Ferrari 500 TRC by Scaglietti

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500 TRC by Scaglietti





Following engineer Aurelio Lampredi’s departure from Ferrari in 1955, a new engineering team was formed for 1956, including Vittorio Jano, Alberto Massimino, Luigi Bellentani and the young Andrea Fraschetti. These highly skilled men soon came up with a new two-litre sports racing car: the 500 TR. This was the first Ferrari designated with the now legendary name “Testa Rossa.” The four-cylinder-engined type 500 TR was introduced in 1956 and was the successor to the 500 Mondial. Seventeen examples were built and became favourite sports racers for privateers the world over.

Half a year later the factory produced a new car, because the sports commission of the FIA issued new regulations. For the 1957 season the new Appendix C for modified sports cars took effect. The 500 TR was outlawed by the new rules, many of which concerned the bodywork. The windscreen now had to be symmetrical over the axis of the car, and width had to measure 100 cm with a height of at least 15 centimeters. A soft-top was required, and the gas tank capacity was to be 120 litres. A passenger door was mandated as well.

Engineers, mechanics and designers began a race against the clock. By the end of 1956, Ferrari announced the 500 TRC, a new model which adhered to all of the new FIA regulations.

The new model was assigned chassis Type 518 C and engine Type 131 C. Motor, gearbox and transmission were identical to the 500 TR. One of the primary differences between the TRC and the first Mondial, in addition to reduced weight, was the rear axle: a coil sprung rigid axle instead of the deDion variety. The two-litre engine reached its peak of performance in the TRC with 190hp.

More importantly, the chassis structure of the 500 TRC had been reinforced to increase rigidity. The front-end tubular frame members were further apart, which made it possible to mount the engine lower, thus lowering the center of gravity of the whole car. This also allowed Pinin Farina to design an entirely new body that was lower by 10 centimeters, which was to be built by Scaglietti and is rightly regarded as one of the most beautiful and seductive Ferrari racing spiders ever built.

The Ferrari factory sold the TRC to private customers all over the world as a winning weapon in the sports car races. Several TRCs originally had two-tone paint, and not many were colored the typical Ferrari racing red. The small group of 19 cars was produced within one year. Less than twelve months after its introduction, however, the 500 TRC was replaced by the 12-cylinder 250 Testa Rossa, which despite being more powerful was produced in greater numbers. As the last four-cylinder sports racing car, the 500 TRC truly marked the end of an era at Ferrari.

The 1956/7 500 TRC was a massaged version of the successful 500 TR of the previous year. In keeping with the new C-section regulations, Ferrari widened the cockpit, added doors, fitted a windscreen, and even added a storable convertible top. It rode on the longer 2350 mm (93 in) wheelbase of the 860 Monza and featured coil springs all around, though the live axle in the rear was retained rather than the more modern de Dion tube. The 680 kg (1500 lb) car's 180hp (142 kW) made it quite capable, and even though it was never a works car, a 500 TRC was 7th overall, claiming class victory at the 1957 24 Hours of Le Mans. Another 500 TRC claimed a class win at the 1958 Targa Florio.

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