My Car Quest

April 17, 2024

Fiction: Rosso Corsa

by Wallace Wyss –

Yeah they were astonauts. Whoopee-do. Nowadays, after 2025 anyhow, after what 1500 people minimum had been to Mars and back, being an astronaut was no big deal.

It was Harry decided, like being a long range trucker. Only instead of going say, Reno to Elko in a a Peterbilt you went Earth to Moon or Moon to Mars.

He and Jake has been on one of the Mars runs and those suckers took time, so long you were put in suspended animation for a while. When you got back to Earth, if the stock market did good you’d find yourself rich. Or the other way around, or there had been another plague and half your town is dead and buried. You’re lucky if anyone remembered you.

One thing he and Jake would talk about is cars. He himself was from the Detroit suburbs, used to run a TR3 on Woodward Ave. doing drag races and hoping to meet Ms. Wonderful.

Jake was from Bridgehampton Long Island and liked sports cars, classic traditional ’50s sports cars, but he hadn’t even been born until the ’80s. But somehow he’d assembled a scrapbook of all his favorite cars. He was prone to Ferrari.

Now he himself was a true blue Ford fan, and they’d go on and on about Le Mans in the Sixties and if Ford would have still won if Ferrari had been able to field more cars. I mean talk about uneven, Jake used to brag that in ’66, the year Ford won, Ford had something like 13 cars on the grid.

Jakes dream car was a pontoon fender Ferrari Testa Rossa, a car that raced in the ’50s, before Ford made their big run at Le Mans.


They got waylaid on the trip to Mars. Something about an asteroid throwing them off kilter. They landed on an un-named planet, sort of a moon circling Mars, but amazingly it had breathable air and even looked like a lush garden of Eden.

Frrari Testa Rossa

Jake had the spirit of adventure in him and took the electric rover scooter and headed off, promising to come back. He didn’t want to follow, hell, he had to figure out–would they use up too much fuel on the take-off to ever get back to Earth? If they just make it out of this planet’s atmosphere, he could link up with a fuel rover that could give them enough fuel to get back to earth.

Jake never came back. There had been but one message, a cryptic radio message…kind of scratchy. The really weird thing was the background music. He could swear it was The Platters.

Jake has said he’d come across a village that was just like Earth but very rural, think 1960s. And he’d met a woman. He wouldn’t be coming back.

So he left him.

It wasn’t unheard of, astronauts finding a better place than Earth–a place free of pandemics anyway—and jumping ship. The flght back was a miracle. He’d met with a refueling tanker and back on Earth his control tower was able to bounce signals off the moon to guide him back to a smooth landing at his Base.

He left the Space Command when he got back. The stench was on him–his ship had left with a crew of two and come back with a crew of one. And a pretty unbelievable explanation for the disappearance of Jake.


It wasn’t until a few years later, when he was sitting on his porch in the late evening in Sugar Tree, TN that he got a clue, sort of. He was perusing one of those websites about Ferraris, a forum. He had become more of a fan of 50s Ferraris since talking to Jake about it for a thousand hours. He’d been in effect seduced and abandoned. He knew so much now he could identify the cars and some of the drivers at every major race.

So here on screen was this discussion of Ferrari racing in the ’50s at US tracks and here are all these guys he’s heard of, names like Carroll Shelby and Dan Gurney, and playboys like Lance Reventlow and Count DePortago. But some of the races being posted are of amateurs. Oh, the cars are thoroughbred but the drivers are amateurs, never made it to Europe.

It was a picture of a Testa Rossa, pontoon fendered, Rosso Corsa, that caught his eye, the picture slightly faded, with odd ball colors like before they had Kodachrome. The edges were deckled like they did back in the ’50s. He thought he recognized the track, Torrey Pines in San Diego. There were a couple good looking girls posing next to a driver still clenching his hard won trophy. He recognized the sandy hair and toothy grin, God damn it–the driver was Jake. No mistake about it.

He looked at the screen, tried to find some i.d. for the people in the picture, some clue as to when it was taken. He blew it up on the screen and looked carefully at the spectator’s cars parked along the track. Every damn car was ’57 or before. It had to be a period shot…

But then he shut off the computer and poured himself a stiff drink. He sat back again. The drink had gone down nicely and he felt a buzz.

He smiled, and shook his head and looked up at the stars. He said out loud “Jake, I don’t know when and I don’t know how, but damn it, Jake, you made it…”

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss is the author of eighteen car histories. He is working on a book of short stories. He can be heard weekly on Autotalk, a show broadcast weekly from KUCR FM Riverside.


Fiction: Rosso Corsa
Article Name
Fiction: Rosso Corsa
It was a picture of a Ferrari Testa Rossa, pontoon fendered, Rosso Corsa, that caught his eye, the picture slightly faded, with odd ball colors like before they had Kodachrome.


  1. Robert Feldman says

    If there is any openings for long haul astronauts, I would like to visit with Jake……….

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