Ferrari Follow up
Following our story of the Ferrari 375 Plus in the January issue, Mr Fred Hislop has written to us with information on chassis 0392AM, the car which Louis Rosier and Robert Manzon drove at Le Mans in 1954 and which subsequently won the Carrera Panamericana. After that success it was acquired by Erwin Goldschmidt of New York who campaigned it in various events in the United States.
At this time motor racing was still in its infancy in many countries, and the European style had yet to be accepted everywhere, particularly across the Atlantic where “banger”, or stock car, racing still ruled supreme.
Canada very much followed this tradition, but of its two motor racing venues, it was Toronto which was readier to embrace other forms of racing than the more conservative Montreal circuit. Consequently it was the Sports Car Club of Toronto, namely Fred Hislop who at the time lived there, who can claim the credit for Ferrari’s first race on Canadian soil.
It was his victory in the Giant’s Despair hilIclimb in Pennsylvania which brought Goldschmidt to Hislop’s attention and the invitation for the American to come North and race in the Toronto club’s One Hour Handicap Race. The disused airfield at Edenvale, some 60 miles north of Toronto, was hardly an enticing venue, but the prospect of a packed race of 40 assorted cars, including some rapid lightweight XK120s amongst them, was fortunately mouthwatering enough.
Overcoming a little local difficulty at Niagara, where Customs had to be assured that this crazy American and his strange European car were just entering the country to go motor racing, Erwin Goldschmidt and his entourage arrived in force.
Their presence was immediately noted, not only by fellow competitors who marvelled at the car and its prodigious speed, but also by the local police who kept a weather eye out for it and the antics of its driver to and from the circuit.
Fortunately there were not any ugly incidents either on or off the track and Goldschmidt started the race from pole position. Needless to say he won the event by a country mile, enthusiasm for the American and his machine almost reaching fever pitch among the 5000 strong crowd as he reeled in and passed backmarker after backmarker. The prize was not great, and the prestige negligible, but a small piece of history had been made that day.
The car was subsequently raced in Nassau later in the year, had a few more races in the States in 1956, and then was sold through Luigi Chinetti, who was present at the race in Canada, to one William Carpenter. The car now resides in Australia where it has been restored by Brian Wiesner.— WPK