By Dean Larson

Photos: Seller, eBay

The 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa is one of the most beautiful cars ever built, if not the most beautiful car ever built. I’d like to say it's an opinion thing, but it simply isn’t, it’s nearly fact. Its design is bold and unique, but somehow also aerodynamic and elegant. The 250’s pontoon, or nacelle-styled nose has been a sensational design cue ever since, and many have attempted to imitate it, with most falling far short of the original’s visual effect.

But this iteration of the 250 Testa Rossa was about much more than looks, as it seems that every surface on the car was designed with equal parts emotion and aerodynamic forethought. The front end of the car featured a protruding nose with a small grille inlet, and a continuous curve that reached back to the windscreen. A small oval-shaped scoop was added in the hood to make room for vertically-oriented carburetors.

The fenders were cut-away from the car, containing the wheels in small nacelle, or pontoon-style fenders. The belief was that the air space crated between the fender and the body would aid in cooling the front brakes to reduce fade. Follow the curve of the nose beyond the fender, and it swoops back outwards to match the width of the cockpit. The bottom of the body is also recessed away, with no wheel arch present behind the front wheels. This allowed ample airflow for hot air from the brakes and exhaust to be extracted.

250 Testa Rossa Body 2

The rear fenders were more traditional, with a voluptuous arch caped by two small taillights. A headrest bump and a tightly tucked tail concluded the 250’s breathtaking profile.

There was only one problem though — it didn’t work all that well. It was found that the attractive and finely crafted front clip led to significant drag and high-speed instability. Unable to right the aerodynamic wrongs, Ferrari abandon the pontoon-fender styling in 1958, making the ’57 to ’58 pontoon-fender cars quite rare and valuable — even if not for all the right reasons.

In all, just 33 Testa Rossas were built between 1957 and 1962, and only 22 were the popular pontoon-fender bodies. So these cars are amongst the rarest and most desirable in the world. Back in 2014, and unrestored ’57 Testa Rossa sold in the U.K. for $39.8 million dollars, setting a new standard for Testa Rossas. And if you’re reading this article, we’ll assume you don’t have that kind of coin just lying around. So consider, instead, this ’57 Testa Rossa body on eBay.

The body was constructed by a small company called Coachsmithing of Blair, Wisconsin. Every once in a while, a stunning aluminum body will surface on eBay courtesy of these guys, and we keep saying we need to plan a trip to their HQ, which is only 3.5 hours from us. Based on their photos, it seems like these are some true old-school metal artists who keep the old methods alive behind closed doors.

While it looks like it was completed quite a few years back, the 250 Testa Rossa body looks finely executed and correct. Initially, the rear wheel arch struck me as being massive, but looking at an original, it seems correct. Completing this car will not be a cheap endeavor though, as its only aluminum skin, there’s no Superleggera-style framework included. You’ll also need to shell out $38,000 to get the body alone, which seems expensive, until you consider the typical upcharge for an aluminum Cobra body over fiberglass.

If this Testa Rossa body appeared in my garage tomorrow, I know exactly how I’d finish it. I’d craft myself a reasonable facsimile of the 1957 250 Testa Rossa #0714, which wore stunning black paintwork with a red-tipped nose. It’s a breathtaking combination of elegance and potency, and set a record back in 2009 for the most expensive car sold at auction. But times change and values fluctuate, and #0714 sold for just $12.2 million back in ’09, much less than the $39 million achieved by Testa Rossa #0704 in 2014.

Even so, I’m incredibly drawn to its looks, and it has great history and was extensively campaigned the world over. In fact, #0714’s last professional race was at our home circuit, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, in 1963. I guess it’s fate, even if only in my imagination.

See the Testa Rossa body here on eBay.

Ferrari 250 Tr