News & Events
Algar Ferrari Supports the Kennett Symphony at The Classics at Brantwyn
Partners: Kennett Symphony of Chester County
Location: Wilmington, DE
Date: October 2, 2011
Algar Ferrari gladly accepted the invitation to be one of the title sponsors of The Classics at Brantwyn. The annual event brings together an incredible collection of vintage sports cars, world famous racecars, and modern day super cars to benefit the Kennett Symphony at this breathtaking setting, a former DuPont family residence.
One of the highlights of the show was the Rear Admiral & Mrs. Robert Phillip’s 1955 Ferrari 500 Mondial Scaglietti Spyder.
This amazing Ferrari 500 Mondial Series II Scaglietti Spyder was painted French Racing Blue for its original owner, Francois Picard who took delivery in May 1955. These four cylinder Ferrari cars were designed to compete in a class where British 4 cylinder engines dominated. Using their knowledge in valve train technology and experience in building strong V-12 race engines, Ferrari created a 4-cylinder engine that could beat the competition. In November 1955, the car took a class win at the 1st Grand Prix of Venezuela with Harry Schell and Eugenio Castellotti driving. It went on to win two class races at Nassau, Bahamas with Porfirio Rubirosa and Ebby Lunken behind the wheel; a class win at the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1956 with Porfirio Rubirosa and Jim Pauley driving before it was retired with a seized transaxle at the Road America 500 at Elkhart Lake, WI. Other well- known sports-car drivers of the day who drove the car included Charles Hassan, Jack Hergenroether, Paul Maret, Jack (Windy) Morton, Gino Munaron, and of course the original owner Francoise Picard.
Luckily for young naval officer, Robert Phillips, used race cars with a distinguished history were not worth much back then. He found the badly abused car at a Rambler dealership in California and purchased it for $2225 (two- thirds of a year’s salary for him at the time). Using the Auto Hobby Shop on the base to do the repairs, he diagnosed the failure’s cause, paid a machinist in town to fabricate the solution, and did the re-assembly. Further, he cut out the damaged bodywork, formed the aluminum replacements, learned how to gas weld and welded the pieces back in place, learned how to spray paint and put the 7 coats of red lacquer on the car. In nine months he had the car in running condition. He raced the car on the West Coast a few times in the ’60’s, including a first in class at the Sierra Hill Climb, before being transferred east.
He then drove the car from Oakland, CA to Staten Island, NY and raced at Lime Rock Park CT, Vineland NJ, Bridgehampton NY, and Bryar Motorsports Park in New Hampshire before it was parked in storage in 1968.
Just prior to restoration to original condition that began in 2000, the now Rear Admiral Robert Phillips displayed the car at the 2000 Ferrari Concours d’Elegance in Reading, PA. where Sergio Scaglietti, the designer of the car, was guest of honor. Mr. Scaglietti inscribed his signature on the panel over the spare tire, so it truly is a signed original. Restoration was completed in 2008.
Admiral Phillips first presented his 500 Mondial to the public after 40 years of dormancy at the 2008 Pebble Beach Concours.
Just an invitation to show a car at the biggest event in the country was an honor, but the best was yet to come. Among many other honors, the car took the Best in Class award and the Enzo Ferrari Trophy as the best Ferrari at the 2008 Pebble Beach show. The latter award was notable because Piero Ferrari (son of Enzo Ferrari) and Jean Todt (former Ferrari CEO and current FIA President) were members of the judging panel. Forty-eight plus years of ownership, endless stories, and now a fairy tale finish for this first time visitor to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
Since the 2008 Pebble Beach debut, the car has won numerous awards including Best in Show at its return engagement at Reading in 2009, Best of Show at Cavallino 2009, Best of Show at the 2010 Ferrari Club of America National Meet, and of course Best in Show at our favorite event, The Classics at Brantwyn 2011.
Fifty-two years after the lucky ‘garage-find’, Admiral Phillips still has the car, now worth far more than his initial $2225 investment. He is considered the foremost authority on this Ferrari 4-cylinder series – and one of the nicest people you will ever meet.
Despite the damp weather, guests enjoyed their test drives while helping to support the Kennett Symphony. We couldn’t think of a better way to spend a rainy Sunday in October.
Source for history of Rear Admiral & Mrs. Robert Phillip’s 1955 Ferrari 500 Mondial Scaglietti Spyder : Kennett Symphony Newsletter, Volume 1, 2012