I think it was ironic that last month, I was in Monterey riding around in two real Testa Rossas, a 1958 and 1959 examples, and now I’m back in NY working on a Replica of the ’59!
I got a call from a shop in near me that had this 1959 TR replica that was built from the chassis of a 250GTE with an engine from a Series I 330GT 2+2. The conversion was done many years ago in the UK, and the body from first impressions seems very accurate. The car was running rough, and the shop taking care of the car asked me to come up and help diagnose the issues.
We found a couple bad spark plug wires and ignition points needing some phasing, so I will be addressing some of these issues for them. It’ll be interesting to see how this car compares to the real ones I rode in out in Monterey.
I’m kind of on the fence with these replicas. On one hand, who wouldn’t want a beautiful race car that celebrates Ferrari’s successes in racing history?…but on the other hand, it is a copy of the real thing. Just like in art, there is only one original, and anything else is a fake. I look at the Shelby Cobra as an example. This car is probably the most commonly replicated car with so many versions from super accurate copies to VW abominations. For those few individuals that own real Cobras, they are often asked if it’s a “real” one because it’s more common to see a fake. I feel the replica market dilutes the rarity and preciousness of the originals. In the Replica Ferrari market, most fakes use an original chassis and engine. The most common donor for this endeavor is a 250GTE or a 330GT 2+2. These cars are the cheapest of the candidates, and have many of the parts needed to make the replica. The replicas are not inexpensive, and oftentimes cost more than a good 2+2, but once a donor car is made into a replica a real Vintage Ferrari is lost forever. Today, however, there are now complete cars being scratch built, so there is no limit to the number of replicas in the future.
I can see both sides of the story, and have friends that own them, build them, sell them, and now I work on them! Let’s see if this experience changes my opinion.