May 21, 2010

Ferrari-Corvette: strange breed

Trying to answer the question our friend Tohmé asked about the combination of a Ferrari chassis with a Chevrolet Corvette engine, I gathered all the information I could in a reasonable amount of time, only to find that this was still too bulky to be posted in the Austin FX4 page's "comments" section. So I decided to make a separate post on this topic.

I had in mind that most of these strange machines came from California. I was surprised to see that actually, the majority raced in Brazil, which "carretera" races I had forgotten. So, Tohmé, you couldn't be better located to find more information about some of these cars, and I hope you'll share with us what you find! ;) Obviously, being "specials", there's no guarantee that most of these machines, though using Corvette engines and Ferrari chassis, even looked like the original Maranello thoroughbred. American and Australian cars on the other hand were genuine Ferraris re-engined with Chevrolet blocks. I found only little information about the exact model of the original machines, but I bet most were Testa Rossas, a model which was rather common (is it the correct word for such a car?) in American national races at that time.

Okay, so to start with, here are the Ferrari-Corvettes I found in my data. Unfortunately I possibly missed a few ones.


Celso Lara Barberis & Ruggero Peruzzo
Drove an undetermined "special" to victory in the 1957 Interlagos 500 km. This car is said to have had a Corvette engine on either a Ferrari or Maserati chassis.

Fritz d'Orey
The following 1958 edition of the Interlagos 500 km was won by a Ferrari-Corvette, with this time no doubt about its exact identity. That has to be only d'Orey's major success of the season as he won the Brazilian championship that year. He then embarked on an unrewarding international career - most I remember about d'Orey is a very heavy shunt during practice for the 1960 Le Mans, which saw him bedridden for something as four months afterwards.

Chico Landi
Unlike Fritz d'Orey, Chico Landi didn't have much to prove by 1958, when he entered a Ferrari-Corvette in the very same Interlagos 500 km, finishing 5th. Later that year, Landi raced at the Mil Milhas Brasileiras, teaming with José Gimenez Lopes (car unknown, but I'd bet for this Ferrari-Corvette - they finished 2nd). Landi also won at Barra da Tijuca. Two years later he relieved Nivola on their way to a second place at the Interlagos 500 km with either the same car or a similar one. Considering Landi's fame that should be easy to find more information and pictures.

Pascoal Nastromagario
A Ferrari-Corvette was really the car to drive at the 1958 Interlagos 500 km as Nastromagario also had one. He finished 4th.

Ciro Cayres
Cayres had a great 1960 season with a Ferrari-Chevrolet, winning at Interlagos, at Brasília (not much of the city yet raised from the ground back then, I suppose) and at the Campeonado Paulista. In January 1961, he won at Interlagos and at the Torneio Sul Americano (the latter race with a "Ferrari-Corvette", which obviously is the same machine) before turning to touring cars and the works Simca team.

Antônio Carlos Aguiar
Aguiar drove a Ferrari-Corvette to 3rd place during the 1962 Interlagos 500 km.


If Brazil had them, then Argentine should too.

José Froilán González
The main Argentine driver of Ferrari-Corvettes was no less than González himself. After retiring from Formula One, he raced for a few more years around South America with his private machine. The results I have include: in 1957, Argentinas 500 Millas; in 1958, Buenos Aires GP (6th), Argentinas 500 Millas (1st), Rafaela 500 Millas (1st), Interlagos (1st), Torneio Triangular (1st); in 1959, Argentinas 500 Millas (1st), Rafaela 500 Millas (1st); in 1960, Buenos Aires GP (retired), Montevideo (1st), Torneio Triangular (1st), and another race in Buenos Aires (1st). Certainly the most successful of all Ferrari-Corvettes!

Alberto Rodriguez-Larreta
Perhaps because I'm not a South American, what I remember most about Rodriguez-Larreta is his lone entry in Formula One (1960 Argentine GP, at a time when any local boy could race) and his inclusion in the Argentine IKA team heading for the grand touring car race at Spa a few years later (this event under the nickname "Larry"). Well, actually he also drove a Ferrari-Corvette, finishing 2nd in the 1961 Argentinas 500 Millas.


Albérico Passadore
Won the 1961 Primavera GP with a Ferrari-Chevrolet.

United States

Louis Yates
Yates replaced his previous Porsche by a Ferrari-Chevrolet early in 1957. This car has been entered in Palm Springs (as a "Ferrari Mondial-Chevrolet"), in Pomona (as a "Ferrari-Corvette") then in Palm Springs again and Riverside ("Ferrari 500" with no mention of its engine).

Jocko Maggiacomo
Drove a Ferrari-Corvette to 11th place at Lime Rock in 1959. Interestingly that guy reached Nascar twenty years later.

James Place
Entered the 1960 Riverside Grand Prix with a Ferrari-Chevrolet. This car possibly was a 500TR.

Chuck Nervine
Didn't reach the finishing line at Pensacola in 1963 at the wheel of a Ferrari-Corvette.

Bob Ward
He too retired his Ferrari-Chevrolet, but this time it took place at Augusta in 1964.


Curley Brydon
Brydon was 5th in the 1958 Australian Grand Prix with a Ferrari-Corvette.

This concludes my little compilation which, once again, is rather fragmentary. On the course of making this search I also made a list for Corvette-powered Maseratis, Jaguars and Mercedes, along with a few even stranger machines. Should anyone be interested, just let me know and I'll add them in a further post.


Tohmé said...

Uau, very nice.
Congratulations. Very good information. I will try to take photos.

lorenzo721 said...

You're welcome Tohmé, I'm glad if this can be useful.