by Bernard Martin & Luigi Chinetti
The Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix is honored to host Ferrari as our 2023 Marque of the Year and to pay homage to N.A.R.T. - the North American Racing Team both of which are deeply entwined in Pennsylvania history.
Innovation and Power
Ferrari has been a timeless symbol of speed, power, and passion and one of the most iconic and successful brands in the world of motorsports. Enzo Ferrari began his career as a test driver for a small car company in Milan. He made his competitive debut in the 1919 before moving on to work with Alfa Romeo as a racing driver and later as a team manager.
In the early 1920s, Ferrari began to develop promising racing drivers outside of Alfa Romeo who campaigned for Italian marques such as Fiat and Lancia. In 1929, he established the Scuderia Ferrari racing team as a way to support and develop race driver talent. The team became most successful in the sport, amassing numerous victories against stiff competition.
Ferrari's background as a racing driver, team manager, his passion for cars were combined with a remarkable ambition to succeed. In 1937, Scuderia Ferrari was dissolved by Alfa Romeo and renamed Alfa Corse. It was just a matter of time before he would begin racing under his own name and producing road going automobiles to fuel these racing desires.
On September 9, 1939, Enzo left Alfa Romeo under the provision that he would not use the Ferrari name in association with races or racing cars for at least four years. Subsequently he founded Auto Avio Costruzioni, headquartered in the facilities of the old Scuderia Ferrari in Modena.
In 1940, Ferrari produced his first racing car, the Tipo 815, based on a Fiat platform making its debut at the 1940 Mille Miglia. during World War II, and the factory was destroyed by bombing, after which, the Scuderia Ferrari name was resurrected and he produced first Ferrari-badged car, the 125 S, in 1947.
The Ferrari automobiles established themselves as a force to be reckoned with even at such a young age. In 1949, Luigi Chinetti, much against Ferrari’s wishes, in a car he prepared himself entered and won the 24 Hours of Le Mans, driving 23 hours himself.
Ferrari went on to dominate the early years of the World Sportscar Championship which was created in 1953, winning the title seven out the first nine years besides winning a number of World Championships in Formula One. In fact, Ferrari is the only team to have competed in the Formula One World Championship continuously since its inception in 1950.
Ferrari's success on the track was built on the back of its powerful and innovative cars, which were known for their speed, and reliability. The marque’s most fameous models include the 250 Testa Rossa, the 250 GT California Spyder, and the GTO, to name but a few.
NART: THE NORTH AMERICAN RACING TEAM
One of the key figures in Ferrari's early success in America was Luigi Chinetti Sr. who was appointed as the official importer of Ferrari cars to the United States in the late 1940’s. Chinetti convinced Enzo Ferrari in 1946 that he could sell his cars in North American . Of note, the first Prancing Horse that Maranello shipped across the Atlantic as part of this new partnership was a 166 MM Barchetta, followed by a 166 Corsa Spider. The 166 Corsa was purchased by Briggs Cunningham he is credited as the first American to bring a Ferrari to the U.S. for racing, thanks to Chinetti. Chinetti's passion for the brand, and his belief in the potential of American drivers and teams, led him to establish the North American Racing Team (NART) in 1958.
Italian-born Luigi Chinetti claimed victory in the first post-war 24 Hours in 1949, three years after becoming an American citizen in a 166mm. His naturalization was sponsored by none other than Zora Arkus-Duntov. In 1958, Phil Hill, became the first driver born in the USA to stand on to the top step of the Le Mans podium after winning in his Ferrari 250.
NART was the was one of the first American teams to ever compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. NART was also involved in other international motorsports events such as the 12 Hours of Sebring and the 24 Hours of Daytona. The partnership between NART and Ferrari was key in promoting Ferrari in the American market, through the team's numerous racing successes and its lasting impact on the sport.
A significant event happened in 1964. A Ferrari 158 car, officially entered by NART, sealed the win of the 1964 F1 World championship with John Surtees. As the works team competed the in the last two races of the season, the United States Grand Prix and Mexican Grand Prix, the livery of the cars where painted white and blue - the national colors of the team. This was done as a protest because of arguments between Ferrari and the FIA regarding the homologation of a new mid-engined Ferrari race car. It seems the people at the FIA where upset when they found out Ferrari had previously deceived them in just how many cars he had road going cars they produced. (Read more: Do you remember...when Ferrari raced in blue)
Where a racing class requires that the vehicles raced be production vehicles only slightly adapted for racing, manufacturers typically produce a limited run of such vehicles for public sale so that they can legitimately race them in the class. This is what is called homologation. When officials from the FIA visited Maranello to count the number of cars, legend has it that not quite enough had been built – an issue creatively disguised by a lunch break and a group of cars being moved elsewhere within Maranello to be double-counted. Whether it is true or not, the grumbles to the FIA from competing teams persisted.
