A SHORT HISTORY OF TR2 55 AND TR2’S AT PEBBLE BEACH
Dave Nelson’s Triumph TR2, aka TR2 55, rolled off the assembly line, at the Triumph factory in Coventry, England, on July 11,1955
In 1954, the first TR2 to appear at the Pebble Beach Road Races, was the car of Lt. Col. Bill Harris. He had the car shipped from France, and was the first appearance of a TR2 in a race on the west coast. He finished a credible 12th place in the Cypress Point Handicap race.
Dave bought TR2 55 off of Ebay in 2002. Coming from Florida, it was a real 10 footer. Beautiful in its Signal Red paint, but a nightmare in the rust that was found under the fiberglass. After a 3 year restoration . TR2 55 was returned its original color of British Racing Green, and with a few period modifications , such as 4 wheel disc brakes. It made its first west coast appearance at the 2005 Wine Country Classic, winning the trophy for its race group.
Following the success of Bill Harris in 1954. Eight TR2’s appeared for the 1955 running of Pebble Beach. Seven cars vying for the Cypress Point Trophy and one going for the Del Monte Trophy. With Wally Kieckhefer finishing in sixth place in the rain soaked event.
TR2 55’s best finish was a fourth place at an equally wet Sonoma Historics.
By 1956 most drivers had opted to race the new TR3. But Ed Kretz finished a fine 15th, in the Del Monte Trophy race, in his TR2
In 2006, fifty years after Ed Kretz and his TR2 last ran in the Del Monte Trophy. Dave Nelson’s TR2 55 has taken up the mantle as the lone TR2 competing at the RMMR and as part of the new Del Monte Trophy Race Group.
Took the checkered flag at the 1955 12 Hours of Sebring, later re-classified as 2nd place
Winner of both the 1955 and 1956 Del Monte Trophy, Pebble Beach Road Races
Driven by such legends as Phil Hill, Carroll Shelby, and Jim Hall
Piloted to victory by Jim Hall in his very first road-race in 0510 M at Fort Sumner, New Mexico
Owned continuously by Mr. Hall, its last racing driver, from 1956 to 2016
Photo right: Phil Hill and Carroll Shelby
260 bhp, 2,999 cc DOHC inline four-cylinder engine with two Weber 58 DCO/A3 carburetors, five-speed manual transaxle, independent front suspension with coil spring, De Dion rear axle with parallel trailing arms and semi-elliptical leaf springs, four-wheel drum brakes, and a tubular steel frame. Wheelbase: 88.5 in.
In the mid-1950s, sports car racing took America by storm. Almost every weekend at tracks around the country, both professional and gentleman drivers could be found pushing their machines to the limits, all for a chance to stand atop the podium. So often, these race cars were driven hard, put away wet, damaged in accidents, and often modified for the sake of performance, as their drivers sought to extract just one more race behind the wheel. It was extremely rare for a racing car to enter the crucible of motorsport and leave unscathed and unmolested.
It was even rarer for one of these racing cars to be retained by its racing driver after it retired from competition. Furthermore, it is almost unfathomable that one of these drivers would hold onto their cherished racer for the next 60 years. Yet, such is the story of this Ferrari 750 Monza.
HILL AND SHELBY’S CLOSE SECOND AT SEBRING
Chassis 0510 M was sold new to Allen Guiberson of Dallas, Texas, a manufacturer of drilling and refinery equipment, who owned and campaigned several early Ferraris. The car was finished in a distinctive color combination of white with a dark blue triangle, stretching from the car’s nose to its windshield, and mimicked on the tail. The 750 Monza would retain this distinctive color scheme for the 1955 season, where it would see great success at the hands of some of motor racing’s great drivers.
The first event for the new 750 Monza was the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1955. With Phil Hill and Carroll Shelby behind the wheel under race #25, the Monza was initially crowned the overall winner at the end of a hard-fought 12 hours against the Jaguar D-Type of Mike Hawthorn and Phil Walters that was entered by Briggs Cunningham. Both teams argued that their car had crossed the line first. Upon a final review of the lap charts, well after the race, the Jaguar was declared to be the winner. It had crossed the line just 25.4 seconds ahead of Guiberson’s Ferrari, an incredibly slim margin over the course of just 12 hours. However, Hill and Shelby still managed to clinch the Index of Performance trophy.
The car’s next outing with Phil Hill would be more fruitful. Chassis number 0510 M raced to a hard-fought 1st place finish for the Del Monte Trophy at the Pebble Beach road races in April. The car’s third and final event for the season was at Palm Springs on 3 December, where it finished in 2nd with Phil Hill behind the wheel yet again. This would be the final event for the car under Guiberson’s name. At the end of the season, it was sold to Richard “Dick” Hall and his brother, Jim. Perhaps they did not know it at the time, but the Ferrari would remain in the hands of the Hall family, only the car’s second owners, for an incredible 60 years.
