In it for the ‘Long’ haul

By on September 12, 2018

Larry Long loves to make things.

The Lititz resident enjoys whitesmithing (creating things out of metal and tin), a hobby he’s done for nearly 40 years. You might have also seen the mammoth-sized ice cream scoop that adorns the wall of The Udder Choice restaurant in Ephrata. He made that too, having only two weeks to manufacture it.

Long also has a passion for sports cars.

When he was 18, he saw three brand new Ferraris race at Nürburgring, a mega motorsports complex in Germany.

“That always stuck in his mind,” he said. “It started my love affair with Ferraris.”

And while he knew he couldn’t afford one, he did the next best thing–he built his own. From scratch.

“That day, when nobody was looking, I traced the vents on the cars with a piece of paper and held onto it for years,” he said.

Larry Long’s custom-built 1959 250 Ferrari Testa Rossa.

Later in life, his career would lead him to work for NCR, where he did service work on mechanical cash registers and scanning systems, but he never forgot about his love of the automobile.
And the tracings that he made years ago would prove very useful when he began to put the plans together for the car he would eventually build. Inside his garage, he started to handcraft pieces of what would become his personal dream car–a 1959 250 Ferrari Testa Rossa. And while it almost took him two full decades to create it, he’ll tell you that eighty-percent of the entire project took place during the past five years.

With his own hands (and lots of ingenuity) Long first made the car’s original pattern from scratch, the body, the full exhaust system, the upholstered seats, the wooden steering wheel and dashboard, the aluminum interior, and even the gas tank. Next came countless hours of bolting, welding, and fastening; all to ensure everything fit just right. All told, there’s not much on the car that he didn’t personally build. Of course, it all started with the frame, which he also built.

“That’s the basis I started out with,” he says. “Just a box frame and then I welded on a sub tube frame over top so I could fasten the body.”

In the early 2000’s, Long would meet Sergio Scaglietti at a Reading Ferrari event. An iconic name in auto design, Scaglietti built all of the Testa Rossa’s for Ferrari. Hardly ever using blueprints, he was known for his excellent craftsmanship of cars that would go on to win several Grand Prixs in the 1950s and 60s. Today, his signature-designed autos net millions. That day in Reading, six of Scaglietti’s race cars were on display.

It was an event that would further fuel Long’s passion.

Aside from building the interior all himself, Long even left his personalized mark–in this case his initials–on the car’s steering wheel.

“It was really neat meeting him,” Long said.

Once the last piece was eventually in place, the car was finally finished–and drivable. Under the hood, the car boasts an Austin Healy engine, with overdrive on the third and fourth gear &tstr; all told, six gears total.

“A lot of people don’t believe it,” Long joked.

Since completion, he’s enjoyed showing off his new creation to friends, entering it into a few local car shows, and generally having a lot of fun reaping the fruits of his labor. And who knows? Perhaps one day he might be contacted to build the next concept car of the future.

Cory Van Brookhoven is a staff writer for the Lititz Record Express. He welcomes your comments at cvanbrookhoven@Lnpnews.com or 717-721-4423. 

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