The Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa was the successor to the Monza series of race cars. Its name translates to “red head,” which refers to the red painted valve covers on the 3.0-liter V-12 engine, which in the case of the 250 Testa Rossa was fed by six Weber carburetors. The Testa Rossa was used as Ferrari’s top level entry in international endurance racing since the FIA had placed a limit of 3.0-liter displacement on prototypes.
While the factory campaigned a handful of Testa Rossas, Ferrari intended for the car to be campaigned by privateers in both Europe and North America. As a result, it was not overly complex and emphasized ruggedness and reliability over technical complexity. That’s not to say the Testa Rossa wasn’t fast, however. It led Ferrari in points to the World Sports Car Championship in 1958, 1960 and 1961 after losing out to Aston Martin in 1959. Ferrari won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in each of these years as well, with an iteration of the Testa Rossa winning again in 1962 and becoming the last front-engined car to win the race. Some of the all-time greats piloted 250 Testa Rossas on the track, including Phil Hill, Wolfgang Von Trips, Olivier Gendebien and Mike Hawthorn.
The first of the 250 Testa Rossas featured unusual but gorgeous “pontoon” bodywork by Scaglietti. The front fenders protrude forward separately from the central part of the bodywork, and the bodywork turns in behind the front wheels leaving an open area underneath the fenders. Different and more conventional but still beautiful bodywork was used on later examples.