What a strange, controversial race the 1965 24 Hours of Le Mans was. The factory Fords and Ferraris were heavily favored, with Porsche and Maserati factors, and by nightfall the Ferraris were so dominant and hitherto trouble-free that fans were picking which one would win.
By the end, though, only one Ferrari was left in the lead, the unlikely privateer entry of the North American Racing Team’s (NART) Ferrari 250 LM driven by Masten Gregory, Jochen Rindt and, it was revealed years later, the reserve driver, Ed Hugus. The Luigi Chinetti-run NART team won by five laps, the first time a non-factory car had won since 1957. It was the last Ferrari overall victory at Le Mans, and the first for Goodyear tires.
That’s the car that, very deservingly, won The Best in Show Concours de Sport at The Amelia Concours d’Elegance: this 1964 Ferrari 250 LM displayed by Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum of Indianapolis, Indiana.
In the years after its 1965 victory, the car competed at the 24 Hours of Daytona in 1966 and 1968. It returned to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1968 and 1969, before its final race at the 1970 24 Hours of Daytona, where it finished seventh, with Chinetti driving the final stint. That year the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum acquired the Ferrari 250 LM, and that’s where it has resided since, in pristine condition. The award was accepted by Jason Vansickle, Vice President, Curation and Education, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.
“It looks better than it did after that last race,” said Chinetti, present for the awarding of the prize. “The interior is about the same. It was quite a fun car to drive. I always enjoyed the 250 GT,” despite the fact, he said, that it had no synchronized gearbox, “which would have been nice.”
The car has been in different displays at the Museum over the years, Vansickle said, most recently part of “Basement Collection,” viewed by private tours. It’s just one of over 150 legendary cars the Museum displays. “We bought it in 1970, right after its last Daytona 24, which Chinetti drove in. “This win is very special and a complete surprise,” he said. “Obviously the car speaks for itself.”
Indeed it does.