1954 12 Hours of Sebring

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The 1954 12 Hours of Sebring (officially the Florida International 12-Hour Grand Prix of Endurance [1]) was a motor race for sports cars, staged on 7 March 1954 at the Sebring International Raceway, Florida, United States. It was the second race of the 1954 World Sportscar Championship and was the fourth 12 Hours of Sebring. The race was won by Bill Lloyd and Stirling Moss driving an Osca MT4 1450.



A grand total 89 sports cars were entered for this event, of which only 63 arrived for practice. The race was supported by the work of teams of Scuderia Lancia, running four cars, the Aston Martin running three cars and the Austin-Healey team consisting of four cars, only one of which was a factory entry, under the name of Donald Healey Ltd., the others entered by private individuals. The three work’s Lancia D24’s in particular were entered for – Juan Manuel Fangio and Eugenio Castellotti, Piero Taruffi and Robert Manzon and Alberto Ascari and Luigi Villoresi, were in a class of their own.[2][3]

The factory Ferrari entries did not materialize, in order to defend their championship lead, but the private entries of Bill Spear and Briggs Cunningham were on hand. Likewise, there was no Jaguar factory team, but eight Jaguars were listed on the entry.[2]

Some of the race participants who also were noted in other fields of endeavor included ex-US congressman Jim Simpson, “international playboyPorfirio Rubirosa, and, fresh from finishing second in the Buenos Aires 1000km, Marquis de Portago – well known equestrian at the time and also a high ranking Spanish nobility.[4]


It became obvious during Friday practice sessions that the race would be between the Ferraris and Lancias. The Lancia D24s lapped the 5.2 mile circuit in three minutes 38 seconds and on the Saturday, Cunningham’s Ferrari 375 MM made it in 3m 31sec. Another of Cunningham cars, an Osca MT4 1450 piloted by young English driver, Stirling Moss with his partnered Bill Lloyd, turned in lap on Friday of, 3m 56 secs, although this small engined car, no one considered this car a real threat the Lancias.[2]


The race was held over 12 hours on the 5.2 miles Sebring International Raceway. The early morning rain cleared to leave a cold, windy but dry day. However, throughout the race, the strong wind blowing directly out of the north created a nasty crosswind on the fast back stretch.[2]

With the race starting promptly at 10am, 59 cars scrambled for positions. Cunningham in his own Cunningham-Chrysler C4R was the first across the line, but was soon headed by Erwin Goldschmidt in his Allard-Cadillac J2R. However, before the end of lap one, the three Lancias, of Fangio, Ascari and Taruffi had sorted themselves out and headed the field, running one, two and three with Spear’s Ferrari close behind. The Cunningham Ferrari of Phil Walters, stopped for a replacement spark plug and lost several minutes. Moss was keeping the bigger cars on their toes holding down 4th.[2][4]

Around mid-distance, trouble hits Spear’s Ferrari, crippled by a broken oil seal. Last year’s winner’s, John Fitch and Walters, in their Ferrari had been marking up time, and with Spear’s retirement, the only threat to the flying Lancias. Fitch and Walters had been pushing the car hard, and this too would not finish, going out late afternoon with a bad connecting rod bearing.[2][4]

As darkness fell on the former Hendricks Army Airfield, the Lancias of Ascari and Villoresi, and Fangio and Castellotti had retired due to brakes and gearbox issues respectively, leaving the burden on the shoulders of Taruffi and Manzon. This D24, was still lapping swiftly on the now night-blackened circuit, at an average speed of 82 mph – more than seven mph faster than the 1953 record-breaking Cunningham C4R – albeit with only one headlight. As Taruffi and Manzon streaked out of sight, chief race steward, Alec Ulmann announced that the Lancia would be black-flagged if it continued to race with just one light. The team’s race director, Attilio Pasquarelli put out a red flag, and leaned far out onto the course to block the car’s path. When the car finally pitted, Manzon protested: “The car wouldn’t go any faster – oil pressure was off”. He thought the red flag was a pit signal that their lead was in danger.[2]

