Notes on the Ferrari 625TRC

In 1957, John Von Neumann imported a pair of unique Ferraris, #0672 and #0680, which were 500TRC's equipped with 2.5 liter engines.


 
In 1958, Richie Ginther & Paul Primeau installed a Ferrari V-12 in #0672.  Von Neumann first drove it with V-12 power at Pomona on 2-1-59.  He DNF'd .  Next he took it to El Paso for the 2-29/3-1 weekend where he finished 2nd in the preliminary race and 4th in the main event.  On 4-26-59 He DNF'd at Avandaro, Mexico.  That was Von Neumann's last race (except for vintage racing).

#0672 was entered in the "L.A. Times Grand Prix" in 1960 with Ginther driving.  The engine blew in practice and Ginther drove the Ferrari 412MI for Fred Knoop.

Otto Zipper was #0672's next owner.  He entered the Ferrari at Santa Barbara in May, 1962, where Ken Miles scored an overall win.  Movie #1 shows Miles in action at this event.  At Pomona in July, Miles blew the engine while running 2nd to Bill Krause's Birdcage Maserati.

(I saw this happen.  Miles was driving hard and seemed to be closing on Krause when the engine expired in a huge cloud of steam on the straight leading to the last corner.)

In 1963, Ford dealer Ron Ellico acquired the car and put a Ford 406 into it, planning to campaign the car with Eric Hauser driving.  I don't know if that effort actually reached a starting grid.

To my knowledge, the car has never appeared in historic racing.


 
In 1957, Von Neumann drove #0680 at Nassau (He finished 3rd) and elsewhere.  In March, 1959, he scored another 3rd place, this time at Pomona.  At some point after this, the Ferrari's engine was sold to Pete Lovely.

Later, Stan Sugarman bought the car and added Chevy power.  He went through Carroll Shelby's driving school at Riverside in the car and then went racing.  He ran at Pomona and Cotati, and maybe other California and Arizona events, sharing the driving with Jim Conner.  He sold #0680 to Northern California Corvette stalwart Red Faris after the race at Cotati on July 11-12, 1961.

Faris first appeared with the car at the Vacaville event on August 15-16, 1961.  He never felt comfortable in it and offered the wheel to fellow Corvette competitor Bill Sherwood.  Unlike it's patrician sister car, the Ferrari-Chevy led a blue collar meat-and-potatoes life pounding around Northern California circuits. It was always well-driven and often in contention for the lead.  See Movie #8, which shows Sherwood leading at Laguna Seca on June 13, 1962.

Sherwood finally won a main event overall at Vacaville on November 15, 1962.  This came after Stan Peterson's spectacular rollover at Turn 1 in Bev Spencer's frightening ex-Briggs Cunningham Maserati Type 151 coupe.

(I saw this happen also.  Sherwood led the first lap in the Ferrari-Chevy, but the Maserati roared past near the end of the long start/finish straight.  I don't know why the accident occurred but I remember seeing the underside of the Maserati as it rolled over the high side of the banked Turn 1.  Peterson was unhurt.)

For 1963 the Ferrari-Chevy was sold to Danno Raffetto, who campaigned it through 1964.

Michael Callaham vintage races the car today with Ferrari V-12 power.


The engine from #0672 went  into Jack Nethercutt's 500-TRC #0708.   On the next page, the top photo shows the distinctive hood bulges required by the larger 2.5 liter engine.  The photo below shows #0708 in its original 2 liter form. 

Also -- "Barchetta" has Nethercutt with #0708 at a Santa Barbara event with Olds V-8 power.  (Note on the "Barchetta" page the decrepit condition of the car and the huge, bizarre airscoop.  Olds power?  David Seielstad updates this information.)

2-20-01    Website visitor Peter Grootswagers offered the following:

"As a Dutch Ferrari historian I can tell you that the original #0672 engine is now equipped in the special 625 Tasman single seater which is in a museum near my hometown.  I am still trying to find out (through sources in Australia, New Zealand and the U.K.) when and where the engine swap took place.  I do have copies of the original factory papers of #0672..."

The engine from #0680 had a better known post-Von Neumann career.  It was sold to Pete Lovely, who installed it in a monoposto Cooper and raced the resulting Cooper-Ferrari at the Formula 1 race at Riverside in November, 1960.  He finished 11th.

Lovely owns the Cooper-Ferrari to this day.

**  Thanks to Michael T. Lynch and David Seielstad 
for corrections to this page!

Next:   Jack Nethercutt in his Ferrari 500-TRC

Back to:   Stan Sugarman