Testa Rossas, 250 GTOs, and other Ferraris from the Spencer family album

Back in the early 1960s, buying Ferraris of the calibre of the 250 GTO or Testa Rossa Prototype wasn’t exactly a poor man’s hobby, but you didn’t need quite the stratospheric wealth you do today.

A family blessed 'with a steady stream of amazing Ferraris'

Ferrari enthusiast (and Classic Driver reader) Roy Spencer well remembers his father, Bev Spencer, the American Ferrari dealer and privateer racing team owner, “blessing our family with a steady stream of amazing Ferraris” during the first few years of the Sixties. These were cars to use and enjoy – and, happily for us, to take photographs of, as the family picked up the cars and took them to concours events or friends’ houses or home to sit on the lawn – or even, on one memorable occasion, to be driven by Phil Hill while Bev took a thrilling passenger ride. Now, Roy has given us permission to reproduce some fascinating and previously unpublished pictures from his family archives, giving a rare insight into his childhood – which was ‘blessed’ indeed.

Heading home in a GTO

Take, for example, GTO #4219, pictured here being driven by Bev Spencer as he leaves the Hillsborough Concours in May 1963, having only collected the car from the airport at 5am that same morning. In the crowd of young, casually dressed onlookers are three of Roy’s four brothers.

The Spencer family favourites

Concours events were clearly a major part of Spencer family life, as here is a laden transporter ready to head to the Town & Country Concours in the spring of 1963 with some Spencer family favourites… namely their SWB, 2+2 and GTO.

A very special parking spot

 You need never worry about finding a parking spot if you arrive by Ferrari, as this wonderful photograph from 1963 helps to prove. “My mother and father were great friends with Henri and Werner Lewin who ran the Fairmont Hotel in the 1960s.” explains Roy Spencer. “They allowed him to display new Ferraris in the lobby.”

Ferrari Testa Rossa Prototype on the family lawn

Here is Bev Spencer with TR0666, the 1957 Ferrari Testa Rossa Prototype as previously covered in Classic Driver, on the front lawn of the family home in May 1962. No doubt it gave Roy Spencer mixed feelings to see Gooding sell this ex-Jon Shirley car that was once in the possession of the Spencer family for a cool £16.4m in 2011.

Guest-starring: Phil Hill

And finally, few readers will need us to identify Phil Hill, as he stands in front of Bev Spencer’s 250 GTO '64 at the Spencer residence in the spring of 1965. Hill was over for dinner that night and was reunited with the freshly restored #5571, the car he and Pedro Rodriguez shared to win the epic 1964 Daytona Continental.

The good news is that if you enjoy such photographs – pictures that capture the very essence of California road racing in the Fifties and Sixties – Roy Spencer is working on a book that will share some of the thousands of unpublished images that have been “sitting stagnant within two tattered ring-binders”. The book is an on-going project – see kickstarter.com for more details.