Moss and Lloyd's race winning Osca MT4

Despite, as Moss said, the Lancias were “wiping the floor with the rest of us”, Lloyd and Moss soon took advantage of the Osca’s beautiful handling, by throwing the car sideways, into the corners to scrub off as much speed as they started to countering the high brake wear.[3]

The three Aston Martins had retired quite early [5] and the leading Lancia D24 being driven by Manzon, stopped on the circuit with engine trouble an hour from the end of the race.[6] Manzon returned to the pits on foot, but co-driver Taruffi acted to push the car for the mile and a half back to the pits.[6] The Lancia was finally pushed across the finish line but was disqualified and the Osca, driven by Moss and Lloyd, won the race.[6] The Osca survived a slightly suspect clutch and a tremendous rain storm to take a totally unexpected win. They covered 168 laps (873.6 miles), averaging a speed of 72.800 mph. Second place went to the Lancia D24 of Porfirio Rubirosa and Gino Valenzano, albeit five laps adrift. Third place was awarded to the Austin-Healey 100 entered by Donald Healey and driven by Lance Macklin and George Huntoon.[2][3][4][7]

Although there were no fatalities during the race, James Brundage, died in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on his way home when the Allard he was driving hit a tree.[4]

Official Classification[edit]

Class Winners are in Bold text.