NART's most famous achievement was winning the overall victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1965 with a Ferrari 250LM driven by Jochen Rindt and Masten Gregory. In that race, Pittsburgher Ed Hugus, although not officially credited as a winner, the legend continues that he was a co-driver of the winning car albeit for just a few laps. Ferrari did not win overall at LeMans again until this past June after a 58 year lapse. NART also raced Ferraris in the US with great success, winning the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1968 and 1970. NART's team was made up of notable drivers such as Dan Gurney, Pedro Rodríguez, Mario Andretti, and Phil Hill.
The North American Racing Team's entries in the final three rounds of the 1969 season were the last occasions on which a team other than Scuderia Ferrari entered a World Championship Grand Prix with a Ferrari car.
In 1962 Al Garthwaite Jr. became the owner of Derham Custom Body Company of Philadelphia in 1962 and renamed the company Algar, short for AL GARwaite which would become Algar Ferrari. Today, Algar Ferrari is named Ferrari of Philadelphia but more about that below.
In 1972, Garthwaite and Chinetti partnered to create an automobile importing company fundamental to the birth to the East Coast American Ferrari Dealer Network.
Establishing retailers from the Atlantic coast to the Mississippi River and through the lower half of Texas, the Chinetti-Garthwaite enterprise imported over 1600 Ferraris to this network through a distribution facility in Paoli, Pennsylvania.
The Chinetti-Garthwaite partnership also became a custom builder of Ferrari’s. Luigi Chinetti, Jr. had a passion for shooting brake models and a talent for automotive design. In 1967, Chinetti, Jr. was started to design custom Ferrari’s. One of these became the famous 1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Shooting Brake. But that is a story for another time.
The success of the Paoli-based distribution partnership contributed measurably to the restoration of Ferrari racing greatness. North American sales funded Ferrari Racing. If you’ve seen the movie “Rush” you know that Formula 1 is a contest where dollars produce horsepower. Chinetti’s idea to sell Ferrari’s in North America paid off with a Formula 1 title merely three years after the Chinetti-Garthwaite partnership was established. The Scuderia Ferrari team won the coveted Formula 1 World Championship three more times in the next four years. Many attribute those successes to the funding provided by North American sales.
In addition to its racing achievements, NART was also known for its unique and striking livery, which featured a blue and white color scheme. This livery, designed by Chinetti's wife, became one of the most recognizable in the history of motorsports.
The Chinetti-Garthwaite partnership disbanded in 1980 when Ferrari established a factory controlled entity for US distribution but the team's legacy lives on through its numerous racing successes and its lasting impact on the sport. NART raced Ferraris until 1982, at which point it had participated in more than 200 races with over 100 different drivers. On December 24, 2021 Algar Ferrari was sold and renamed Ferrari of Philadelphia who joins us on the showfield July 22nd and 23rd.
Together, Ferrari and NART wrote one of the most fascinating chapters in motorsports history. Ferrari and NART association with some of the greatest drivers and cars in the history of motorsports is why is has been chosen, for only the second time since 1992, as the Marque of the Year for the PVGP.
If you would like to attend the Ferrari Marque of the Year dinner on Friday July 21, 2023 and meet Luigi Chinett, Jr., click the button below.
by Bernard Martin and Chat GBT
PITTSBURGH, PA (March 14, 2023) The Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix is proud to announce that Ferrari and N.A.R.T. – North American Racing Team, will be honored as Marque of the Year at the 2023 event. The two entities have a rich and fascinating history inextricably intertwined with Pennsylvania, and their association has led to some of the most memorable moments in the world of motorsports.
Ferrari, one of the most iconic and successful brands in motorsports, has been a timeless symbol of speed, power, and passion. Enzo Ferrari, the founder of the company, began his career as a test driver for a small car company in Milan and later worked for Alfa Romeo as a racing driver and team manager. In 1929, he established the Scuderia Ferrari racing team to support and develop race driver talent, which quickly became one of the most successful teams in the sport.
