Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa tribute nails details on ‘Jay Leno’s Garage’


A lack of funds didn’t stop this passionate Ferrari fan from owning the 250 Testa Rossa of his dreams. Since actual examples cost a minimum of $30 million, he simply went and built his own.

The owner is Peter Giacobbi, and this is his labor of love on a new episode of Jay Leno’s Garage: a 1959 Ferrari 250 TR tribute car. It may be the most exacting tribute car we have ever seen. Giacobbi explained everything was Ferrari-sourced, down to the same nuts and bolts the Italian firm used to build the original 250 TR models.

As his story goes, Giacobbi was told of a warehouse in Italy that housed numerous obscure parts. Hanging on the wall was a shell meant for 250 TR production. The company that built the shell lost the bid to build the bodies for Ferrari in the 1950s for 250 TR production, so the designer kept the shell as a memento. Giacobbi liked it but didn’t buy it.

This Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa tribute was brought to Jay Leno's Garage. | Screenshot
This Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa tribute was brought to Jay Leno’s Garage. | Screenshot

After a sleepless week at home in the U.S., he changed his mind, flew back to Italy, and purchased the shell. Thus began the process of creating what could nearly pass for the 35th production 250 TR. Without an available chassis, Giacobbi, an engineer, built the chassis himself. He based it on the design of the original, right down to the type and number of those nuts and bolts.

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Giacobbi even had the gauges of the original car copied and installed for the project, and there’s no Chevy V8 engine under the hood, either. Instead of the 250 TR’s 3.0-liter V12, Giacobbi found a 4.4-liter V12  from an early 1960s Ferrari 365. He worked to ensure that, despite its larger size, it looks nearly identical to the 3.0-liter engine used in the actual 250 TR.

An unintended side effect of the larger engine? It sounds even better, and it’s more powerful than the 3.0 in the original 250 TRs.

Giacobbi said he will never paint the body because it is too rough (no wonder that company lost the bid to supply the bodies). Instead, he invites people to touch it. Because it’s not an original, he can truly experience it.

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