My Car Quest

February 21, 2024

Phil Hill Drove It But George Tilp Didn’t Buy It – The Ferrari 412S

by Mike –

How would you like to take a track tour with Phil Hill and Dan Gurney around Watkins Glen? Me too – read on.

I was introduced to the interesting history of George Tilp by one of his nephews, Geoffrey Horton. Geoffrey introduced me to his cousin, John Abruzzo, who provides a story today from his time spent around his Uncle George and drivers who Tilp sponsored, Phil Hill and Dan Gurney.

Text by by John Abruzzo

Uncle George (Tilp) agreed to buy this Ferrari 412S, chassis 0744, from John von Neumann in 1958. The deal was made through Luigi Chinetti and Von Neumann shipped it to Watkins Glen for a Formula Libre race in September 1958.

1958 Ferrari 412S

1958 Ferrari 412S

I went with Uncle George, Aunt Thelma (George’s wife) and Peter (George’s son). At one point I took a track tour with Phil Hill and Dan Gurney to familiarize themselves with the new track. The weather for the race was rainy and Phil qualified well and ran well, but dropped out when a shock or something in the suspension busted.

Uncle George decided not to buy the car because it was kind of junkie. He loved the motor and wanted to get a better 4.1-Liter engine but never did. He knew Phil would have other driving commitments and he didn’t want to go with anyone else.

I think the car today is worth over $20 million.


The engine in this car is a Ferrari modified engine that produces at least 440 hp. It was in the Ferrari driven by Alfonso de Portago at the 1957 Mille Miglia where a crash killed both the driver and navigator.

This engine was used in a single-seat race car driven by Luigi Musso, Mike Hawthorn and Phil Hill at the 1958 Monza Race of Two Worlds, finishing third.

Ferrari 412S Engine

Ferrari 412S Engine

John von Neumann asked Ferrari to deliver a car that could beat the Scarabs of Lance Reventlow. Ferrari promptly dropped this 4.1-liter engine into chassis 0744 and the Ferrari was labeled a 412S.

I don’t think von Neumann was able to beat the Scarabs.

I would love to hear your interesting stories. Send me an email at michael(dot)gulett(at)gmail(dot)com

Sell your classic car on My Car Quest – click here.

Photos by Autoweek.

Phil Hill Drove It But George Tilp Didn't Buy It - The Ferrari 412S
Article Name
Phil Hill Drove It But George Tilp Didn't Buy It - The Ferrari 412S
An interesting story about a famous Ferrari race car once driven by Phil Hill.


  1. Neil Volkmar says

    Wow. Awesome story! Love to hear these first person accounts of situations the rest of us could only dream about. Very cool.

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