Bert Skidmore -- 1958
The high point of your webmaster's "Monterey
Historics 2007" weekend came early.
On Thursday afternoon (August 16, 2007)
test driver Bert Skidmore gave Chris Cox's 1958 Ferrari 412MI an incredible screaming
run during practice for the "Historic Ferrari Challenge".
Your webmaster first saw the 412MI at the SCCA
event held at Stead AFB (near Reno) on Sept 23-24, 1961, driven by well-known
pro Skip Hudson. Hudson also appeared in the then Bill
Harrah-owned car at the 1961 "L.A. Times Grand Prix", at Riverside
Raceway on Oct. 13-15, 1961. The Harrah era wasn't a happy one for
the 412MI; it never seemed to run right and never showed its potential,
even with the skilled Hudson driving.
The next time your webmaster saw the
car was at the inaugural Monterey Historics in 1974, piloted by race organizer
The car appeared occasionally at the
Historics after that.
I arrived at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca after shooting the Pebble
Beach Concours Tour cars at Soberanes Point south of Carmel on Highway
1, and later in downtown
Carmel. I didn't expect much, just the chance to say "hi" to
a few people in the pits and look around, and maybe get some photos.
But what a fantastic surprise -- the
412MI was on trac k-- and screaming! The driver wore the familiar
red-and-white helmet bearing Skidmore's "Intrepid Motors" logo. Skidmore,
of Sparks, NV, had shown his mastery of front-engined Ferraris when he
tore up Infineon Raceway (Sears Point) in Anthony
Wang's Testa Rossa at the 2006 "Wine Country Classic". And here
was the same driver with two more cams and 150 more horsepower, running
at far higher RPMs -- and he was cornering the great car to its limits.
When this one-of-a-kind Ferrari gets
"up on the cams" the scream is unbelievable. Imagine three Testa
Rossas in echelon revving way past redline. Comparable only is the
1972 F1 Matra
V12's unearthly wail (your webmaster heard Chris Amon's Matra MS120D
at the 1972 US Grand Prix at Watkins Glen), but there's nothing unearthly
about the 412MI's auditory magic: it's
Cox -- 1958 Ferrari 412MI
Back to: Ferrari
Challenge -- Disc Brake Group