The men who imported Ferraris to North America| GT Colour Lab™️ #3

The men who imported Ferraris to North America | GT Colour Lab™️ #3

Previously.GT Colour Lab™️ #2

Aircraft Technology Leads to the Development of the Private Automotive Industry

Lockheed P-80 production line in 1945 ©️ Alamy

K: In the 1950s and 1960s, the American auto industry was very advanced,NASCAR (stock car racing) In the 1950s and 1960s, the U.S. automobile industry was very advanced, and North American races such as NASCAR (stock car racing) were beginning to flourish. Originally, the U.S. had outstanding development technologies for airplanes and ships, even by world standards, and these technologies were quickly transferred down to the private sector after the war. That is why the U.S. automobile industry developed particularly quickly.

S: Come to think of it, if you look back at the Japanese military industry, there is indeed a Mazda in Hiroshima, where the military port was located in Kure, and Subaru also originated from Nakajima Aircraft in Ota City, Gunma Prefecture. The history of Japanese automobiles is also inseparable from that of aircraft technology. Coincidentally, the end of the war in 1945 was probably the second starting point for the automobile industry.

K: The same is true of Prince Motor Company, the predecessor of Nissan Motor Company. Japan was banned from manufacturing airplanes after the war, so it was very natural that the technological capabilities of aircraft were quickly transferred to the civilian automobile industry.

Color advertisement for KR201, a late-model Messerschmitt bubble car that went into mass production (1957)

In Germany, Messerschmitt, which mainly manufactured fighter aircraft during the war, was banned from aircraft production many times during the two world wars, resulting in the creation of two-wheeled vehicles and small three-wheeled vehicles known as "bubble cars. At the end of World War II, Fritz Fend, originally an aeronautical engineer at Messerschmitt, developed the "Fend Flitzer 101" as a "mobility vehicle" for incendiary soldiers who had been deeply injured in the war, and his former employer, looking for a new business model Willy Messerschmitt caught the attention of the company, and it was launched as a mass-produced model, the KR175.
S: It's kind of a pretty design.
K: BMW's Isetta is the most famous of these bubble cars, but in Japan, where the postwar automobile industry was in turmoil, unique bubble cars such as the Fuji Cabin and the Teruyan were born one after another. These cute bubble cars are also an indispensable part of the story of the development of the automobile industry.
   On the other hand, however, the development speed of the U.S. at that time, which was the victorious country, was tremendous. Cars using American-made engines, such as Ford and Chevrolet, were often entered in international races, and I believe they left a big impact.

 ©︎Trinity Mirror

S: In that light, the U.S. may have made the right decision in the early 1900s to focus on its own national competitions with an eye to the future. *Maybe the entire U.S. machine industry was refined through repeated international competitions like the Vanderbilt Cup.

K: Louis Chevrolet, the founder of Chevrolet, also participated in the Vanderbilt Cup as a racer. Also, Henry Ford, founder of Ford, and the aforementioned Alexander Winton ( See Episode 1. ) were engaged in a fierce development competition. I am sure that these later developed not only into the development of the automobile industry, but also into the development of aircraft and other technologies.

William Kissam Vanderbilt II, founder of Vanderbilt Cup (1908)


The men who imported Ferraris to North America

S: By the way, Briggs Cunningham also competed in Ferraris and Jaguars. To be honest, from my point of view, it is a bit surprising that he competed in European cars.

K: No, Cunningham was not only a racer and team owner, but also a famous car collector. It is said that Cunningham was one of the first to purchase a Ferrari brought to the U.S. He purchased the first "166 Spider Corsa" imported to the U.S. in 1949 from Luigi Kinnetti, and won the Long Island Airport Race the following year.

He entered it in the Bridgehampton race circuit outside of New York.
Ferrari 166SC rare and rare color photo June 9, 1951

S: The scale is too different. Because Ferrari made its first car in 1947, right? Two years later, they were one of the first to import cars to the U.S. and race them.

K: Ferrari is now a world-famous name, but it only won its first victory in an Italian street race in 1947. The following year in the Mille Miglia and Targa Florio.166SC.It won, but internationally, of course, it is still unknown.
In the American automobile market, from the 1950s to around the 1990s, there was usually a simple theory that if you won races, you could sell cars. At that time, for Quinetti, who was trying to expand his Ferrari sales business by becoming active in American racing, having a prominent partner like Cunningham on his side may have been a godsend.

S: This was in the early days of Ferrari...even the 250TR ads issued by LUIGI CHINETTI MOTORS spoke loudly about racing results.... By the way, the spelling at that time was "TESTA ROSA", was there any difference between the U.S. and Italy?
K: True, indeed. The spelling of "Testarossa" is "TESTA ROSSA" (Testarossa was released in 1984), so there is one S missing. Since advertisements at that time were printed in letterpress, it could be a simple typographical error... Or it is also possible that the spelling was changed to "ROSA" (rose) in order to sell in the US. I will do some research on this. In any case, advertisements of the time are a valuable source of information that allows us to really get a sense of various cultures.
S: "Rosa" has an image of a woman's name, and perhaps it was called "Testa Rosa" in the U.S. at that time. I never get tired of collecting old advertising graphics.


The 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1954. Cunningham C-4R in the center of the photo, Ferrari 375MM on the right

K: And Cunningham also competed in the 1952 12 Hours of Sebring and the 1954 24 Hours of Le Mans in a Ferrari 375MM in addition to his two Cunningham C-4Rs. From that time on, he mainly raced in the C series for a while, but after 1956 he raced in all kinds of cars, including Jaguars, OSCAs, and, towards the end of his career, Maseratis and Porsches. 

S: We tend to focus only on the C series, but the European cars dyed with the Cunningham stripe are all attractive brands as well.

K: By the way, Luigi Quinetti, a naturalized American citizen from Italy, was the exclusive U.S. distributor for Ferrari. He is also famous as the man who later founded N.A.R.T. (North American Racing Team) NART Speaking of NART, I'm sure you've seen this car before.

Daytona International Speedway 356GTB (1977) ©️The Revs Institute

S: This shape is a Ferrari Daytona. I'm very impressed with this livery because of the cool color combination. Ah! Wait a minute. Could that white and blue stripe running down the center be...?

K: Yes. This is definitely the American National colors derived from the Cunningham stripe. Incidentally, there was a NART Ferrari in F1 for a while: .... I could go on and on about Kinnetti and NART, so let's talk more about them when we talk about "Rosso Corsa" again.


As for Italian sports cars that were unknown,
by American men with great foresight,
The Italian sports car, which had been unknown, was established as a strong brand in North America by American men with great foresight.
What is the history of Ferrari?
the history of American motorsports and
with the history of American motorsports.
All the cars loaded here,
They do not yet know that they will later become works of art of enormous value.
via The Henry Ford
Luigi Chinetti Motors, Inc.

New York City 1964


GT Colour Lab ™️
The next issue will be updated on Friday, July 8.

Cover Photography via The Henry Ford 
( Dave Friedman collection, 1946-2009 )

The Benson Ford Research Center (Henry Ford Museum) collection of photographs of a Ferrari 275 P (1964) being loaded at Luigi Chinetti Motors in New York City.