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1954 Ferrari 375 Plus Sutton spyder 
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1954 Ferrari 375 Plus Sutton spyder

S/N 0478 AM

delivered new to Scuderia Parravano

raced by Carroll Shelby, Jack McAfee, Bob Drake, Dan Gurney

multiple wins

re-bodied in 1956 by Jack Sutton

Copley Motorcars
37 Chestnut Street Needham, Massachusetts 02492 USA
Tel. 781-444-4646 e-mail copleycars@gmail.com www.copleymotorcars.com

Reference Number 536871

as of 8/19/2018

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Copley Motorcars Corp.  Contact  Location
37 Chestnut Street  Phone  781.444.4646  City  Needham
Needham, MA 02492  Fax  781.444.4406  State  Massachusetts
United States  Mobile    Country  United States United States
Overview
Car 1954 Ferrari 375 Plus Sutton spyder
VIN 0478 AM 
Exterior / Interior Color      Red Rosso Corsa /      Red  
Condition Very Good 
Configuration Right Hand Drive (RHD) 
Transmission Manual Shift 
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Known History

1954 Ferrari 375 Plus Sutton spyder S/N 0478 AM

 

– delivered new to Scuderia Parravano

– raced by Carroll Shelby, Jack McAfee, Bob Drake, Dan Gurney

– multiple wins – Shelby at Seattle, Gurney at Paramount Ranch, Santa Barbara, Pomona, Palm Springs

– re-bodied in Hollywood, California in 1956 by Jack Sutton – following Carroll Shelby’s crash at Palm Springs

 

1954 375 Plus Sutton spyder, S/N 0478 AM, originally raced in Scaglietti trim by legendary drivers, Jack McAfee, Ken Miles and Carroll Shelby, only to be unceremoniously crashed by Shelby at Palm Springs. As told by Carroll Shelby to Will Edgar, “I drove that big 4.9 of Tony’s at Seattle and won, and drove it again at Palm Springs and crashed. That Ferrari turned into being one of the best. It was the lightest, fastest, Ferrari I ever knew.” Re-bodied in 1956 by Hollywood based Jack Sutton, who earned the nickname, “America’s Scaglietti,” with 0478 sold to the privateer racing team of Frank Arciero. Fledgling driver, Dan Gurney, would go on to multiple victories in 0478. Considered one of the original eight 375 Plus with its massive 4.9 litre V12 engine, 0478 AM a 1950s icon.

 

– Scuderia Parravano

 

Construction magnate and boulevardier Tony Parravano was instrumental in launching the West Coast sports car racing craze of the 1950s. Along with John Edgar and John von Neumann, Scuderia Parravano hired the very best drivers of the day to race the very best cars of the day. Tony was a top customer of Enzo Ferrari and had countless cars direct from the Factory. It all ended in a dispute with the IRS, with Tony spiriting away numerous cars into Mexico, with the rest confiscated and sold at auction by the U.S. Marshalls. Presumably in Mexico, Tony was never seen again but his folk hero legend lives on in these two glorious race cars.

 

– period photo of Dan Gurney taking the checkered flag at Palm Springs, besting Carroll Shelby in John Edgar’s 410 Sport

 

John Edgar, along with Tony Parravano, was a pioneer of the West Coast sports racing scene. His son Will was there back in the day so has countless tales and anecdotes from then and more current interviews with the icon drivers of the day. Here is more flavor from Will and excerpts from his chat with Dan Gurney regarding 375 Plus 0478 AM:

 

Prior to the April 1958 Palm Springs race, Gurney had driven the ex-Parravano 0478 Ferrari to an impressive second place behind Shelby in John Edgar’s Maserati 450S at Riverside Raceway’s November 17, 1957 SCCA National. Dan’s runner-up finish skyrocketed young Gurney’s name into lifelong eminence.

 

“When Shelby beat me at Riverside with the Maserati,” Dan told me about his 0478’s contest with Carroll, who’d spun, “I had big trouble with my engine in the last laps, and he was going pretty slow when he came by me. The problem was in the valve train. We pulled the engine out and shipped it back east for the work. Palm Springs was a re-match. I knew I had to catch him there.”

Dan laughed, saying that my father swore his Palm Springs-entered 4.9-liter Ferrari 410 Sport—Carroll Shelby driving—would win the big April 1958 desert airport race, recalling that Frank Arciero even bet John Edgar “a thousand bucks” that his 4.9-liter Ferrari 375 Plus—Dan Gurney driving—would be first to finish.

 

“I had to avoid getting the tail out too much exiting a corner,” Dan said about Arciero’s Ferrari, “but it was a lot of car to rein in and do what you were asking it to do. I felt very fortunate that Frank had it, and that I got to drive it.”

Shelby right away put the Edgar Ferrari into the lead, blistering the long back-straight, hauling the long-wheelbase 410 brute down through flat corners. Gurney in 0478 was the lively hornet behind him. Dan caught Shel and held P1 to the checkered thrown by starter Al Torres. Click! The moment of Gurney’s win over Shelby is captured in this historic photograph.

 

Frank was really stoked,” Dan told me, “and was giving John Edgar a hard time about the thousand dollars that he owed him.” A sweet triumph for Dan and Frank; a wounding loss for Carroll and John. And to top it off, it was Gurney’s birthday! I asked him if afterwards he had partied? Dan laughed, “I was basically in training all the time. In case you didn’t know when an opportunity was coming up, I wanted to be ready.”

 

Copley Motorcars 37 Chestnut Street Needham, Massachusetts 02492 USA

Tel. 781-444-4646 e-mail copleycars@gmail.com www.copleymotorcars.com

 

Period photos courtesy of Edgar Motorsports Archive

Special thanks to the team at Thompson Speedway

Photography by Chip Riegel