This 1959 Ferrari 250 TR tribute car is a raw-aluminum masterpiece

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Jay Leno's Garage 250 TR Tribute thumb Jay Leno's Garage

Last Monday marked what would have been the 121st birthday of Italian sports car legend Enzo Ferrari. As such, we celebrated by asking readers on the Hagerty Forums for their favorite prancing horses, and even provided a our own top picks. Well, it’s only been 7 days, but now we’re second-guessing our own choices. This week’s episode of Jay Leno’s Garage lays down a pretty good argument for a car that didn’t make our list—the 1959 Ferrari 250 TR.

Owned and thoroughly resurrected by Peter Giacobbi, this beautifully executed tribute car has had its share of ups and downs over the years. The shell was built and presented to Ferrari in 1958 as a proof of concept, an attempt by a small coachbuilder to win the contract to build the 250 TR bodies. Shoddy workmanship, however, sent the business elsewhere, relegating this example to wall art status in an Italian barn for 50 years.

Giacobbi stumbled across the lonely carcass on a trip and bought it on a whim, and he has slowly transformed it into a running, driving recreation of one of the ultimate 1950s racers. The driveline utilizes full Ferrari running gear, with a 4.4-liter (up from the original 3.0-liter) V-12 engine and five-speed manual gearbox. A custom-built chassis underpins the TR, paying careful attention to original details and even using era-correct fasteners. A traffic accident recently crunched a section of its all-aluminum body, but the damage was sorted out, allowing the TR to hit the road once again.

From the moment that Leno turns the key, this tribute’s driver-focused purpose is abundantly clear. On road, the V-12 screams throughout its rev range, and just like any good race car, the engine and the transmission appear happier the harder they’re pushed. Giacobbi’s goal was to build a car to “drive it and experience what my heros experienced,” and judging by the smiles glued to his and Leno’s faces as the 250 TR tears up the tarmac, we’d have to say he’s nailed that goal and more.

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