Kiwi built Ferrari 250 TR is pure art on wheels
No, you aren’t dreaming. This is a 1959 Ferrari 250 Testarossa, except for one thing. This Le Mans and Sports Car Racing legend was not built in Maranello at the tail end of the fifties to blast along the Mulsanne straight or win at Sebring, it was built in Christchurch, New Zealand, by those automotive wizards at Auto Restorations Ltd for one very lucky Ferrari fan.
You would be very wrong to assume this Testarossa is a glorified replica based on Corvette running gear or suchlike, for this one of a kind Ferrari 250 TR is the closest most of us will get to seeing the real thing. Ferrari only made five TR’s in 1959, and today, they are worth an obscene amount of dough, we are talking $20 million plus.
For owner Darren, the chance to create his dream Ferrari for less than cost of the real deal was a no brainer. “For me the 59 Testarossa was the ultimate classic Ferrari. I wasn’t really a fan of the previous year’s design, but the 59 in my opinion was perfect. I really wanted a real one but couldn’t afford it, so I approached Auto Restorations with the idea of building one,” says Darren.
Auto Restorations have spent the last 46 years repairing and restoring some of the world’s most sought after classic and vintage cars. The handiwork from their tightly knit team of engineers, craftsmen, body work and paint specialists has earned the Christchurch based company critical acclaim, with many cars restored by Auto Restorations over the years winning coveted “Best in Show” awards at global classic car concours events like the exclusive Pebble Beach Concourse De Elegance in California.
Darren came to Auto Restorations with a simple proposal, could they build him the Ferrari of his dreams? Auto Restorations agreed. However, it was up to Darren to source the engine and gearbox.
Fortunately, Darren came across a crashed Ferrari 456 GT in Auckland which was being broken up for parts. It’s 5.5-litre V12 mated to a six-speed open gated manual gearbox was the perfect choice for the Testarossa project. “I managed to get the engine and gearbox for a good price and sent it back to Auto Restorations with a note attached saying who it was from. Naturally, the work started from there,” says Darren.
Four years and 9,000 hours of design, machining, construction and panel beating later, the result is nothing short of staggering. “The car was made with all genuine original and correct Ferrari parts. This is no replica. My car is a recreation of the original two cars Ferrari built with a transaxle. The original five cars were also the first Ferrari sports racers with disc brakes all-round,” says Darren.
The attention to detail in Darren’s Testarossa would even put Ferrari themselves to shame. Everything has been hand crafted to be as close to the real thing as possible. When Darren removed the bonnet, the 435hp V12 even features red cylinder head covers and a set of three four-barrel trumpeting carbs as per the real car. Everything from the gauges, the rear mounted fuel tank, to the open gate for the six-speed manual box, every aspect of the car looks like Ferrari put it there all those years ago.
“I love this car because its not practical and after years of waiting, I can finally have so much fun in my very own 250 TR,” says Darren, and by the look on his face throughout the evening of the reveal, one can definitely believe Darren will be making that V12 sing with friends and family for years to come.