FERRARI 1960-1965: The Hallowed Years
EXTREMELY. WELL. RED.
The confluence of adolescence and nostalgia can be confounding. I clearly remember my first sighting of Jaguar’s E-Type, in the metal, in the summer of 1963. And I also recall my first look at Lamborghini’s 400GT 2+2 at some point in the mid-‘60s; it was on display at an Omaha-area Nissan dealership – of all places. But I can’t remember spotting my first Ferrari on the street, despite seeing literally hundreds of them, and driving – while working at Dallas’ Classic Ferrari in the ‘80s – dozens of them. In my memory they appear on Road & Track covers and in Car and Driver road tests, but none are on the street or at a curb. When working to close that gap, William Huon’s FERRARI 1960-1965: The Hallowed Years proves to be, with its 368 pages, a big help. Think of it as curbside (as opposed to in bed or poolside) reading…
If you’ve watched the Ford v Ferrari film, you know their rivalry became a thing when Enzo Ferrari rebuffed Ford’s attempt to buy the production assets of the Italian carmaker. Henry Ford II was disappointed, and as Enzo was about to find out, you don’t disappoint ‘the Deuce’. The scope of the Huon book – with photography by Bernard Cahier – overlaps with the period covered by the film, as Ford’s pursuit of the Le Mans podium begins in 1963, and was finally realized in 1966.
Although the title speaks to Ferrari’s efforts in both Formula 1 and sports cars, in the book’s comprehensive coverage of these six years both Ferrari and its many competitors are generously represented. In Formula 1 this was a period of aggressive transition, in part by virtue of new regulations, and in larger part by those inventive Brits and their mid-engine designs. Cooper got the ball rolling, and it wasn’t long before BRM and Lotus kept the ball rolling. Maranello was slow to respond, although that didn’t keep Ferrari from taking the F1 championship in 1961, with American Phil Hill behind the wheel of Ferrari’s 156. Ferrari also claimed F1’s ‘grand prize’ in 1964, with John Surtees driving.
Ferrari’s pursuit of the sports car championship in those years seemed, like Formula One, an almost singular focus, despite the resources necessary to pursue just one series; imagine splitting limited energies and resources by two! And while sports cars didn’t evolve as quickly as the Formula 1 cars, the scope of sports car development was greater, given that you had classifications for both prototypes and GTs. And the competitive class was even wider, with Maserati and Porsche attempting to grab at least a portion of the marbles at the beginning of the decade, while Ford and the Chevy-powered Chaparrals would be biting at Ferrari’s heels by the middle of that decade.
In FERRARI 1960-1965 author William Huon’s text, as translated by David Waldron, touches on virtually all the competitive battles waged by Ferrari in both Formula 1 and the sports car competitions, dominated by the endurance-specific events at Daytona, Sebring and – most famously – Le Mans. And in those details you meet the drivers, both driving for Ferrari and those left out of Enzo’s embrace. And, of course, those – like Cobra constructor Carroll Shelby – wanting nothing more than to kick Ferrari’s ass.
If Huon’s text speaks to the six seasons in granular detail, the photos of Bernard Cahier capture motorsport in the early ‘60s as beautifully – and graphically – as anyone has. Whether it’s in the heat of competition, or a driver taking a moment in the pits, Cahier had an unerring capability of both capturing the moment and – to a large degree – transcending the moment. Huon’s reporting could stand alone as a damn good book, while Cahier’s photography does stand alone as damn good art.
Of course, in a volume where all the cars are stars, picking favorites can be overwhelming. In Formula 1 Phil Hill’s 156 – aka ‘Sharknose’ – is an easy choice, given both its singular design and F1 championship. In sports cars, the nod goes to Ferrari’s 250 GTO, a sports/GT many regard as the high point in front-engine sports car design. And if I was WeatherTech’s David MacNeil, I’d own one…
In early June, Ferrari’s 499P took the win at the centenary of the Le Mans 24 Hours, its victory coming after almost sixty years since the team last took the French circuit’s podium. In those sixty years the company has undergone any number of corporate transformations, but its commitment to competition has remained steadfast. And that commitment is beautifully detailed in this Huon/Cahier collaboration.
Published by Evro Publishing, FERRARI 1960-1965: The Hallowed Years is available from your local bookseller. In the U.S. it will cost you $100, while Canadians will spend slightly more. In either country, if you regard yourself as an enthusiast, it is money well spent.