1958 Ferrari 250 TR58 #14 Pilots: O. Gendebien, P. Hill Team: Scuderia Ferrari Race: 1st overall (S3000 class) at Le Mans in 1958 Ixo - LM 1958 (diecast)
Ferrari introduced the 250 Testarossa (250 TR) at the end of the 1957 season. It came to replace the 500 TR, because starting in 1958, FIA limited engines to 3 liters. When launched, the specialized press was quick to bash the car. After all, it had a heavy chassis, an out-dated engine and still relied on drum brakes. Nonetheless, Maranello’s engineering department was confident that it was sturdy and reliable. And the 250 TR delivered, with winns at the 1958 1000 Km of Buenos Aires and 12 Hours of Sebring. Good results notwithstanding, the car showed to be unstable at high speeds. Therefore, if Ferrari wanted another win at La Sarthe, the car needed improvement. That is when the 250 TR58 enters the scene. The 250 TR58 was an improved 250 TR, specifically for Le Mans, and Ferrari built three chassis.
The most obvious difference between the regular 250 TR and the TR58 was the body. To improve aerodynamics, a fully enclosed body replaced the 250 TR’s distinctive pontoon fenders. Ferrari’s chief engineer, Carlo Chiti, also added a De Dion rear axle to further stabilize the car. However, on old man Enzo’s insistence, the 250 TR58 still used drum brakes. According to Il Commendatore, drum brakes were more “reliable and predictable” than disk brakes. The engine was basically the same 2953 cm³ V12 with SOHC and 24 valves. Though designed in 1947(!) by Gioachino Colombo, it was reliable and good for 300 hp. Ferrari built three 250 TR58, and took all three to Le Mans in 1958. One broke down and one crashed, however 250 TR58 #14 (chassis #0728TR) came in first place overall.
The 24 Heures du Mans of 1958 was a pretty gruesome race, with 15 hours of rain and 13 accidents. Nonetheless, Ferrari earned its third Le Mans title. For the W-143 Garage, this model is an upgrade – the first TR58 #14 that I got was a pw. From those I-need-more-models days when dumb me bought quantity instead of quality 🙄. Because of that silly mentality back then, now I had to upgrade… This Ixo version of the car is far from a Spark, however better than my old pw. And how much better? The wheels are better. Yep, that’s it, the rest is the same 🤨. That being so, was it a good upgrade? Barely, and just because it is an overall winner.
As I said above, the difference between my old pw and this new Ixo are the wheels. As you can see, Ixo’s model has much nicer wheels. Not great wheels, mind, though a little more refined. The rest is basically the same; in my eyes, they seem to share the same mold and add-on parts. In addition, to my surprise, the bottom of the models is also different. Ixo clearly did a better job here too. With all that, Ixo’s version is a little better overall.
HOWEVER, just after I posted the review, with both models side by side I noticed something odd. The tonneau cover is red on the pw and black on the Ixo. Intrigued, I went after confirmation of which model was right. The majority of available period photos are in black and white, and with the poor quality of the images it is hard to see. Nonetheless, I finally found a good shot in color: the tonneau cover should be red, and not black. With that, the Ixo model is wrong and the pw is right 😖. That meant I would need to paint the tonneau cover red. Yet, I found a simpler solution: I snapped off both covers and swapped them. Problem solved 😁.
In the end, because of the tonneau cover, I have to say that the pw is the better model. With that, unless you fix it, I can’t see replacing the pw with an Ixo as a good idea. In other words, here’s another example why you should buy the model and not the brand.