Pos No Class Driver Entrant Chassis Laps Reason Out
1st 56 S1.5 United States Bill Lloyd United Kingdom Stirling Moss B. S. Cunningham Osca MT4 1450 12hr 00:00.0, 168
2nd 39 S5.0 Dominican Republic Porfirio Rubirosa Italy Gino Valenzano Scuderia Lancia Co. Lancia D24 163
3rd 29 S3.0 United Kingdom Lance Macklin United States George Huntoon Donald Healey Ltd. Austin-Healey 100 163
4th 91 S1.5 United States James Simpson United States George Colby James Simpson Osca MT4 1450 163
5th 61 S1.5 United States Otto Linton United States Harry Beck Speedcraft Enterprises Osca MT4 1350 161
DISQ 38 S5.0 Italy Piero Taruffi France Robert Manzon Scuderia Lancia Co. Lancia D24 161 Pushed
6th 97 S2.0 United States Bill Carpenter United States John van Driel W. K. Carpenter Kieft-Bristol Sport 158
7th 41 S2.0 United States Richard Cicurel United States Jim Pauley Richard Cicurel Siata 208s 155
8th 65 S1.1 United States Rees Makins United States Frank Bott Rees Makins Osca MT4 1100 152
9th 15 S5.0 United States Jake Kaplan United States Russ Boss Jacob Kaplan Jaguar XK120 151
10th 49 S1.5 Argentina Fernando Segura Argentina Daimo Bojanich Fernando Segura Porsche 550 144
11th 54 S1.5 United States Fred Allen United States Gus Ehrman Fred Allen Kieft-MG Sport 144
12th 62 S1.5 United States Richard Toland United States Charles Devaney Richard Toland Denzel-VW 1300 Super 142
13th 9 S5.0 United States Austin Young United States Jack Morton A. F. Young Jr. Jaguar XK120 142
14th 18 S5.0 United States Fred Dagavar United States Henry Fanelli Fred Dagavar Jaguar XK120 141
15th 50 S1.5 United States Hubert L. Brundage United States William Simpson H. L. Brunsdage Porsche 956 America Roadster 141
16th 62 S8.0 United States Walt Gray United States Chuck Hall Walter S. Gray Allard-Oldsmobile J2 141
17th 32 S3.0 United States Jim Feld United States Robert Gary Brooks Stevens Excalibur-Willys J 141
18th 46 S1.5 United States Howard Hanna United States Evans Hunt Howard Hanna Porsche 550 136
DNF 19 S5.0 United States Al Garz United States Len Lesko Fred Dagavar Jaguar XK120 134 Brakes
19th 74 S750 United States Ken Heavlin United States C. J. Davis C. J. Davis DB HBR Panhard 127
20th 67 S1.1 United States John Bentley United States Guy Atkins John Bentley Siata-Fiat 300BC 127
21st 66 S1.1 United States Austin Conley United States Horman Christianson Austin Conley Siata-Fiat 300BC 126
22nd 64 S5.0 United States D. Carleton Wilson United States Bob Kennedy D. Carleton Wilson Jaguar XK120 124
DISQ 10 S5.0 United States John Gordon Bennett United States Traver McKenna Frank Miller Jaguar C-type 113 Disqualified
NC 12 S5.0 United States Charles Schott United States David Michaels Chas. Schott Jaguar XK120 111 Accident
DNF 5 S5.0 United States Phil Walters United States John Fitch B. S. Cunningham Ferrari 375 MM 104 Engine
DNF 1 S8.0 United States Briggs Cunningham United States Sherwood Johnston B. S. Cunningham Co. Cunningham-Chrysler C4-R 104 Engine
NC 35 S2.0 United States Alan Patterson United States Ernesto Tornquist Alan Patterson Triumph TR2 103
NC 57 S1.5 United States George Moffett United States Bob Sand George Moffett Osca MT4 1450 102
DNF 99 S1.5 United States Victor Herzog United States Steve Lansing A.E. Goldschmidt Kieft-MG Sport 88
DNF 37 S5.0 Italy Alberto Ascari Italy Luigi Villoresi Scuderia Lancia Co. Lancia D24 87 Brakes
DNF 17 S3.0 United States John Schmidt United States John German John Ellwood Jaguar XK120 82 Off course
DNF 25 S3.0 United States Charles Wallace United States Carroll Shelby Aston Martin Ltd. Aston Martin DB3S 77 Rear end
DNF 42 S2.0 United States Don McKnought United States William Eager Don McKnought Maserati A6GCS 67 Accident
DNF 100 S1.5 United States Gleb Derujinsky United States Don Underwood Gleb Derujinsky Kieft-MG Sport 65
DNF 14 S5.0 United States Conrad Janis United States James Daly Conrad Janis Jaguar XK120 65
DNF 7 S5.0 United States William Spear United States Phil Hill William Spear Ferrari 375 MM 60 Rear end
DNF 48 S1.5 United States James Graham United States J. Stimpson James Graham Porsche 550 57 Fuel system
DNF 36 S5.0 Argentina Juan Manuel Fangio Italy Eugenio Castellotti Scuderia Lancia Co. Lancia D24 51 Real axle
DNF 44 S2.0 United States Larry Kulok United States Harry Grey Geo. B. McClellan Fraser Nash Le Mans Replica 50 Engine
DNF 58 S1.5 United States William Brewster United States Henry Rudkin Wm. Brewster Osca MT4 1450 47 Transmission
DNF 40 S2.0 Italy Luigi Musso Italy Ferdinando Gatta Maserati Co. Maserati A6GCS 47 Brakes
DNF 30 S3.0 United States James L. Brundage United States James Orr H. L. Brundage Austin-Healey 100 36 Engine
DNF 11 S5.0 United States Watt Hansgen United States Paul Timmins Walt Hansgen Jaguar C-Type 28 Engine
DNF 59 S1.5 United States William Franklin United States Ned Curtis Howard Hanna MG Magnette 27
DNF 22 S3.0 United States Harry Schell Spain Alfonso de Portago Harry Schell Ferrari 250 MM Vignale 26 Axle
DNF 24 S3.0 United Kingdom Peter Collins United Kingdom Pat Griffiths Aston Martin Ltd. Aston Martin DB3S 25 Brakes
DNF 8 S5.0 United States Peter Sparacino United States Raymond Osborne A. F. Young, Jr, Jaguar XK120 25
DNF 23 S3.0 United Kingdom Reg Parnell United Kingdom Roy Salvadori Aston Martin Ltd. Aston Martin DB3S 24 Engine
DNF 70 S750 United States Bret Hannaway United States Miles Collier Miles Collier Bandini-Crossley 21 Engine
DNF 26 S3.0 United States William Wellenberg, Jr. United States William Wonder Wm. Wellenberg Austin-Healey 100 20 Engine
DNF 33 S3.0 United States Mike Rothschild United States George Hunt Michel Rothschild Healey-Riley Silverstone 17
DNF 69 S750 United States Roger Wing United States Karl Brocken Isabelle Haskell Siata-Crosley 300BC 17
DNF 72 S750 United States Phil Stiles United States George Schrafft Geo. Schrafft Palm Beach-Crosley Special 16 Rear end
DNF 31 S3.0 United States Hal Ullrich United States Ham Reidy Brooks Stevens Excalibur-Willys J 10 Fuel leak
DNF 98 S8.0 United States Erwin Goldschmidt United States Johnny Rocco A. E. Goldschmidt Allard-Cadillac JR 9 Engine
DNF 27 S3.0 United States Joe Giubardo Canada Phil Smyth Joseph Giubardo Austin-Healey 100 3
DNF 28 S3.0 United States Dick Irish United States Ralph Knudson Brooks Stevens Excalibur-Willys J 1 Engine
DNS 20 S3.0 United States F. Randolph Pearsall United States George Tilp George Tilp Aston Martin-Offenhuaser DB2 Transmission
DNS 51 S1.5 United States John Schmidt United States John German John Ellwood Porsche 550 raced car #17
DNS 63 S1.5 United States Dickson Yates United States Duncan Black Dickson Yates Excalibur-Willys J Oil pressure
DNS 75 S350 United States Bill Wood United States John Moncur Wm. W. Wood Rex Mercury Marine Failed scrutineering


