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Sebring is coming up soon (March 27) and this year’s event marks its 15th anniversary. Being only Tech Ed at the time of the first race I stayed home and the (then) Editor went.

This early race was held on December 31, 1950 and was for six hours. It was a handicap event, based on a scaled down LeMans formula designed to give the small cars an equal opportunity. The winner (on formula) was an absolutely stock Crosley Hot Shot roadster which marked the first appearance ever of caliper-type disc brakes in competition (Jaguar—Girling usually get undeserved credit for this “first”).

Anyway the Crosley’s secret, if any, was not so much the brakes (which were good) as it was driving technique. Drivers Koster and Deshon averaged 52 mph, made only one pit stop and never shifted gears on the course. For that matter neither did Wacker and Burrell. They completed more laps than anyone else and drove a Cad-Allard with Hydra-Matic.

Of course things are a bit different today at Sebring. The sport has come a long way in 15 years and much of the credit belongs to such pioneers as Alec Ulmann who still sponsors Sebring— more as a hobby than anything else, I would guess.
How Many?

Probably no one knows exactly how many Ferraris reside in the U.S., not even distributor Luigi Chinetti. Strange and unusual models pop up, brought over from all parts of Europe by car collector-tourists. A recent example is the fifth one ever built and number 2 of the Type 166 series. This one is in New York and the factory believes it is the oldest Ferrari still extant.

At any rate a Ferrari Club of America has now been formed and one of its first big projects is to compile a roster of owners in the U.S. A second project will be a publication along the lines of the A.C.D. Club, designed to provide a clearing house for technical information and parts. Any reader knowing the whereabouts of any Ferrari is requested to drop a card to the membership chairman, Ken Hutchison, 343 Oswego Street, Park Forest, Ill. Associate memberships will be accepted from non-owners, by the way.
The Perfect Road Car?

I seldom a chance to drive long distances but recently did so in our Ferrari 2+2. We managed 400 miles in 5.5 hrs driving time without being ticketed. The Ferrari on the road is absolutely beyond the comprehension of an American car owner. It cruises at 100 to 110 mph mile after mile with no more driver strain than lesser cars at 60. We even managed a mild “dice” with a pseudo GTO. Traffic was too heavy to produce any conclusive results but the Tempest (a ‘65 model) appeared to have just a little more acceleration from 70 to 100 mph. Above that our 5th gear gave us an edge though I shut off at 125. The Ferrari speedometer, by the way, is fairly accurate—only 5% fast at 100 mph. The odometer is dead accurate at 90 mph (checked for 10 miles) and we got exactly 15 mpg. The return run took an hour longer and mileage worked out at 16.3 mpg. City driving gives 9 mpg, but who cares?

We get some strange comments on this car. I mentioned the “new Mustang?” incident in July 1964. A woman stopped to look at it the other day. “What kind of a car is it? “she asked. When told it was a Ferrari, she obviously had never heard of it. Not wanting to admit this she replied, “Cute.” Filling station personnel guess “It must cost almost as much as a Cadillac” and invariably ask where I got those special wheels.

But my favorite Ferrari story came via Luigi Chinetti, Jr. He was showing our daughter the new Superfast. “How much does it cost?” she asked. “Twenty-one” was the answer. “What do you mean, twenty-one?” Back came the answer “Twenty-one thousand, just a nice compromise between a Rolls-Royce and an airplane.”



Copyright 1965 John R. Bond, Inc.