Here is the young Mexican driver Ricardo Rodriguez waiting for his start time for the Targa Florio in Sicily on May 8, 1960. His car is a Ferrari Dino 196S with a two liter V6 single cam per bank motor, kind of half of a Ferrari V12. Ricardo will be sharing his “ride” with his older brother Pedro. The car will be fully backed by Ferrari although the entry was by Luigi Chinetti’s North American Racing Team, a longtime supporter of the Rodriguez brothers whose father supplied generous financial backing.
The Targa was not for the faint-hearted and was perhaps more like a long rally special stage. It would be run over 10 laps of the so-called Piccolo Madonie mountain circuit with a lap length of about 45 miles. The road was very bumpy, potholes were always possible, and it ran close to rock faces, trees, bridge abutments and drops into fields, or worse. Just what one wanted for a Sunday drive – flat out.
The Targa that year was basically a battle between Porsche and Ferrari plus a lone works-assisted Maserati T61 “birdcage” from Lucky Casner’s Camoradi team. When the circuit was closed, at least theoretically, for one day of official practice the quickest car was Jo Bonnier’s factory Porsche RS60 which he would share with Hans Herrmann. For the overall win the Ferrari team consisted of four cars, one of which did not survive a practice excursion, plus the smaller car of the Rodriguez brothers, while Porsche brought three of their latest RS60 spyders.
The cars started at 20 second intervals and the race was against the clock and not based on track position as such so the car recording the fastest time to complete the 10 laps would be the winner. The little Dino was started ahead of the faster cars but still was among them despite Ricardo Rodriguez managing to dent both ends pretty well. When Pedro took over he had an off but got going again and then rolled the car but landed on the wheels with no injury. Some spectators got him back on the road and he was able to continue to Ferrari’s mid-course service depot where some repairs were carried out. Then he turned the beaten-up Dino over to is brother to carry on to the finish. On the left their car is seen after the finish, well used.
Nevertheless, the brothers managed to finish in seventh place overall and third in the two liter sports class. They were about 45 minutes behind the winning time of the Bonnier/Herrmann Porsche, and ahead of all the GT cars, bar one Porsche Abarth.
Photos by Peter Coltrin ©The Klemantaski Collectiion – http://www.klemcoll.com
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