ferrari250_oreiller





While many of you probably remember or have heard of Jean-Claude Killy, a French double Olympic alpine skiing champion at the 1968 Winter Games at Grenoble, who still remember Henri Oreiller ? And yet Henri - nicknamed "Riton" or "La Riquette" - had done all the same 20 years sooner at the 1948 Saint-Moritz Games, also winning two gold medals (downhill and combined). The "madman of downhill" was a great ski racer, able to go down the whole famous Val d'Isère downhill on one ski !

After his St-Moritz triumph, he participated with friends in several car rallies - there were many renowned winter rallies in Savoie at the time - on various saloon cars, but had to stop it as his business soon required 100% of his time. But in 1957 he managed to get back to car rallies with his personal Alfa Romeo Giulietta Zagato GT car, choosing his friend François Masoero as co-driver. For the 1961 season, he decided to upgrade to a Ferrari 250 GT SWB, that he brought back himself from Modena to Val d'Isère, magnificently painted in French blue, with a white cross of St-André on the roof (*). Needless to say that the car was very recognisable. It is represented here in his Tour de France Automobile livery (**). After the Tour de France Auto that he could not finish, Henri won two races at the Montlhéry autodrome before participating in the Paris 1000 km race, with Bernard Consten as co-driver, a race they finished at the 10th place.

For the 1962 Tour de France Auto edition, he further upgraded to one of the new GTOs (3851 GT), the ultimate weapon of the time for road racing, silver grey painted, acquired together with Jo Schlesser, that was delivered shorly before the event. They eventually saved the honour of GTOs, bringing their car to a good second place overall after a brilliant recovery, Jo driving on circuits and Henri taking charge of hill climbs. A month later, Henri will enter the GTO in the Coupe du Salon race at the Monthléry autodrome, where unfortunately he was victim of a fatal crash caused by a bursting rear tire. No traces of breaking, Henri was "à fond", as always.

To end the story, it is interesting to note that a young boy living in Val d'Isère in the late fifties, strongly impressed by the gorgeous Henri's blue 250 GT that he had seen so often in the streets of Val d'Isère, will also later on in his life take to car racing. His name : Jean-Claude Killy. Back in the village...



(*) So far, I've not been successful in identifying the true reason for this Croix de Saint-André. Should some of you have any clue, please let me know, I'll be grateful.

(**)
As an aside, several die cast models of this car have been produced, by different manufacturers, all with the rear #147 placed on the left side. The shot below, taken by a friend of mine during a refuelling at a Shell service station in the Vosges (Shell was the major sponsor of TDF Automobile) shows it was at the right side of the rear boot.


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If you're looking for decals to turn your 1/18 JOUEF Ferrari 250 GT into this one, don't hesitate to contact me.

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