Bubble Top

Ferrari, Sebring, klemcoll

This is a Ferrari 312P at the Sebring Hairpin on March 21, 1970 during the 12 Hour race. Driven by Mike Parkes and Chuck Parsons, it would finish sixth overall and fourth in the three liter sports class. This 312P had first appeared at the 1969 Le Mans race where it lasted only part of the first lap, having become involved in a serious accident.

After Le Mans the two existing 312Ps which had run there were purchased by Luigi Chinetti’s North American Racing Team. The “bubble” in the roof was made in order to to fit the rather tall Mike Parkes into the car for the Daytona 24 Hour race in January 1970, where it finished fourth with Sam Posey co-driving.

In June this 312P returned to Le Mans with Tony Adamowicz, known by his friends as “Tony A to Z,” joined Parsons in the car, but it failed to be classified as a finisher, although running, having failed to cover the minimum distance required.

Then a period of modification ensued to increase competitiveness. First the 312P was converted into a spyder with an aluminum wedge-shaped body created by Chinetti’s great Florida body expert Wayne Sparling. In this form it ran at Daytona (5th) and Sebring (8th) in 1971. In an attempt to follow the shape of Ferrari’s new and very successful 312PB racers, Sparling then constructed a new chassis and a fiberglass body generally similar in look to the 312PB. The engine, transaxle and suspension from the original 312P were used in the new Sparling special while its original Ferrari chassis was put in storage while most of the original fiberglass berlinetta bodywork was left outdoors. The resulting car was known to some wags as The Flying Shingle. It ran, still under the ownership of NART, at the Daytona 24 Hours in 1972 (dnf) and at Le Mans in 1974 (9th).

Thereafter began years of private ownership, but no more racing. In the early 1980s a period of reassembly began using the original chassis and all other original mechanical components together with new bodywork made from the discarded original body sections to bring the 312P back into running condition as it appears above, but minus the “bubble.” The stripped out chassis and body of The Flying Shingle were sold, to in turn be resurrected with non-original components. The restored 312P is now in Swiss ownership and has appeared in certain historic races.

Photo by Bill Fox ©The Klemantaski Collection – http://www.klemcoll.com

To see more of our photographs please go to: http://www.klemcoll.com/TheGallery.aspx

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