Art of the Automobile

21 November 2013

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Lot 105

Ferrari 180 Testa Rossa Children's Car

Sold for $126,500

  • A 250 Testa Rossa for the young enthusiast
  • Built in period and sold new by famed Luigi Chinetti Motors
  • One of only about five examples extant

Everything about the 250 Testa Rossa is flowing and sensuous, from the stylish and purposeful “pontoon-fendered” body to the rip-snorting notes emanating from the world-class, race-winning V-12 engine under the hood. Consider the results: the 250 Testa Rossa’s 1958 season included clinching the Constructor’s Title in the World Sportscar Championship that year, headlined by an overall win in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where it was driven by Olivier Gendebien and Phil Hill. To paraphrase Shakespeare, it is the sound and fury, signifying everything, and it has made the “Red Head” one of the most iconic and perpetually desirable sports-racing cars in the world.

Produced by Modena Ferrarina Italia, the car offered here has all of the character and good looks of the 250 Testa Rossa, but it is only a fraction of the size. Its lightweight body is powered by a capable 0.3-horsepower, 180-watt, 12-volt electric motor, which is surely enough power for a pint-sized Ferrarista. It was hand-assembled with handmade steel bodywork and the finest available drivetrain and chassis components, and it was exclusively distributed by Luigi Chinetti Motors, of New York, Ferrari’s sole importer to the United States at the time. Having Ferrarina’s product distributed by Chinetti, to the same customers who were buying race-ready Testa Rossas from the same showroom, was certainly the ultimate endorsement. It is believed that twenty-five 180 Testa Rossas were built, with fewer than five remaining worldwide.

The current owner acquired this 180 Testa Rossa in 1986, from the renowned Ferrari enthusiast and prolific collector Kirk F. White, who had it restored to his usual outstanding standards. White gave the car the same treatment that a full-grown Testa Rossa would receive, with only the best craftsmen—all of them masters at restoring automobiles—sourced to restore all components.

Few children’s cars were built to this standard, and fewer still received the blessing of such a figure as Luigi Chinetti.

This lot will be offered on a Bill of Sale.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more