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Hot Rods: Exciting Exhibition Features History’s Famous Race Cars

Eagle best race car
From Ferraris to Bugattis, the Legends of Speed showcase brings history’s finest race cars to Phoenix.

Ready. Set. Start your engines. The Legends of Speed landmark exhibition at Arizona’s Phoenix Art Museum will include an unprecedented collection of more than 20 of the most famous race cars driven by some of history’s best, including Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt and Stirling Moss among others. Following the museum’s successful showing in 2007, “Curves of Steel,” featuring classic automotive designs, this newly-debuting event is sure to attract a similar crowd of enthused car-lovers.

“This exhibition is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience many of the world’s most famous and successful race cars all in one place.”

1954 Lancia D24 most famous race car

1954 Lancia D24

“Legends of Speed will enable our community to explore the artistry and design of these iconic cars, while learning about some of the greatest races and race car drivers in history,” says Gilbert Vicario, Phoenix Art Museum’s deputy director for cultural affairs and the Selig Family chief curator. “This exhibition is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience many of the world’s most famous and successful race cars all in one place.”

Running from November 3 to March 15, Legends of Speed will feature cars from the 1910s through the 1970s, including the winners of such legendary races that include 24 Hours of Le Mans to the Indianapolis 500. All of the featured cars are being loaned to the museum by internationally recognized collectors and automotive museums across the US, including Melani and Rob Walton and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. Here are the five hot rods we’re gearing up to see.

1962 Ferrari race car

1962 Ferrari

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1962 FERRARI 250 GTO
Considered by many to be the greatest Ferrari of all time, the iconic Ferrari 250 GTO was unveiled in February 1962 in response to the launch of Jaguar’s all-new E-type, which debuted in March 1961 at the Geneva Motor Show in Geneva, Switzerland. Prior to winning three consecutive GT championships, the 250 GTO finished second overall at the 1962 Sebring 12-Hour Florida International Grand Prix. The vehicle proved its worth yet again in 2018, selling for a record-breaking sum of $48.4 million at a Sotheby’s auction in Monterey, California.

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1934 Alfa Romeo famous race car

1934 Alfa Romeo

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1934 ALFA ROMEO TIPO B P3
This famous car was designed by Vittorio Jano and was once driven by Italian race car driver Tazio Nuvolari, who is best known for winning the 1935 German Grand Prix with just 285 horsepower and a top speed of 160 mph. On the last lap of the Grand Prix, the rear left tire of Manfred von Brauchitschs’ Mercedes shredded while Nuvolari shot past von Brauchitsch, while driving the 1934 Alfa Romeo Tipo B P3 to victory. Nuvolari’s personal record of Italy’s “Marcia Reale” (the country’s national anthem at the time) played to a stunned crowd, which included high-ranking Nazi party officials. This little engine that could went on to win six races that year, including all three major Grand Prix races in Italy, France and Germany.

In 1930, French racing legend Hellé Nice—the woman considered to be the fastest female racing professional prior to World War II—drove the 1927 Bugatti Type 35B at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

1927 Bugatti Type 35 best race car

1927 Bugatti Type 35B

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1927 Bugatti Type 35B
In 1930, French racing legend Hellé Nice—the woman considered to be the fastest female racing professional prior to World War II—drove the 1927 Bugatti Type 35B at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Nice continued to race the vehicle in various Grand Prix events, taking several top 10 finishes. By preference of its current owner, the 1927 Bugatti Type 35B is rarely exhibited to the public, making Legends of Speed a unique opportunity to see the living legend.

1911 Franklin Model D race car

1911 Franklin Model D

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1911 Franklin Model D
The only vehicle featured in the Legends of Speed exhibit that is still in its original state is the 1911 Franklin Model D. It is perhaps one of the most prominent examples of an original, unrestored race car from the early era of racing. The all-American automobile has received awards at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. It is best known, however, as the race car that Ralph Hamlin, a Los Angeles-based automobile dealer and pioneer race car driver, who took second place in the 1910 Cactus Derby—a 500-mile road race across the rugged desert terrain from LA to Phoenix.

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1958 MK1 Scarab race car

1958 MK1 Scarab

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1958 MK1 Scarab
Towards the end of the 1950s, Lance Reventlow, owner of Reventlow Automobiles Inc., built a small series of race cars called the Scarab, named after the Egyptian dung beetle. Reventlow and his team, which included Tom Barnes and Dick Troutman, created the fleet to challenge the world’s best race car drivers and makers. Of the eight Scarabs built, the 1958 MK1 Scarab was by far the most successful. Driven by Chuck Daigh, one of Reventlow’s resident engineers, the blue beauty took first place in the 1958 United States Grand Prix at Riverside International Freeway. Not only did the race mark a historic first for the Scarab—which beat out the latest Ferraris driven by the famous Phil Hill and Dan Gurney—it also marked the first time an American won the Grand Prix.

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