After dissolving Scuderia Ferrari in 1937, Enzo Ferrari founded Auto Avio Costruzioni, which produced the first Ferrari-badged car in 1947. Ferrari quickly established itself as a dominant force in racing, winning numerous races and championships in Formula One and other international motorsports events.
Luigi Chinetti Sr. played a significant role in Ferrari’s early success in America. He was appointed as the official importer of Ferrari cars to the United States in the late 1940s, and his passion for the brand and belief in the potential of American drivers and teams led him to establish the North American Racing Team (NART) in 1958.
NART was the only American team to ever compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and it was involved in other international motorsports events such as the 12 Hours of Sebring and the 24 Hours of Daytona. NART’s partnership with Ferrari was essential in promoting Ferrari in the American market, and it had a lasting impact on the sport.
NART’s most famous achievement was winning the overall victory at Le Mans in 1965 with a Ferrari 250LM driven by Jochen Rindt, Masten Gregory, and Ed Hugus. Coincidentally, Ed Hugus was born in Pittsburgh and raced at LeMans 10 times and later opened a Pittsburgh auto dealer that built the first three Shelby Cobras. He also helped establish the Steel Cities Region of the SCCA. The team also won the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1968 and 1970, and its drivers included notable names such as Pedro Rodríguez, Mario Andretti, and Phil Hill.
The 2023 Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix will showcase the rich history and legacy of Ferrari and N.A.R.T. Many chapter members of the Ferrari Club of America from throughout North America have already committed to congregating in Pittsburgh for Tifosi-centered events. The events are expected to attract a vast number of motorsport enthusiasts and will feature a wide range of activities, including car shows, races, and exhibitions.
Click this link to see all of the 2023 Events for Ferrari
July 14-23 Race Week
The PVGP features two weekends of racing. The first weekend is the Historics at Pittsburgh International Race Complex. The second weekend features vintage racing on a 2.33-mile road course through the streets of Schenley Park in front of 100,000 fans and 3,000 show cars on the Bob O’Connor Golf Course. Between the race weekends there are numerous car shows, parties, rallies, and parades. See the entire 10-Day Calendar of Events.
Dan DelBianco (412) 559-3500 firstname.lastname@example.org
Bernie Martin (412) 996-5700 email@example.com
About the PVGP
Begun in 1983, the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix Motorsport Festival features two weekends of racing action. The first weekend is the PVGP Historics at Pitt Race. The second weekend is racing on a 2.33-mile road course set on the streets of Schenley Park. Between the race weekends there are car shows, parties, car shows road rallies, and more. The PVGP is a volunteer driven event with 1,200 volunteers. The PVGP is a volunteer driven 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization with a mission to provide residential care, treatment and support for people with autism and intellectual/developmental disabilities. Since 1983, $6.4 million has been donated locally to Autism-Pittsburgh and Merakey Allegheny Valley School.
PITTSBURGH, PA. - Algar Ferrari has just announced that qualified customers are eligible to take a test drive in a Ferrari on Friday, July 13, 2018 from 10am - 4pm.
The Test Drive will start in the at the Edward Bigelow stature located between Flagstaff Hill and the Phipps Conservatory.
Please complete the below pre-registration form below. Algar Ferrari will be in contact with you to discuss.
Meet at the Bigelow Statue
About Algar Ferrari
This past spring we where approached by Rob Straw from R7 Filmaking and Photography inquiring if he could get some night shots of the Cortile Italian Char show. Rob thought that that city lights in the background would make for some really incredible photography. Needless to say we are impressed beyond our wildest imaginations with his work. Take a look below as some of his magnificent images!
Read more below....
Rob Straw went to the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix with his family when he was in high school and was immediately attracted racing. He'd always admired automotive design and, as he tell us "Now I got to see those "works of art" speeding around corners on the public streets of Schenley Park!"
"Fast forward about 20 years and here I am. I've been a photography, video and design teacher at the college level for over a decade. I find my free time in the summer is now spent at the local park with my two daughters or traveling to racing events throughout the region including those at Pitt Race, Watkin's Glen, Mid-Ohio and VIR. In the winter I snowboard in my free time and always have a "project car" to work on like most gear heads." ~ Rob Straw
"For me racing is not just about the speed of the cars on the track. It’s about the personal stories that led them there. Not an event goes by that I don’t talk to people about where they got their car or what got them into racing. I’ve been fortunate to meet some wonderful people along the way and hear so many stories. I’ve met people who design cars for wounded veterans, met a man whose daughter now races the car he once did and even met someone who now races the vintage car they once saw on the track when they were a child over 50 years ago" ~ Rob Straw
An private preview of exclusive cars and an entertaining speaker sponsored by Algar Ferrari
On Friday evening July 15, you to arrive at the Clubhouse starting at 6pm and enjoy a preview of the Cortile Car show and meet some of the other car owners and sponsors on a one-on-one basis. The Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix has many sites and sounds to absorb on Saturday and Sunday and our Preview Party gives you the opportunity to chat with other car owners and have some technical discussions about your cars. Cortile Participants in the Preview Show will receive all of the materials they require for entry into the show grounds for the weekend on Friday evening.
