Ferrari legends return to historic Road Race route after 59 years

Between 1950 and 1956, the Pebble Beach Road Race saw the forest-lined roads of Monterey come alive to the sound of road-legal sports-racers at full song. On the Friday of the 2015 Monterey Car Week, a gaggle of 1950s Ferrari berlinettas retraced what remains of the route…

In the second year of the Pebble Beach Road Race – dubbed the Del Monte Cup due to the company’s ownership of much of the surrounding land – a 166 MM piloted by Jim Kimberly became the first Ferrari to be raced along the serpentine route. Ultimately, Phil Hill would win the event three times (becoming the only man to win both here and at the Pebble Beach Concours), so it was a poignant moment when his widow Alma Hill brought down the green flag on 2015’s celebration race, with the ex-Kimberly 166 leading away a half-dozen Ferrari barchettas that raced there in period.

Although, as you might expect, there have been some changes to the route since the race was shut down almost 60 years ago, it’s remarkably intact considering. Three laps were undertaken, albeit at a slightly more sedate pace than in period – understandable, really, given the value and significance of the cars today.

Among them were two entered by American collector Les Wexner: a 1955 857S and a 1954 340 Mexico Vignale Spider driven by the owner of Copley Motorcars, Stu Carpenter. On Sunday, all six will regroup to battle each other again, this time for class honours in the dedicated category (and perhaps more?) at the Concours.

Although the chequered flag came down with the cars in the same order as they started (it really was more of a parade than a race), the reunion was truly mesmerising – if not for the sight of the colour-matched Ferraris, then for the mental imagery it conjured of Hill battling the likes of Carroll Shelby along the switchbacks.

Photos: Rémi Dargegen for Classic Driver © 2015

All the news from this year's Monterey and Pebble Beach events can be found in our regularly updated overview.