Putting a smile on an enthusiast’s face is a most satisfying result.
For me, any car that possesses an almost uninterrupted history since it was first produced in 1964 is smile-worthy. When that car happens to be a controversial Ferrari 250 LM, a Corgi Toys model of which was in the toy boxes of most child enthusiasts’ of the mid-1960s, the memories are stirred delightfully.
Enzo Ferrari, who was known as ‘Il Commendatore’, was seldom averse to courting controversy and, when his design and development team created the 250 LM, where the LM stands for Le Mans and its famous 24-Hours race, where it was meant to carry a ‘P’ suffix and forced to compete as a Sports-Prototype, when it should have been contesting the GT World Championship, he was furious. Yet, chassis number 6313, the Giallo (yellow) painted scheme of Belgian Ecurie Francorchamps, would not just lead most of the 1965 race through the French countryside but, following a destructive tyre blow-out, with less than three hours of the race remaining, would actually finish second overall to the sister 250 LM driven by Jochen Rindt.
Only 32 examples of the mid-engined sportscar were ever produced and it is remembered as much for its model name (which should have been 275 LM!), as its slightly twitchy handling. Jacques Swaters’ Belgian race team was one of the most loyal and successful of all privateer Ferrari teams.
Yet, as tended to happen with cars possessing a racing history, its identity had been confused with chassis number 6023, also ran by the Belgian team. Unbelievably, it took many years of intense scrutiny and detective work, carried out by well-known Ferrari specialist, Keith Bluemel (who was the consultant on this excellent book), before the truth was revealed as recently as 2001.
In fact, the unravelling story is central to this book’s contents. James Page, the author, is a former editor of Classic & Sportscar Magazine and his engaging storytelling talent simply serves to support another excellent, 128pp hardback record from the Porter Press International stable, which is packed with period and the customary studio shot photography that makes these books such highly-valued collectibles and additions to any home library.
By James Page
ISBN: 978 1 907085 75 4