Class Winners[edit]

Class Winners
Sports 8000 2 Allard-Oldsmobile J2 Gray / Hall
Sports 5000 39 Lancia D24 Rubirosa / Valenzano
Sports 3000 29 Austin-Healey 100 Macklin / Huntoon
Sports 2000 97 Kieft-Bristol Sport Carpenter / van Driel
Sports 1500 56 Osca MT4 1450 Lloyd / Moss
Sports 1100 65 Osca MT4 1100 Makins / Bott
Sports 750 74 DB HBR Panhard Heavlin / Davis


Standings after the race[edit]

Pos Championship Points
1= Italy Ferrari 8
Italy Osca 8
3 Italy Lancia 6
4= United Kingdom Aston Martin 4
United Kingdom Austin-Healey 4
  • Note: Only the top five positions are included in this set of standings.

Championship points were awarded for the first six places in each race in the order of 8-6-4-3-2-1. Manufacturers were only awarded points for their highest finishing car with no points awarded for positions filled by additional cars. Only the best 4 results out of the 6 races could be retained by each manufacturer.


  1. ^ Official Program, Florida International 12-Hour Grand Prix of Endurance, March 7th 1954 at Sebring Florida, USA, front cover, www.racingsportscars.com Retrieved on 5 April 2015
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h http://www.ferrariexperts.com/SCCA%20results%201954.html#SEB
  3. ^ a b c http://www.stirlingmoss.com/articles/news/striling-moss-race-history-1954-Sebring-12-hours
  4. ^ a b c d e Alec Ulmann, “The Sebring Story" (Chilton Book Company, ASIN B0006CUAP2, 1969)
  5. ^ János L. Wimpffen, Sebring 12 Hours - David over Goliath, Time and Two Seats, 1999, pages 147 to 150
  6. ^ a b c Anthony Prichard, The Blue and White of Turin, The Racing Sports Car, 1970, pages 129 to 130
  7. ^ a b c http://www.teamdan.com/archive/wsc/1954/54sebrin.html
  8. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-10-21. Retrieved 2014-09-28.
  9. ^ http://www.racingsportscars.com/results/Sebring-1954-03-07.html
  10. ^ http://www.racingsportscars.com/race/Sebring-1954-03-07.html

Further reading[edit]

  • Alec Ulmann. The Sebring Story. Chilton Book Company. ASIN B0006CUAP2.

World Sportscar Championship
Previous race:
1000 km Buenos Aires
1954 season Next race:
Mille Miglia