Friday, 25 February 2011

Millionaire Mystery - Scuderia Parravano Pt 1 of 2.

Today we are looking at the strange case of west coast entrant Antonio Parravano and his team of Ferrari's which at it's height was possibly the equal of any on either coast though ultimately less enduring.

Antonio Parravano born in Italy in 1917 became a millionaire building contractor in Los Angeles and built a fabulous racing team of mostly but not exclusively Ferrari's including three vehicles seen here in a photograph by Carlyle Blackwell.

Ferrari, 750 Monza, 121 LM, 410S, Parrevano, Carlyle Blackwell

Photo Carlyle Blackwell, Publised Courtesy Blackwell Archive, for sales enquiry's please e-mail and your contact details will be forwarded to the Blackwell Archive.

From back to front the vehicles are a 750 Monza #0538 the subject of next weeks Ferrari Friday blog, a 121 LM #0484LM, and a 410S #0592CM.

As I said I will come back to the 750 Monza at the back next week. Starting with the 121 LM #0484 this car started life with the smaller 3.7 litre Ferrari straight six motor and was as such was originally designated a type 118 driven to victory lane by Pierro Taruffi in the Giro di Sicilia, a version of the Targa Florio race, in 1955.

Halfway through 1955 chassis #0484 was the only 118 to be upgraded 121 spec with a 4.4 litre straight six.

Parravano acquired the car in late 1955 and entered it for Carol Shelby in the Oulton Park International that August where Shelby recorded a DNF due to driver injury.

In 1957 Phil Hill drove #0484 to victory at Palm Springs in 1957, the car was also driven by well known open wheel legend Roger Ward under different ownership in 1959.

#0484 is thought to be the only one of the three original 118 chassis thought to have survived ironically of course with a 121 spec motor.

The car closest to camera is a 410 S built for the South American road races that got cancelled due to safety fears. Equiped with Ferrari the largest available 4900 cc / 299 cui V12 engine capable of delivering 380 hp in twin plug format. The vehicle seen here, not one of the two fitted with twin plug heads, was raced into victory lane by Carroll Shelby at Palm Springs in 1956.

Next week we will continue with the case of Antonio Parravano and his team much of which vanished in 1957.

My thanks to Carlyle Blackwell, Ed Arnaudin and his son Steve for respectively taking, purchasing and forwarding today's magnificent photograph and to GTO Freak, and Giotto at Ferrari Chat for their help identifying this weeks cars and the back ground on Tony Parravano.

I hope you have enjoyed today's triple wammy Ferrari Friday and that you will join me again tomorrow. Don't for get to come back now !

28 07 12 PS My thanks to Pamela Blackwell who has kindly retrospectively given me permission to post the photo's her father took.


  1. New cars may be safer but those cars are still "Bad @** Fast".

    Do those cars have multiple gas tanks?

  2. What beautiful machines. I remember Tony had a great array of fantasic race cars. Didn't de Portago loose his live in a 4.4? I think they were suppose to be very difficult cars to drive, and a lot of drivers would not race in them. Have you heard that?

  3. As you say JC splendidly fast.

    I have it that Alfonso de Portago died at the wheel of a 4 litre 335 #0676 or #0646 but I am not sure how reliable this information is. So far as I know he had a puncture while travelling at 150 mph and when his car left the road his car was responsible for taking the lives of 10 spectators.

    From what I know de Portago never drove anything bigger than a 4 litre Ferrari but I stand to be corrected, he seems to have had a reputation as a car breaker and become fatally attracted to fear telling a reporter " I like the feeling of fear".

    I am unaware of either the 121 or 410S being any more difficult to drive than any other vehicle of the day but I know Enzo had concerns about some of the vehicles he was building ending up in the hands of rich young inexperienced customers.

    Hope that answers your question J2A if you have any other information please get back to me :-)