The Big Four

Ferrari, Sebring, Castellotti, klemcoll

Here is Italian star Eugenio Castellotti with the new Ferrari 860 Monza which he shared with Juan Fangio on the circuit of bumpy runways and narrow access roads of Hendricks Field at Sebring on March 24, 1956. This car had a new chassis design which it would share with the V12 Ferrari 290MM. The 860 used the largest displacement version of Ferrari’s four cylinder motor, now at 3.5 liters, a design originally created for the Scuderia by Aurelio Lampredi and, following Lampredi’s separation from Ferrari in 1955, improved by the former Maserati specialist Alberto Massimino. Vittorio Jano, the famous Alfa Romeo and Lancia designer, was now also a consultant for Ferrari was also involved although he primarily assisted with modifications to the Lancia D50 grand prix cars which had been turned over to Ferrari in mid-1955.

Ferrari, Sebring, Fangio, klemcollFangio and Castellotti would start from pole with the best practice time. Here is Fangio going out to set it. They would win the race followed at the finish by a second new Ferrari 860 Monza driven by Luigi Musso and Harry Schell. Their main competition was from a fuel-injected Jaguar D-Type for Mike Hawthorn/Desmond Titterington which set the fastest race lap but fell back with typical Sebring brake maladies.  In addition, Ferrari supported a pair of 857 Sports which used the chassis of the earlier 2 liter 500 Mondial but fitted with the new 3.5 liter motor and given updated bodywork before having been sold to private owners. These were driven by Alfonso de Portago/Jim Kimberly and Phil Hill/Masten Gregory but neither would finish.

Immediately after the Sebring victory John von Neumann, then a Volkswagen and Porsche dealer in Los Angeles, decided that he wanted the winning car as a new addition to his stable of racing Ferraris and as a flagship for his newly-opened Ferrari Representatives of California in Hollywood. For the rest of 1956 the 860 Monza was driven by von Neumann and also had a class win at Pebble Beach driven by Phil Hill. Von Neumann and some of his friends and drivers continued to run the 860 sporadically through 1959 after which it was sold and raced by others into the 1960s. Now fully restored, it has seen some historic racing and is probably in an English collection.

Photos from the JJF Archive ©The Klemantaski Collection –

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