FURTHER SUCCESS WITH HALL AND SHELBY
Chassis number 0510 M would find its way back to Pebble Beach for the first event of the 1956 season with Carroll Shelby behind the wheel, repeating its overall victory from 1955. The next week, Shelby and the 750 Monza travelled to Dodge City, Kansas, where they took first place yet again. Chassis number 0510 M would rack up 1st place finishes at Eagle Mountain, Texas, with Carroll Shelby and Fort Sumner, New Mexico, that year.
Fort Sumner would be the very first time that Jim Hall drove the Monza, and he recalled it as being a hard-fought battle. Not only would this be Hall’s first race in the car, but it was his very first win. Finishing in 1st place against the Porsche 550 Spyder driven by Jack McAfee, who was that year’s SCCA National Champion and is considered to be one of the SCCA’s greatest drivers, this was a clear highlight in what would become a very successful motorsport career for Jim Hall.
In a recent conversation with RM Sotheby’s Research & Editorial department, he commented, “I remember driving it for the first time and was amazed by it. It had lots of torque and you had to shift through the gears quickly, but it had lots of go. The brakes were fantastic, even though they were drums. I thought it was a fabulous race car.”
During the race in Dodge City, the car’s engine had picked up some debris on the track and the car was subsequently shipped to Maranello to be serviced. In addition to the engine service, the factory fitted chassis number 0510 M with a door on the left-hand side and a full-width windscreen in order to conform to FIA Index C regulations. It was refinished in red by the factory prior to being shipped back to Jim Hall, where it would resume racing.
Purchased outright from his brother prior to the 1957 season, Jim Hall continued to campaign the Monza. The car was raced in a handful of sports car races, mainly in Hall’s home state of Texas. Hall raced his Ferrari in at least one event in 1958, finishing 3rd overall and 2nd in class at the Mansfield Spring Sports Car Races in Louisiana.
Following its retirement from racing, the car remained in storage with Jim Hall for nearly 40 years, preserving its unmolested condition at a time when other Ferraris of similar ilk were often modified and upgraded in pursuit of continued racing careers. No such fate would await 0510 M. In the mid-1990s, Hall decided that his 750 Monza should be restored to its former glory and entrusted it to Troy Rogers, former chief mechanic for the Chaparral racing team. At this time, the engine’s bell housing and starter were replaced, but all of its other mechanical components were retained.
Finished in its recognizable blue and white livery, Hall’s 750 Monza was first displayed at the Monterey Historics in 1997 as part of a tribute to Carroll Shelby. Following its initial appearance at Monterey, it was shown at the 2005 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance as part of a special display of cars honoring Phil Hill and Stirling Moss. In 2011, it was part of an exhibit honoring Phil Hill at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.
Since then, the car remained well-preserved in Jim Hall’s care in his native Texas. After its restoration, it would be started occasionally and gently driven around Hall’s test track to make sure that everything was in running order. Prior to the passing of both Carroll Shelby and Phil Hill, Jim Hall had both Shelby and Hill draft letters detailing their experiences with 0510 M.
The provenance and importance of chassis number 0510 M is irrefutable and second to none. Following a highly successful racing career with three of America’s greatest drivers, its careful preservation, restoration, and custodianship, in the hands of Jim Hall (one of those very drivers) for over 60 years, has put it in a class of its own. While many four-cylinder Ferrari sports racers fell to the crucible of motorsport or general neglect following their racing careers, this particular 750 Monza persevered and remains today as perhaps the finest example in existence.
See also https://ttf3289.wordpress.com/
March 2018. drivers Bart Wolf and Tazio Ottis drove the Wolf Motorsports #28 at the IMSA Prototype Challenge at Sebring.
Today’s story begins in the sun fried podunk called Bell on the west side of an arid ditch called Los Angeles River in California, where ‘Okie’ George Wright drifted in 1919 and started a wrecking business that transformed over time to become the world first speed shop called Bells Auto Parts for competitors running Model T’s.
Just before the second world war a lanky redheaded kid called Roy Richter from Maywood California, a perfectionist with a genius for pattern making and fabrication started building a reputation at Cragar, a company owned by George White , manufacturing Leo Goosen designed cylinder heads and at Bell Auto Parts where Roy built his first Saxon midget, then raced it successfully.
Roy moved to Detroit where he continued to manufacture dirt track cars, but in 1938 after a racing tour of New Zealand, Roy settled again in California where he built an extremely successful Offenhauser powered midget for Sam Hanks, the eventual 1957 Indy 500 winner aboard the Belond Exhaust Special.
During the war Roy worked in the aircraft industry and his former employer George Wright of Bell Auto Parts passed away, Roy took the opportunity to lease Bell Auto Parts, raising the money by selling his Model T.
