Race fans at this weekend’s New Zealand Grand Prix meeting at Manfeild, Feilding, will get a chance to glimpse the glory days of sports car racing when a Ferrari Monza 750 takes to the track
The car has been on permanent display at Southward Car Museum at Paraparaumu since 1967, and its demonstration run on GP day, Sunday March 1, is its first public appearance in 47 years in wholly original form.
The car was brought here in 1957 by Englishman Ken Wharton who was killed when it somersaulted in the sports car race at the NZ GP meeting at Ardmore.
Before Wharton bought the Monza it had raced extensively in Europe, including in its resume the 1000-mile Mille Miglia road race in Italy. After Wharton’s death the car raced locally by several drivers including Chris Harris who rebuilt it after Wharton’s accident.
"The Monza Ferrari is one of the handful of irreplaceable racing automotive treasures remaining in this country,” says Manfeild’s Christopher Boyle.
The Monza is thought to be worth several million dollars. The last Monza sold, also a Scaglietti-bodied roadster, brought $3 million at auction in California in 2007.
“I'd imagine Southwards will be very careful about where and when they run such a hugely valuable car, which is another reason why we'd encourage fans to make the most of this opportunity (to see it in action)," says Boyle.
The display brings to fruition a year-long dream shared by Manfeild Park Trust and the Southward museum's restoration branch.
"This car comes from a period of motor racing in its purest but most dangerous form and for many years was never expected to be driven again,” says Boyle.
"We had hoped to have the car here for the 2008 GP, but a last-minute hitch prevented that.
“To finally see it on the circuit for this special race meeting, looking and sounding just as it did in its heyday, will be just fantastic."