This quite remarkable Lot is the perhaps the most complete so-called restoration project Ferrari sports-racing car that we have ever had the privilege to offer.
Fresh from the Lees Collection it comprises 3-litre 4-cylinder Ferrari 750 Monza specification, offered complete with a restored original rolling chassis, featuring ready-installed engine and transmission and accompanied by what is believed to be the original lightweight aluminium bodyshell in what might most charitably be described as tired but (with skill and care) restorable condition
The chassis offered here is associated with two varying versions of the competition history, one beginning life as a works 2-litre Mondial before conversion for customer sale into 3-litre Monza configuration, while the other probably more compelling has the car in private-customer 3-litre 750 Monza form right from birth.
Fascinatingly, both feature the car as having become the strikingly two-tone liveried, special-bodied Mascarenhas/Barreto tail-finned machine of 1955-56 easily one of the most startling-looking and futuristically distinctive of all front-engined Ferrari sports-racing cars of the 1950s.
Upon the tubular chassis frames front cross-member are surviving very faint traces of a chassis serial number stamping which is believed to be that applied to chassis0560MD. Not only Mr Derek Lees and ourselves but also several Ferrari specialists who have closely examined the frame while it has been in our hands believe this to be probably the genuine marking on this structure.
Chassis serial 0560MD is recorded as having been the identifying mark of the fifth of Ferraris 500 Mondial Series II Spider Corsa models to have been manufactured, combining the Tipo 510 chassis with the Tipo 119 2-litre 4-cylinder twin-cam racing engine. If this received history is accurate, 0560 as originated at the height of the 1955 competition season was taken onto the Ferrari works racing team inventory in the long factory halls at Maranello, where it was prepared initially for the great Biellese driver Umberto Maglioli to campaign in the Shell Cup sports car race at Imola, on June 19 that year.
Maglioli drove the car in question home into second place in that event, after which this historical thread suggests that it was then transported across to Portugal for the following weekends Portuguese Grand Prix race for sports cars on the Boavista circuit in which it was driven by local Ferrari customer Fernando de Mascarenhas, who unfortunately failed to finish. However, the alternative version of this history has Mascarenhas driving a 3-litre not 2-litre car in that event which would have been 0560MD running already with the larger engine installed.
If his car in that event was indeed the works-operated 2-litre which had merely been loaned to Mascarenhas for the Portuguese GP event, perhaps due to late completion/delivery (or return) of a car which he had ordered, or was having factory-serviced this 2-litre Mondial in question was then returned to works team duties for the national Italian mountain-climb event at Bolzano-Mendola on July 3.
There the car was entrusted to none other than the legendary Eugenio Castellotti, who promptly won that event overall, setting fastest time of the day and being photographed in the process, as depicted on page 96 of the 1956 "Primavera Bresciana" Mille Miglia yearbook. One week later that same car reappeared in the stylish and charismatic Castellottis well-manicured hands in the major Coppa dOro delle Dolomiti event, in which he again won overall. This major success is recorded by photographs of the triumphant occasion published on page 168/169 of Gianni Cancellieri and Cesare de Agostinis book Polvere e Gloria - La Coppa dOro delle Dolomiti 1947-1956 and on pages 59 and 108/109 of Cesare de Agostinis book Castellotti - A Stolen Heart.
Seven days after the Dolomites Cup victory, Castellottis team-mate emergent Belgian star Olivier Gendebien took over what this version of history has identified as 0560 to win his 2-litre Sport class and to set second fastest time overall at the Aosta-Gran San Bernardo mountain-climb, after which this highly successful sports-racing Ferrari was finally sold and delivered to Fernando de Mascarenhas in Portugal.
However, French Ferrari sports-racing car authority Antoine Prunet energetic researcher on the subject and author of Ferrari Sports Racing and Prototype Competition Cars (EPA Paris and Foulis 1983) - has examined the chassis, engine, transmission and body offered in this Lot and he has expressed the opinion that 0560MD as offered here truly began life as a 750 Monza, built for the Portuguese customer.
