This is the scene in the factory yard outside the Racing Department at Ferrari in Maranello as preparations are underway before the 1957 Mille Miglia which for these entries will start in Brescia on the morning of May 12.
On the left is a newly-constructed 335 Sport which will be driven by Peter Collins with his friend the photographer Louis Klemantaski as his navigator. They had already achieved an enviable partnership by winning the 671 mile Giro di Sicilia in 1956 with a Ferrari 3.5 liter 857 Sport followed by a second place overall in that year’s very wet Mille Miglia with an updated 3.5 liter Ferrari 860 Monza. In the preceding years they had both competed in the Mille Miglia for Aston Martin, so they were already well-prepared for the route. Collins and Klemantaski would lead this Mille Miglia for most of the race at a record speed until rear axle failure at Parma ended their run. Once their powerful Ferrari was ready for a test up the Abetone road into the hills above Maranello, Collins goes out to the road with one of the engineers. A tall white-haired Enzo Ferrari is visible in front of the crowd behind the car.
The 335 Sport on the right with the MO 49 test plate on it will be assigned to Alfonso de Portago and his friend Edmond Nelson, a former elevator operator at New York’s Plaza Hotel. Note the grab handle for the passenger visible below the dashboard. This car is one of the two older 315/335 Sports with rear fender bodywork more reminiscent of the 1956 290 MM rather than the rounded tails of the more recently-bodied versions. Their terrible accident at Guidizzolo, 25 miles from the finish at Brescia would spell the end of the Mille Miglia. Facing the De Portago/Nelson car is another of the older 315 Sports which will be driven by Wolfgang von Trips and will finish second. The car in the rear, partially obscured by a crowd of mechanics, which was listed as a 315 Sport for Piero Taruffi, but which actually carried a larger 335 4.1 liter motor for this race and would give its driver his long-sought Mille Miglia victory.
Today, the cars of Collins, Von Trips and Taruffi seen here reside in collections in America. Although the de Portago car was scrapped, its motor today resides in a 1958 Ferrari 412MI, also in the United States.
Photos by Louis Klemantaski ©The Klemantaski Collection – http://www.klemcoll.com
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