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Ferrari 250 GT SWB

1960 Alloy Competition Car - Le Mans Race History

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1759 GT was built to win races at the highest levels of competition. As noted on the build sheets, this car was built specifically to compete at the 1960 24 Hours of Le Mans. On January 18, 1960, the bare chassis frame was sent to Carrozzeria Scaglietti to be fitted with a lightweight alloy body. While this work was being carried out, the major mechanical components were being completed at the Ferrari factory and tested. Built for the explicit purpose of racing at Le Mans, 1759 GT incorporated every competition component available at the time, from the alloy gearbox casing to the tipo 168 B engine with 128 LM heads as used on the 250 Testa Rossa.

When the Tipo 539 chassis was completed on March 17 it was only the 5th of 165 Short-Wheelbase Berlinetta cars ever built (6th if you count 1739 Bertone) - around 40 of these were factory built as competizione cars like 1759 GT. Little more than a month had passed before the completed car was taken to the challenging Monza Autodrome where it was factory tested in preparation for Le Mans. At Monza, Ferrari's great factory drivers Richie Ginther, Phil Hill and Wolfgang von Trips put the initial test mileage on the car and assured that 1759 GT was well sorted for its competition debut.

Soon after, on June 18, with financing from Dr. Harvey Schur of Scarsdale, New York, Luigi Chinetti Motors of New York purchased the car from Ferrari. Its destiny was to compete at Le Mans as Luigi Chinetti's entry for the fabled North American Racing Team (N.A.R.T.)

The 28th Annual 24 Hours of Le Mans was held on June 25, 1960, and 1759 GT appeared on track, ready to do battle against one of the most impressive grids Le Mans had yet to see. When seen on track, the car was finished as when it left the factory, in red with a black interior, however, by the time it had arrived in France 1759 GT wore a distinctive white and blue noseband with a N.A.R.T. insignia, white right hand side diagonal stripes fore and aft and was fitted with rear brake cooling scoops placed in front of the rear wheels, a bug deflector and narrow TdF-style Borrani wire wheels.

Ed Hugus and Augie Pabst, who had just come from an impressive 4th overall performance at Sebring, were the pilots. Wearing number 19, the car fought through the day and night against stiff competition that included Testa Rossas, DBR1s, RSKs and three other factory-prepared SWBs. At the end of the 24 hours, 1759 GT crossed the finish line, finishing 7th overall and 4th in the Gran Turismo class.