Car of the Week: Ferrari 250MM
Picked by Alex Easthope, Deputy Editor of Classic Driver
The Carrera Panamericana road race is one of those motorsport events that you just can’t believe ever happened. Nearly 2,000 miles across Mexico in the quickest sports cars of the day, complete with numerous accidents and plenty of heroic feats. Any car that took part in it has a claim to legendary status, including this Ferrari 250 MM that’s coming to Concours of Elegance this year.
The man at the wheel was Mexican, Efrain Ruiz Echeverria, tackling the Panamericana in 1953 among a world-class grid of drivers and cars. Phil Hill was there in a Ferrari and Fangio in a Lancia, along with Taruffi and Castelotti, so Echeverria certainly had a challenge ahead of him. To make matters worse many of the world’s best drivers were in factory-supported entries, while Echeverria was racing alone.
In an event where there were only 61 finishers out of 177 starters – some lost to accidents and some to mechanical failure – Echeverria and this car made their mark in history. The Mexican finished the race in seventh as the top privateer, which really shouldn’t be underestimated as an achievement. To finish the Panamericana is enough, and to finish seventh amongst the kind of competition Echeverria faced is almost unheard of.
Today this car – just one of 18 Pininfarina Berlinetta versions – has been extensively restored to concours standards but it retains the original engine that powered this car to its historic finish at the Carrera Panamericana almost 65 years ago. For that little bit of history, I can’t wait to see it at Hampton Court Palace in September.