NICK LEVENTIS is best known in the competition world for Strakka Racing – the World Endurance Racing team he founded, runs and drives for, with a highlight of taking the highest overall place ever (fifth) at Le Mans with an LMP2 car. But, like an increasing number of ‘modern’ racers, Nick has a foot in the Historics camp too, a world away from the carbonfibre and telemetry of the day job. His is more firmly planted than most, thanks to his dad Harry having been active in Historics for several decades. And the jewel in the crown of family heirlooms is this Ferrari 246S.
No HTP replica, 0784 has raced all its life, first time out taking second place for the Ferrari works team of Hill and von Trips in the 1960 Targa Florio, though it retired from the subsequent Nurburgring 1000km with Ginther and Scarfiotti. You’ll know it from the Goodwood Revival, driven by Bobby Verdon-Roe to five Sussex Trophy wins. It was the Stirling Moss Trophy Winner in 2015.
Ginther, the unsung American hero, looms large in this car’s history. One of the four 246Ss built for the works team, and the only one with independent rear suspension, it originally had the standard sports racing body, like a Testa Rossa. For 1961 it was rebodied for US importer Luigi Chinetti by Fantuzzi, its long-tail style designed by Ginther and tested at the Modena aerodrome. It sports a Gurney flap, devised by his mate Dan.
Driven by Jim Hall (another innovator of that era) and George Constantine, it won its class at the March Sebring 12 Hours. But the extra speed the long tail conferred then counted for nought, with retirements at Nassau, Sebring and Mosport, though in 1963 it finished first in class at the SCCA National at Bridgehampton.
In the mid-70s it came back across the Atlantic to the Bardinon Collection in Mas du Clos, and was restored by Fantuzzi. Later acquired by Richard Merritt in the US and shown at several concours, it was then bought by Steve O’Rourke in 1997 and restored again by Bob Houghton and O’Rourke’s team, reuniting the original engine with the car. That’s the classic Dino – a two-cam 2417cc V6 putting out 230bhp on three Weber 32DCNs.