After the war a huge demand for racing equipment was unlocked as hundreds of thousands former forces personnel who had built up an enthusiasm for all things mechanical during the war now had the time and disposable income to explore their curiosity to go faster and further.
Bell Auto Parts took full advantage of it’s position as a distributor of performance parts and diversified with a mail order catalogue. Roy with an eclectic taste in vehicles midgets, desert streamliners and sports cars became the California distributor for Allard cars and imported this vehicle the 3rd J2 built and the 8th ever imported to the USA.
Allard J2 1513 was shipped to the USA without a motor, as was customary, and Roy installed a Cadillac 331 cui V8.
On one occasion when Roy’s wife Colleen was away he took his #1 Allard J2 down to the US Navy airship base at Santa Ana and entered a race with amongst others a couple of XK120’s driven by Phil Hill (#18), and Jack McAfee (last row), Tom Frisbey (#3) Allard K2, Basil Panzer (#2) Allard J2, and Sterling Edwards (#10) Edwards R26.
Roy won the race and when his wife came home he is said to have confessed all and promised never to race again.
In 1953 Richter diversified his interests into the manufacture of safety helmets hoping to capture the market occupied by English Cromwell leather head gear which he distributed. The success of the Bell 500 was followed by the first helmet to meet Snell standards the Bell 500 TX helmet in 1957.
Roy followed the diversification into safety equipment with a response to the ‘strength and style deficiency’ in after market performance wheel market sold under the Crager brand name he had acquired from the White estate.
In 1954 William ‘Bill’ Leach acquired Roy’s J2, now painted white, from a third party, Bill raced the car without much success and sold it in 1956 to pursue his interest in horse racing.
Bernard Dervieux, acquired Roy Richter’s J2 1513 in 2000, it is still fitted with its Cadillac motor powerful enough to provide plenty of excitement 60 years after it’s debut win.
Earlier this year the #1 J2 -1513 was seen at the Dessert Classic, apart from its non period yet apt Cragar wheels, the car is in original immaculate shape, a fitting testament to the extraordinary figure who first owned her Roy Richter.
My thanks to Geoffrey Horton, who initiated today’s blog, Colin Warnes, of The Allard Register, and Bernard Dervieux, the owner, for sharing their photos. Further thanks to Frank, Woody and David at The Nostalgia Forum, to Mr Holland at The Cadillac Forum and Brock Yates of Car & Driver for background information. Hope you have enjoyed this ‘Roy will play’ edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil psycho on tyres’ and that you will join me again tomorrow for a trip to the Atwell Wilson Museum. Don’t forget to come back now !
from https://www.psychoontyres.co.uk/tag/dervieux/ with thanks
Del Monte Trophy Race Group Bulletin Number 2, June 2021
It was a pleasure to catch up with many of you earlier this month at the CSRG Laguna Seca races. We actually had 4 Jaguar XK-120s (see the group shot of the drivers and owners below) racing together all weekend in a scrum of nearly 30 cars. Our 1947-1955 Group was well represented by both Over and Under 2000cc production Sports Cars as well as California Specials.
I’m sure we are all looking forward to gathering the full Group at the Reunion in August. At this point, 28 cars have been invited for our Race Group 4A (Saturday). We are still working through a few issues with the Selection Committee. Several entries had been placed in other Race Groups and we have been able to get them reassigned. Several entries are under discussion and we are hoping for a decision next week.
2021 is the Pebble Beach Road Races and Concours d”Elegance 70th Anniversary celebration year. Our cars are the historic racing connection between modern day Pebble Beach and the Reunion. We want to ensure that everyone in the Group who wants to participate can join us for the Celebration. Celebration preparations have evolved in the several months since the last Bulletin. We have developed a proposal for large commemorative displays at both the Concours and the Reunion. These consist of 5 panels with art photos and text that present the Road Races in their historical context. The artwork and graphics are by noted digital artist, David Gentry, and the period race photos are taken from the PBCo Julian Graham Archives. Our proposal has been accepted by both the Concours and the Reunion organizers. Sponsorship is being finalized and we are moving to production.
A major element of these two exhibits will be the presence for the 5 Del Monte Trophy/ Feature Race winning cars. The Concours has gathered all 5 winners for a Special Exhibition Class. They will also be featured in other activities during Car Week. On our race Saturday they will be at Laguna Seca in front of the Anniversary Exhibit.
The cars of the 1947-1955 Del Monte Race Group 4A will play a key role in the Reunion’s Celebration. Those that actually participated in the Pebble Beach Road Races will participate directly and virtually in several activities. Last week the Concours organizers held a film shoot with 5 of our cars (photo below) doing (slow) laps around the original race circuit in the Forrest. The footage will be used in the coming weeks for various promotional efforts.
