Cars We Love: 1957 Ferrari 500 TRC

1957 Ferrari 500 TRC

The 1957 Ferrari 500 TRC is generally recognized as one of the most beautiful Ferraris ever built. It would be hard to find a more flattering statement for any car, as Ferrari has built some magnificent-looking vehicles over the years. Adding to the astonishing appearance is the fact that the Scaglietti-designed and fabricated body was for a purpose-built race car, rather than being sold as one of Ferrari’s extraordinary road cars.

Introduced in 1957 to meet the new CSI Appendix C regulations for sports car racing, the new car was a modified version of the previous Ferrari TR. It named the TRC to indicate that it was a TR that met the Appendix C regulations—a TRC. The moniker TR stems from Ferrari’s 2-liter, four-cylinder engine introduced in 1956, in which the overhead cam covers were painted Ferrari red. Cars with the engine were called Testa Rossas, which means “Red Head” in Italian. The name was shortened to TR as part of the official name.

Ferrari’s method of naming cars also requires a bit of explanation. The number associated with the car’s name, in this case 500, refers to the volumetric displacement of an individual cylinder. For the engine in the 500 TRC, each cylinder displaces 500 cubic centimeters and the total engine displacement is 2,000 cubic centimeters (500 x 4 cylinders) or 2 liters.

The Ferrari TRC was a race car built for sale to private racing customers; only 19 TRCs were ever made – 17 500 TRCs and two 625 TRCs with 2.5-liter engines. All of the bodies were designed and made by the legendary design house Carrozzeria Scaglietti. Changes made for the TRC to comply with Appendix C included a full-size passenger seat, two working doors, a full-width windscreen, and windshield wipers.

The 500 and 625 TRC engines marked the end of an era at Ferrari – they were the last of the Ferrari 4-cylinder racing engines. Less than twelve months after the introduction of the TRC, the new Testa Rossa was equipped with a 3-liter V12 engine and became the 250 TR.  

According to the website, just about all of the 500 TRCs and 625 TRCs still exist in private collections. If you think you just have to have one, better check the limit on your credit card before shopping around. In May of 2012, a 625 TRC sold at RM Auctions’ Monaco auction for $5.7 million.


Photo by: Herranderssvensson



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