This event is also open to all Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix car show participants, the only requirement is that you must have a car registered at one of the weekend car shows. Space is limited, Pre-registration is a must. No drive up registration permitted. $45/person.
Jeff is the Great Grandson of George Schuster, driver of the American Thomas Flyer and winner of the 1908 New York to Paris Race. For his victory, George was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame beside other racing greats including Andretti, Bugatti, Ferrari, and Shelby.
Jeff will also be joining us on Saturday for more about the 1908 New York to Paris Race. You can learn more about that HERE
Wayne Long, Chief Judge and Founder of the Cortile Cup has announced that he has selected a new Judge for the 2015 Cortile Cup Competition. Tom Frasca will be joining the judging team for the 2015 annual event at the Pittsburgh Golf Club on Saturday during the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix.
Prior to his acceptance of taking on the role of "Guidice Anziano" (Senior Judge) at this years Cortile Cup Competition, Tom developed a very robust resume. From 1969 through 1974 was a member of the SCCA and competed in Open Wheel & Sports Racing. He worked with Ferrari in North America on their racing team until 1994 and then served on the Architectural Review Board for Southeast New York. Design and engineering course through Tom's veins.
In August of 2012 Tom created "Scuderia Ferrari Club of Denver" with the help of Gabriele Lalli, Piero Savazzi and Dr. Mauro Apicella of Ferrari GeS. This club had been in the workings since 2004 and is the only official sanctioned Ferrari F1 team club in North America.
We are very honored to welcome Tom as one of our elite group of judges for the Cortile Cup. He brings a wealth of automotive experience in design and engineering. Be sure to stop by and pick his brain: He has some wonderful stories and is an encyclopedia of Italian Racing history that he quite literally lived through.
"This is Sebring 1969. This is 250 P # 0816. That was the car we had about a week to prepare for Sebring. Added "Lightweight" fiberglass rear deck and a three liter motor to comply with the new regs. Pedro and Chuck Parsons took it to a DNF in like the tenth hour. This after Pedro tried everything he could to break it so he could go home early." ~ Ted Johnson
"Thanks Tom Frasca for the picture post of the NART 312P #23 I drove with David Piper at 70 Daytona 24 hr. It was my first Ferrari drive and what a great one to remember . We drove 5.5 hrs with NO water in the engine and finished 2 nd in class . The No. 24 was Michael Parkes and Sam Posey who won class. ~ CIAO Tony Adamowicz"
"Did you know Sir Sterling was a NART driver...the inaugural Daytona...1962: Phil Hill and Ricardo Rodriguez finish second overall in a Ferrari Dino 246SDP . Stirling Moss finishes fourth in NART Ferrari 250GT and wins S+5000 class. NASCAR star Fireball Roberts finishes 12th in a NART Ferrari 250GT." ~ Tom Frasca
Compiled written & edited by Bernard Martin, Updated and re-editied January 18, 2023
There is an undeniable historical link between the Philadelphia area and Marenello, Italy’s unparalleled world championship Formula 1 racing tradition. It begins with Luigi Chinetti Sr., the original United States dealer for Ferrari automobiles. The famous race car driver and American immigrant convinced his close friend Enzo Ferrari that tapping into American affluence was the ideal means to fund Ferrari’s most competitive racing effort.
Timing was important. Italian teams dominated from the beginning of Formula 1 in 1950, winning eight titles in the first nine years. Yet, when a separate championship title was awarded to the constructors of the cars in 1958, only two titles were won by Italian racing teams – both by Ferrari – in the next seventeen years.
But we're getting a bit ahead of the story...