At the Reunion on race Saturday, the 1949 Parkinson Jaguar and the 1950 Cannon Mk.1 Specials will join the Phil Hill XK-120 Jaguar for photos and interviews. These cars were the top three finishers of the 1950 Feature race.
As in past years, we will be organizing our dedicated Del Monte Trophy Race Group paddock lane and activity. It will be linked with graphic panels to the main Celebration Display in the Exhibition/Drivers Lounge area. Ours are the sports cars that pioneered European-style road racing 70 years ago and we’ll make a big effort to use the Celebration to show them off.
Del Monte Trophy patches are available in two formats for your race suits. Send Rob your mailing address and you’ll have one for August. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to call or e-mail me.
Charles “Chuck” Tatum was a decorated Marine Corps veteran of Iwo Jima from Stockton, California. He built the Tatum GMC Special in late 1952-early 1953 on a dare from friends Phil Hill, Sammy Weiss and Doug Trotter. Pre and Post War Ford suspension and drum brakes are mounted on a Tatum, designed and built, tube frame chassis. The engine, originally from a truck, is an inline 6 cylinder GMC. For the 1954 and 1955 seasons, Wayne Engineering of Los Angeles, supplied full race 302c.i. versions with its 12-valve cross flow cylinder head. Jack Hagemann of Hayward, Ca. built the all aluminum body.
The Tatum GMC Special was an active road racing participant and occasional winner, throughout California, from 1953 through 1955. During that period it also won the Best Sports Car Trophy at the 1954 Oakland National Roadster Show and was Hot Rod Magazines’s Cover Car for October 1953. The Tatum turned 157 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats and co-starred with Tony Curtis and Piper Laurie in the Hollywood epic JOHNNY DARK. Chuck Tatum raced his Special in the Del Monte Trophy feature race at the 1954 Pebble Beach Road Races. The Tatum GMC Special has been an active vintage racing participant since the mid-1980’s and is entered in the Del Monte Trophy Race Group for the Rolex Monterey Historic Reunion most years since 2015.
In 2021 the car was driven by Blake Tatum, Chuck’s son, as a tribute to the 70th Anniversary of the Pebble Beach Road Races. At our request Blake sent some information about him, as a driver…
Blake Tatum, race driver, in his own words.
I got interested in racing as a little boy; I spent hours hanging out in the garage watching my dad build and work on race cars. When I would come home from school I would sit in whatever race car we had sitting in our garage and pretend to drive it. As I got older the desire to race cars intensified but the financial resources never showed up. Finally when I was about 27 years old I could afford to go SCCA racing. Since my background was in Volkswagens and since my dad was the builder of the Crusader Formula Vee we decided that was my path into road racing. My dad and I built a new car based on the then current hot setup for Formula Vee.
Our first car was not a smashing success mainly because the learning curve for me as a driver and for us as designers was not up to the standards being set at that time. In 1994 we redesigned the car and instantly went faster. I won the regional Championship in the ultra-competitive FV class that year. From there I again won the regional championship in Formula Vee in 2005 and 2006.
I won the Formula Car Challenge FV Championship also in 2005. This was a Challenge series between everyone on the west coast. The Championship race was at Kent Washington, a track I had never driven on. I qualified on the pole in damp conditions but when the race started it was sprinkling. Unfortunately I only had intermediate tires for conditions that called for rains. Not knowing the weather for that part of the country, I figured it was going to be a sunny weekend since it was the very first weekend of September. At the start I fell back to third place and was able to hold onto the position but the guy in front of me was my rival for the championship and he was on rain tires. With one lap to go he spun at turn three and I was able to slip past. From there it was a matter of who was able to keep the car headed the right direction in the now torrential downpour. Luckily I had just enough grip to beat him to the finish line and take the Championship.
I still race the Formula Vee and also have a Formula First which my dad and I built together.
At one point I had the track record in Formula Vee at Laguna Seca which was eclipsed when the runoffs were held at the track. I currently have the track record for Formula First at Thunderhill Raceway Park and at Laguna Seca. I have over twenty victories in SCCA racing and over fifty podium finishes.
My very first victory of any kind was when I drove the Tatum Special at an CSRG event back in 1998 at Sonoma Raceway and I look forward to driving it at the Rolex Monterey Historic Reunion at Laguna Seca, August 14/15 2021.
As a side note I am currently the editor of the SCCA San Francisco Region’s magazine called The Wheel and have been on the SCCA Board of Directors for the region for over 12 years.
Here’s a picture of my father and me that was in the program for the 1965 SCCA races in Stockton California.
Blake Tatum By email Tue, 3 Aug 2021
PS Marcus, it’s a shame we cannot meet in person. I really like your writing style in the press release!