0654 to Robert Walker from Hamilton Ohio before June of 1958 when Walker raced the car at Road America in the June Sprints and then was unfortunately killed in a fatal accident at the inaugural races at Meadowdale Raceway outside Chicago.  The car went to Sal Costello of San Jose California in 1991, having been restored the car was exhibited at the Pebble Beach Concours.  Costello showed 0654 several more times until the last recorded appearance in 1994 in the International Ferrari Concours at Monterey California.

Two Ferrari 500 TRCs came to Cincinnati in 1957 for Ebby Lunken, Chuck Hassan and Howard Hively. The 500 TRC was Ferrari's response to changes in the FIA rules outlined in appendix "C" of the sports car rules.  Again the body was a work of art by Scaglietti; just like the preceding 500 TR, the drive train stayed the same, however the engine was lowered in the chassis and the TRC was fitted with a live rear axle.  The four cylinder, double overhead cam, two valve per cylinder, all aluminum 2 liter engines produced either 180 or 190 horsepower depending on which source you think most reliable.  Almost 200 horsepower from a 2 liter engine is healthy even in today's world of much better ignition and induction and all the other developments over the last 55 years.

 Ferrari 500 TRC #0658MDTR was first raced in March 1957 at Sebring Florida by Howard Hively, Richie Ginther and Windy Morton.  Entered by Temple Buell of Denver Colorado the trio finished tenth overall in the classic twelve hour endurance race on the old WWII bomber base situated amongst the citrus groves of central Florida.  Ebby Lunken raced 0658 to second place and third place finishes at Lawrenceville Illinois in August 57.  Todd Aikins bought the car and painted it blue and white before entering it in the Mansfield Races in 1959, taking a first place finish; Carl Haas drove the car at Rod America in 1960 before it went to Augie Pabst and a long line of owners before being sold by our friend Steve Barney in 1986.  In the late eighties the car was restored by Mike Dopudja and in 1991 Claudio Caggiatti acquired the car.  Caggiatti has entered 0658 in the Mille Miglia 14 times since 1993 plus historic races at Monza and taken awards at several Concours through 2009.

Ferrari 500 TRC #0668MDTR was first raced at the Sebring Twelve Hour in March 1957 by Ebby Lunken and Chuck Hassan.  Lunken raced the car at Road America in June 57 taking second place, next was Marlboro Maryland and then back to Road America for the six hour with Jim Kimberly co-driving the car with a result of seventh overall.  Following the September event at Road America #0668 was sold to Ferrari importer Luigi Chinetti who fielded the car at the Nassau Speedweeks for Olivier Gendebien resulting in several good finishes for the affable Belgian driver.  Temple Buell bought 0668, painted it blue and white before entering it in the February 1958 Cuba GP with Bob Said behind the wheel, the race was red flagged on lap six and no results were posted.  Said returned in the car for the Sebring Twelve hour a month later but was sidelined with a brake problem resulting in a dnf (did not finish).  Bob Said is current all around racer Boris Said's father; Bob was often seen driving in the Grands Prix.  500 TRC #0668 was raced in the United Sates and made it back for the Cuba GP of 1959.  Returning to competition in the 1987 Mille Miglia the last posted result is the Historic Monaco GP in 1997.

The auction record setting Ferraris are the 250 Testa Rossa models featuring the three liter V-12 and the unique Pontoon Fender bodywork by Scaglietti, two of these cars graced the banks of the Ohio with #0720TR taking local paper magnate Jim Johnston to a National Championship.   John Quackenbush raced #0730TR with Ed Martin, however did not find the success that Johnston realized from his 250 TR.  Jim Johnston raced 500/625 TR #0612 during 1957 and purchased 0720TR from Luigi Chinetti over the winter of 57-58.  His first outing produced an overall win at Lawrenceville Illinois in March 1958; the car was raced 20 times that year with eleven victories and the national championship as a result.  Johnston was the dominate force that year winning on airport circuits, and the new permanent road courses at Meadowdale Ill and Elkhart Lake Wisconsin, sprint or endurance races; victory at The Road America 500 was shared with co-drivers Ebby Lunken and Bud Sevearns.  The 1959 season opened at the Sebring 12 hour with a formidable team of Johnston and Lunken joined by Gaston Andrey and Augie Pabst for a seventh overall and fourth in class result. 

Johnston raced 0720 TR through the 1959 season with continued success and sold the car to David Biggs of St. Louis who campaigned it on a regular basis with Johnston as the co-driver in the endurance event.  In 1964 a fire swept through the Biggs garage destroying 0720TR and a number of other Ferraris, Alfa Romeos and other racing machines.  The only recognizable component from 0720TR was the frame; all of the aluminum had melted away in the intense heat of the fire.  Supposedly and Alfa Romeo collector picked up the chassis from a ravine when he was picking up another car and returned it to Europe where the car was reconstructed with components salvaged for other Ferraris or fabricated anew.  In 1991 the car was imported to the U.K. and received FIA competition papers to race in vintage events.  2001 the FIA issues a verification of the authenticity of the car that has the serial number 0720TR and is owned by Rodney Fulton.  This car has been raced sparingly since its restoration with very few results posted and the most current being the Historica Mille Miglia in 2002.  When the car is worth $15 million or so, one can afford to fabricate some parts to make the car complete!  The identity issues with #0720TR are not confined to just this one example, there are up to two more cars that claim to be the 0720TR that have been rebuilt, reconstructed, recreated what have you.  This is the car that is the catalyst for the phrase "All 21 of the original 19 cars built showed up at the Concours"!  This car has some baggage and it is not the nifty custom fitted kind! 

The Ferrari Testa Rossa is an example of the boisterous thinking employed by Enzo Ferrari in the mid fifties to vanquish his opponents on the race track.  Bold and about as subtle as a hack saw the TRs were built to withstand the punishment of the endurance races at LeMans and Sebring but light an nimble enough to take the checkered flag in the sprint races too. 

Next issue we will feature information on the other Ferraris that raced their way through Cincinnati including updates on the Kleve/Swaters car and more from the fifties.  Send us your memories of Ferraris and other Italian cars you have craved and visit us on facebook at Cincy Motorsports Journal.  Grazie!   



Kurt Niemeyer is editor of Cincy Motorsports Journal. He has longtime ties to the racing and auto show communities. Visit Cincy Motorsports Journal online at www.cincymagazine.com for more facts and in-depth information. And connect with CMJ on Facebook "” Cincy Motorsports Journal "” to get weekly updates.