Derham Custom Body Company
In 1887 Joseph Derham opened Derham Custom Body Company and became known throughout the world as the coachbuilder of the finest motorcars ever produced. Founded by Joseph J. Derham, an Irish immigrant, the company catered to Philadelphia's Main Line, an string of towns in the city's suburbs where the affluent gathered in private clubs – on their sprawling estates – to escape the city's hustle and bustle. In the early days of the car, bodies and chassis were constructed separately.
At the time it also wasn't unusual for a wealthy auto-owner to have an auto-body for both summer and winter months. Of the classic custom coach-builders, only Derham survived the Great Depression in the 1930s.
For 85 years the company built custom coachbodies for cars, from some of the earliest cars ever made to some of the most sought-after vehicles by collectors. During the early part of the last century, Derham bodies graced Duesenburgs, Packards and Pierce-Arrows – all crafted by hand in Philadelphia and Rosemont. Cars that rolled out of their carriage works chauffeured kings and dictators, Popes, presidents and movie stars like Josef Stalin, Pope Pius XII, King Farouk, President Eisenhower, and Gary Cooper owned Derham-built automobiles.
By the 1960’s, Derham Custom Body Company was deriving much of its revenue from retrofitting automobiles with fiberglass bulletproofing. Al Garthwaite had his eyes open for new opportunity. Al Garthwaite Jr. became the owner of Derham Custom Body Company in 1962 and renamed the company Algar, short for AL GARwaite.
In 1972, Garthwaite partnered with Luigi Chinetti to create an automobile importing company fundamental in giving birth to the East Coast American Ferrari Dealer Network. Luigi Chinetti was one of the key figures in Ferrari's early success in America. In 1949, Chinetti drove a 166 M to Ferrari's first win in motorsports during the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Chinetti had been appointed as the official importer of Ferrari cars to the United States in the late 1940s. Chinetti's passion for the brand, and his belief in the potential of American drivers and teams, led him to establish the North American Racing Team (NART) in 1958. NART was the only American team to ever compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and it was also involved in other international motorsports events such as the 12 Hours of Sebring and the 24 Hours of Daytona. The partnership between NART and Ferrari was key in promoting Ferrari in the American market, through the team's numerous racing successes and its lasting impact on the sport.
Chinetti and Garthwaite established retailers from the Atlantic coast to the Mississippi River and through the lower half of Texas, the Chinetti-Garthwaite enterprise imported over 1600 Ferraris to this network through a distribution facility in Paoli, Pennsylvania.
The success of the Paoli-based distribution partnership contributed measurably to the restoration of Ferrari racing greatness. In a contest where dollars produce horsepower, Chinetti’s idea paid off with a Formula 1 title merely three years after the Chinetti-Garthwaite partnership was established. The Scuderia Ferrari team won the coveted Formula 1 World Championship three more times in the next four years. They won thirteen Formula 1 titles over the last thirty- three years and fifteen since the Constructors award was presented. The next closest competitor won nine.
Chinetti-Garthwaite partnership disbanded in 1980 when Ferrari established a factory controlled entity for US distribution. Under the name Algar Enterprises, Inc., (from AL GARthwaite) Garthwaite continued as a dealer for Ferrari automobiles.
In 1995, Garthwaite sold his business to Bob Segal, a young motorsport enthusiast who brought racing to Algar in the form of the Ferrari Challenge Series and sponsorship of Ferrari Club of America track events.
It was a time when exotic car manufacturers and retailers were recoiling from the impact of a recession and the implementation of an ill-timed federal luxury tax. Maserati left the market in 1990 and Alpha Romeo in 1995, leaving Segal with a single brand in his show room. Yet, in the last half of the 1990’s, Ferrari was the automobile line to have. Pre-sold production runs and long waiting lists at the factory were common throughout the country. This trend continues today with waiting lists as long as two years for the current Ferrari product line up.
Algar Ferrari of Philadelphia
2023 Update: FErrari of Philadelphia
In December 2021, RDS Automotive Group, a premier luxury and exotics dealership group owned by Robert DiStanislao acquired Algar Ferrari of Philadelphia and renamed it Ferrari of Philadelphia in keeping with the brand standards of Ferrari dealerships.
Throughout the Americas and world-wide, no other building has a richer history in the advancement of automobiles designed and crafted for the discerning motorist. It’s where the world’s greatest cars, Ferrari should be sold.
Both the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix and everyone at the Cortile is very pleased to welcome the great folks from Ferrari of Philadelphia as a sponsor at the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix's Cortile!
This is a compilation of articles from a variety of sources and contributors. Attrition and sources are always provided at the top and/or the bottom of the posting.