Aston Martin DBR1 vs. Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa
One of the best conversations to have at the bar with another racing enthusiast is the hypothetical “which would you choose” or “what would you buy” game. A majority of the time, we try to keep the discussion mildly reasonable, as in “what car would you buy or build with $15,000?” or “what car would you buy to serve both track and daily purposes for under $50,000”. But there’s no fun in being reasonable all the time. The question was posed this past weekend while I was drinking with a friend I regular attend events at Road America with.
“What vintage race car would you buy if money were not an option?”
A lot of thoughts began to circle my mind and it became abundantly apparent that this is an almost impossible question to answer as a vintage racing fan. Bruce McLaren’s M8B, Mark Donohue’s Porsche 917, Sterling Moss’s Mercedes 300 SLR, Emerson Fittipaldi’s Lotus 72, Mario Andretti’s Newman-Haas Lola? The list is endless. However, I managed to narrow down my options to two cars that share a same period of time and driving purpose.
The Aston Martin DBR1 and the Ferrari 250 TR
I made my decision based on a couple of factors. Usability, performance/heritage, and appearance.
While driving a Newman-Haas CART race car would be a sensational ride, you are limited to track use. While this didn’t ultimately determine my decision, being able to drive the car on public roads is massive bonus. For example, driving the car to The Hawk Presented by Brian Redman at Road America. While I enjoy my 328CI, it doesn’t compare to an a vintage racing legend. Obviously, driving a car that is valued over at $20 million or an astronomical $39 million would be a bit concerning, but this is hypothetical scenario.
While these cars do no boast the power numbers or lap times that a Porsche 917 or M8B produce, I am not a professional driver. While this is a hypothetical scenario, I did not hypothetically grant myself Senna like driving ability, so a car with less than 400 horsepower is an ideal amount to use to its full potential. Over the course of the DBR1’s life it utilized various engines with differing displacements, but the straight 6 layout remained consistent. The Ferrari relied on its tried and true ~3.0 V12 in a single overhead cam variation in the 1958 car. How’s the saying go? It’s easier to have fun in a slow car going fast, than a fast car going slow.
The heritage of both cars compare in different facets. I lean towards the Aston particularly for some of the legendary names that have driven the car, Sterling Moss and Carroll Shelby. Shelby being one of the winning drivers for the 1959 24 Hours of LeMans. Where as Ferrari I tend to side with the teams illustrious pedigree of racing.
There’s really no debate that these two car’s are undoubtably two of the most beautifully sculpted cars in existence. Long sweeping body lines, wide hips, defining characteristics. The exposed velocity stacks under the clear hood scoop on the 1959 TR. The air scoops above the rear wheels on the DBR1. The pictures can speak to the car’s beauty far better than I could ever explain.
It’s a difficult decision to make, one that I’ve spent far too much time on for a theoretical situation. However, it’s hard to make a wrong choice here. Either way you choose you’ll be picking a beautiful piece of motorsport history. I have my prejudices when it comes to the two, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing the TR in person but have had DBR1 model on my desk for the past 4 years.
If it were up to you, which are you choosing? British Racing Green? Or the Red of Maranello?