As early as May 29, 1955 Fernando Penalva de Mascarenhas - 9th Marques de Fronteira, Marques de Alorna, Conde da Torre, de Coculian & de Assumar - raced the car in the Tangiers Grand Prix. It is pictured in its special-bodied two-tone liveried, tail-finned form in Ferrari 1955 the factorys much celebrated and sought-after annual yearbook making its third-place finish at Tangiers, in which completed a Ferrari 1-2-3 success headed by the standard-bodied cars of fellow Portuguese owner-drivers, Jose Arroyo Nogueira Pinto and Joaquim Felipe Nogueira.
On July 24, 1955, Mascarenhas ran the car in the Lisbon Grand Prix for sports cars, finishing in sixth place overall, and later that same season he reappeared in the car at Vila do Conde, finishing second. The cars uniquely modified body style with two-tone red and white paint scheme, bright-metal side-strips and engine air-vent trim, tyre-cooling intakes cut into the aluminium just ahead of the rear-wheel arches and of course those Flash Gordon tail fins, was entirely distinctive.
Into 1956, Fernando de Mascarenhas sold the car to his compatriot Antonio Borges Barreto. He had two sister sports-racing Ferraris which he campaigned, driving one as a 2-litre 4-cylinder 500 Mondial in the Oporto Grand Prix for sports cars on June 17, 1956, finishing fourth overall. His second Ferrari sports-racing car a 500TR Testa Rossa chassis serial 0694MD/TR (we believe) - was the car in which this enthusiastic Portuguese owner-driver then lost his life in a head-on collision with Piero Carinis car during the Forez 6-Hour race in France, having crashed across the central median dividing strip on a section of dual carriageway being used for that race..
After his death Barretos 0560 was lost to public gaze within Europe, and it was in fact sold to Portuguese-speaking Brazil. There it was owned and campaigned by Ico Ferreira , entered under the auspices of the Sao Paulo Automovil Club and was co-driven in the 1957 Buenos Aires 1,000 Kilometres World Championship-qualifying sports car race by Herminio Ferreira Filho and Godofredo Vianna, finishing in a worthy ninth place overall.
The distinctive bodywork was modified to more standard Monza appearance, by removal of the tail fins, it was repainted, and went on to achieve a number of minor successes in the hands of future TecMec Formula 1 racing driver Fritz dOrey amongst others.
The car appears subsequently to have been converted from Ferrari 4-cylinder power to accept a cheap, readily available Chevrolet engine before it fell into disuse and dereliction.
The complete rolling chassis we understand - subsequently re-emerged in the 1970s and was acquired by Mr Derek Lees complete with the remaining original bodywork - from Antique Automobiles Ltd of Peterborough in November 1978. His purchase included an engine cylinder block and other components, all Customs duties and taxes paid.
The 2-litre Ferrari 500 Mondial and 3-litre 750 Monza models shared virtually common chassis designs, and Mr Lees decided to make his freshly retrieved chassis the basis of a 750 Monza restoration using another 3-litre 4-cylinder engine internal number 42 MZ acquired from Richard Merritt.
The entire project was entrusted for many years on an extremely low-priority basis - to the highly-respected Hall & Fowler restoration company at Folkingham Aerodrome, Lincolnshire in England. Further work was later carried out on the project by Church Green Engineering, to the level seen today, complete with body shaping superstructure tubing welded into place, engine and transmission installed and the car sanding on its wheels.
Most interestingly examination of the original body panelling offered with this Lot reveals repair panels riveted into place on the crown of the rear wings perhaps significantly in the position which would have been occupied originally by the Mascarenhas/Barreto vertical tail fins. There is also evidence in this ultra-light, razor-thin original panelling of a cooling vent situated just ahead of a rear wheel-arch. Patches have also been riveted into the front wing crowns, so possibly the bodywork suffered damage in these areas from oversized wheels and tyres having been fitted at some juncture.
However one may regard this Ferrari 750 Monza restoration project, it is offered here in a relatively well advanced state, and with the attached potential of the Mascarenhas/Barreto identity it has the makings of an entirely unique sports-racing Ferrari which would prove utterly distinctive on circuit or public road in Vintage and historic racing or touring events, yet equally upon the Concours field. Full details of components offered with this Lot are available upon application.