Ferrari is famous for its V8 and V12 engines, but in the 1950s, it was a prolific manufacturer of high-performance four-cylinder units. One of the most well-known four-cylinder Ferraris is the 500 TR ‘Testa Rossa’ – the original ‘red-head’. While its red-painted cylinder head would become part of Ferrari folklore, the successful 500 TR is equally worthy of celebration.
The 1956 500 TR was a very successful racing car, scoring class wins many times in the hands of privateers. Its 4-cylinder inline was powerful and its Scaglietti-built bodywork was curvaceous and beautiful.
A regulation change in 1957 required sports cars to be fitted with doors and full-width windscreens. Cockpits had a minimum width and cars had to wear a hood during scrutineering. This was known as the FIA ‘C-section’ of the Sporting Code, and Ferrari responded by developing the 500 TRC – again by Scaglietti. Lower, sleeker and even more curvaceous, the 500 TRC was an achingly beautiful car.
Ferrari built just 19 examples and experts today consider it one of the most attractive Ferraris ever. In the hands of Ferrari clients, it scored several 2.0-litre sports car class wins, including the 1957 12 Hours of Sebring and Le Mans 24 Hours.
The 500 TRC would also be the final four-cylinder Ferrari. Although it raced with some success in world championship events, the race for more power was by now underway. Ferrari chief engineer Vittorio Jano began developing more powerful Ferrari racers.
One of the most famous Ferraris ever, the 250 Testa Rossa V12, would inherit its TR branding and go on to dominate in international motorsport. The Official Ferrari Magazine recently had the opportunity to see the very last 500 TRC ever built. This makes it, officially, the final four-cylinder Ferrari ever made by the factory – at least to date...
Watch our video and join us for a tour of the famous and beautiful Ferrari 500 TRC by Scaglietti.