Bill Pope — Race for Excellence

  • story by David M. Brown
  • posted on 11/2009
  • posted in: Great Garages

Scottsdale’s William ‘Bill’ Pope develops properties, and that develops his collection of vintage race cars.

In a Scottsdale building he shares with jeweler Scott Gauthier, the former Virginia and Georgia resident has built one of the Valley’s finest vintage racing car collections, with particular emphasis on Maserati’s and OSCA’s. That garage, The Scottsdale Automotive Museum, Bill hopes to open on a limited basis to the public by 2010.

A Valley resident for 15 years, he has developed communities such as Estrella Mountain Ranch on the west side of the Valley as well as properties worldwide.

“I have always loved vintage cars and history,” says Bill, who began his collection with a 1955 Lancia B24 Spider. He and wife Linda took it on a rally and began networking. “The more I learned about vintage cars, their value and uniqueness, and other collections, the more my interest grew,” he says. “Being a custodian and owners of these cars and enjoying the thrill of their performance in driving them have made this a hobby that continues to escalate for me.”

Bill shares his thoughts about four of these classics:

•1937 Maserati 6CM (Serial Number 1540) — “Maserati created its first six-cylinder engine in 1935; it would grace 11 6CM’s built between 1936 and 1937. The 6CM’s were very successful in the hands of some of some of Italy’s best drivers. Rene Dreyfus, Piero Taruffi, and Count Trossi, as well as Albert Ascari, all found great success in the 6CM.

This car was originally sold to racer Giovanni Rocco. In his first outing, Rocco was winning his class in the 1937 Targa Florio, before a broken valve caused him to retire. A few weeks later, Rocco finished third at the San Remo Grand Prix. His first victory came in the Coppa Acerbo at Pescara in August 1937. Next came a third-place finish at Coppa Edda Diano, and finally an overall victory at Circuito Di Campione d’Italia. Rocco was so successful in this car that he was hired the following year to drive for the Maserati factory.

After being hired as a team driver, Rocco sold this car to Antonio Negro. Negro campaigned the car sparingly in 1938, with his best result being a top-10 finish in the Milan Grand Prix.

This car was acquired by the Scottsdale Automotive Museum in 2006 and underwent a full restoration. It was invited to the Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance in 2008.”

•1957 Ferrari Testa Rossa (SN 0716) — “The Ferrari Testa Rossa is the most coveted of all racing Ferraris. The name means “Red Head” for the red valve covers that top the car’s 12 cylinders. The 250 indicates the engine size, as each cylinder is 250 cc, combining for a 3-liter engine. In all, 34 Testa Rossas were built, with only 21 bodied in the Pininfarina pontoon-fender configuration like this one.

The 250 Testa Rossa was first built in 1957 and dominated nearly every race entered. The factory shipped this car to Argentina in January 1958 to the Buenos Aires 1000 km. The car had the third fastest time in qualifying and was driven by Luigi Musso and Olivier Gendebien. (Another Testa Rossa 250 was driven by Phil Hill and Peter Collins.) Unfortunately, early in the race this car was in a small accident that did little damage to the car but dislocated Musso’s shoulder, forcing the car to retire.

Ferrari sold the car after the race to Brazilian driver Celso Lara Barberis, who in 1959 captured an overall win at the Cinquantenario de Imigracios. After the 1958 season, the car was sold to drivers C. Cristofaro and Cesar Newlands who raced it through 1967.

The car had two more wins — one at the Rio de Janeiro Grand Prix in 1965 and another at the Circuito de Petrolis in 1967. This wonderful piece of history was acquired by the Scottsdale Automotive Museum in 2007 and still enjoys rallying and vintage tracks worldwide.”

•1953 Jaguar C-Type (SN XKC-040) — “The founder of Jaguar, William Lyons, made a reputation as a builder of high-performance luxury sedans and had enjoyed some small success of the race circuit — but that was about to change with the new XK120. The little sports car could reach a speed of 120 mph in 1948, and Lyons decided to showcase his new car at Le Mans.

It is rumored that only three months before the race, Lyons drew the basic shape of the C-Type on the floor of the factory. In 1950, Jaguar faired very respectably at Le Mans, finishing 12th and 15th. In 1951, with Walker and Whitehead driving, the car finished first overall, and, in 1953, three Jaguars finished first, second and fourth. Only 32 C-Types were built in all, 1950–53.

This car was originally sold to Jim Swift, who raced it as a privateer in many club events across Europe, including “The Isle of Man Circuit” in 1953. The C-Type Jaguar is not only one of the most important racecars ever built, it is also considered to be one of the most beautiful. It joined the Scottsdale Automotive Museum in 2008.”

•1938 Bugatti Type 57C Aravis Drophead Coupe (SN 57-736) — “In 1899 Ettore Bugatti built his first car at the age of 19, and in 1909 he founded the Bugatti Car Company in Molsheim, Alsace, France.

World War I interrupted Bugatti’s production, but soon after the war Bugatti began to attract the world’s attention. He did this with the creation of the Type 51 race car that won the French Grand Prix of 1931. In 1934, he introduced the Type 59, which won the Grand Prix of Algiers. Ettore’s son, Jean, asked dad if he could build a production car using the Type 59 as a base, and in 1934 the Type 57 debuted.

There were 739 examples of the Type 57 built between 1934 and 1940. This car is a Type 57C Aravis Drophead Coupe — “Aravis” for the French mountain range and “C” for “Compresseur,” the supercharger that pushed the engine to more than 200 horsepower. The Aravis also stands out among Type 57’s as it was the only two-seat convertible model of this car.

Bugatti only created four Aravis models. This one features the coach work of Gagloff. Imagine: In 1938, Bugatti built a customer car capable of flying along comfortably at speeds of 120 miles per hours. We added this car in 2004.”

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