Bert Skidmore -- 1958 Ferrari 412MI

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 Steve Earle. 

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 all Ferrari.

Next:   Chris Cox -- 1958 Ferrari 412MI

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