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A Closer Look at The 1956 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa

1956 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa

The Ferrari Testa Rosa is another magnificent sports car that managed to grace the track for Ferrari in the 50s. Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa was unveiled towards the end of the 1956 season. There were several restrictions that would limit some engines for the World Sports Car Championships, especially the 24 hours Le Mans in the following season. Given that Ferrari was using a 2.0-liter engine, they had to design a new one that would adhere to the new regulations. The cars to be used in Le Mans had to have a minimum displacement of 3.0 liters. The 250 TR was just but one among a series of 250 cars that had been used by Ferrari for some time. It shared key features with all the 250 models as well as the 500TR models. With that said, this car is among the few cars that enjoyed much success on the track. It was specifically designed to help Ferrari gain the top spot in the 1958 Le Mans and the World Sports Car Championships

Design And Development

The 250TR was initially developed in 1957 following rule changes for the World Sports Car Championships. Ferrari decided to improve the previous version of Testa Rosa 500TR/500TRC by replacing the 2.0L engine with a more powerful 3.OL V12. The V12 was already being used in the 250 GT series. Besides the improvements on the engine, Ferrari also sought to make the body of the 1956 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa different from the other 250 cars. Some bodywork's were done and improvements made on the chassis to give it an all-new look.

Enzo Ferrari had specific requirements for this car since it had to attain the best results on the racing track. He demanded that all parts be made to offer the highest level of reliability. The requirements for high standards gave the engineers little room for creativity, resulting in what has been termed as a conservative design.

The Chief designer at the time was Carlo Chiti, who managed to come up with a beautiful car despite the restrictions. Although the car was similar to the 250 GT models, it was different in outward presentation. The conservative approach to its design led to a steady step by step work. The 1956 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa eventually received many revisions even after its unveiling. Although the design might not have worked for some, Enzo was right in his conservative thinking. The Testa Rosa eventually became one of the best racing cars for Ferrari. Up to date, it is one of the few racing models that enjoyed a long lifespan. The Testa Rosa was competitive from 1958 all through 1962. Besides the main designer, many engineers at Ferrari had their contributions to the car. Bizzarrini Giotto played a key role in aerodynamic improvements in the 1961 season. However, much praise must be accorded to the man who designed the prototype of the Testa Rosa, Mr. Andrea Fraschetti. He designed the prototype in 1957 before he succumbed to an accident during a test drive.

1956 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa Engine

For most Ferrari cars, the engine is all that matters. The engine used in the Testa Rosa was based on the Colombo - designed engine. It was already being used in the 250 GT racing cars. The 3.0 L V12 was already powerful but it received several modifications. The 1953 cylinder block with a capacity of 2953cc was the starting point for the design. The engine has a 73 mm bore with a 58.8 mm stroke.

Just like most of the 250 models, the engine was fed by 6 two-barrel Weber carburetors. This engine enhancements made it more strong and powerful than the starting point. The cylinders enjoyed overhead cams and 2 valves on each cylinder. For the first time, the cylinders had much bigger helical valve springs which provided enough space for the cylinder valves to be strengthened. The bigger valve springs allowed for the use of 24 studs in securing the cylinder head instead of the traditional 18 studs. These improvements provided reliability, making the 1956 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa a very stable racing car at the time. Further, the engineers chose to relocate the position of the only spark plug from inside the engine to outside. This was the first time that Ferrari had the spark plug outside the engine compartment.

Racing Achievements

Similar to the previous 250 models, the 1956 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa became a very successful car on the road. This car was loved by both drivers and fans and still remains one of the best cars in the history of racing. The 1956 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa won a record 10 World Sports Car Championships races. This is not a mean feat to achieve for a car that only enjoyed 5 years of competitive racing. If the car was to be compared to the other successful versions of Ferrari, it would rank among the top 3. Among the important races that the 25 TR won include the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans, a feat that it went on to achieve three consecutive times. To top up the achievements, Ferrari also scooped the top places in other events such as the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1958, 1959 and later in 1961. The conservative nature of the car was paying off and Enzo seemed to enjoy the fruits of his work. The car also won the Targa Florio race in 1958. There are several other minor victories that the car won over the years including the 1000KM Buenos Aires two times in 1958 and 1960. The race that closed competitive days for the 1956 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa Pescara 4 Hours in late 1961. Achieving these results helped Ferrari win the World Sports Car Championships in a row.


The 1956 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa is still among the most successful racing cars of the 20th century. This car helped Ferrari win a record 10 World Sports Car Championships in just 5 years. Thanks to it being engineered for reliability, It was able to handle the pressure of car racing without breaking down for along time. The car is still among the most coveted models of Ferrari from the 1950's.

Benjamin Smith

Written by Benjamin Smith

Benjamin Smith is one of the managing editors of Moneyinc. Ben's been focusing on the auto and motorcycle sector since 2005. He's written over 1000 articles in the space and continues to learn about it each day. His favorite car is "any Bugatti" and he's a die hard Harley Davidson fan.

Read more posts by Benjamin Smith

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