This is all about a beautiful photograph. It is June 1950 and a small Ferrari barchetta sits in the shade in front of a garage in the town of Le Mans, being prepared for the coming 24 hour race. This beautifully-constructed composition is like a painting. However, we do know a few things about the car and some of the people.
In 1949 the Le Mans race had been won by Luigi Chinetti and Lord Selsdon, although the Englishman only drove for a brief time, with a Ferrari 166MM, another little barchetta. This year, Chinetti had brought a slightly more powerful version, a 195S, but otherwise almost identical to his winning car of the year before. This time, Chinetti was to drive with one of his wealthy Parisian customers, Pierre Louis-Dreyfus, who used the nom de course “Heldé,” a kind of onomatopoeic (given that an h in French is silent) of the initial letters of his compound last name.
Chinetti is in the photograph, facing the camera with his right arm extended expressively to his right as he discusses something with his Paris dealership partner J.-A. Plisson, back to the camera with arms akimbo. To Chinetti’s left is French driver Jean Lucas and Italian Dorino Serafini, both of whom will drive other Ferraris. But, for once, none of these cars will finish the 24 hour race.
The lady with the dark beret hat sitting in a chair is Marion Chinetti, the driver’s wife, and their young son Luigi Jr. is playing at the far right side of the photograph. The identity of the rather nonchalant youngster leaning on the car is not known.
This same lovely Ferrari is scheduled to be sold by RM Auctions at Monterey California later this month.
Photo by Louis Klemantaski ©The Klemantaski Collection